With all the media noise about farming, it is no wonder many small farmers don't always feel validated. Truthfully, they are the catalysts for much of the positive change that we see in the Ag industry; even if that change is simply to bring a voice to the very real grassroots food industry.
This year's Blog Action Day theme is The Power of We. This power is apparent in the many small farms selling their produce at the farmer's markets and roadside stands. Small farmers use one voice across the country, that says food can be grown locally and feed our communities. They keep repeating the message that food can be wholesome, profitable, and earth friendly.
A small farmer's way of life is not always the least expensive in terms of muscle power or time. Today's small farmer does not rely on subsidies or government bailouts to pay bills. They have to have success or the investment is gone. They do not farm with an eye on the financial gain and assume the next generation can deal with the fallout. They work and sweat over their own piece of property, caring for the earth and livestock on it, knowing that every seed, every drop of sweat, has to benefit not only their own bank accounts, but their community for generations to come. That component of farming; the idea that farming is for the community's benefit, is lost to huge mono crop farms. That is where the small farmer's power lies.
It is this power, that keep consumers flocking to the farmers markets. The small farmer come up with creative ways to bring their community family out to appreciate the place that they live. Small farmers are the powerful group of hard working individuals who become the glue of a community. They nourish, inspire and dare the people who buy from them, to think outside the commercialism and greenwashing that is so prevalent in industrial Ag today.
The idea that a few mega farmers can provide food to the entire world is not only unsustainable, it smacks of the very entitlement that our culture has deemed normal. Small farmers get that.