In an age of fast food and even faster communication, one constant remains: the world’s still gotta get fed.
What so troubles in these partisan times is that fewer people–and fewer families–are doing the feeding.
Across the globe, nearly 1 billion people go hungry every day; here in the United States, over 17 million households–or one in seven–are “food insecure,” defined as those living in fear of hunger or starvation.
Yet between 2005 and 2006, the United States lost 8,900 farms–or roughly 1 farm per hour. To make matters worse, the average age of farmers in our country isn’t getting any younger–less than 6% are under the age of 35.
With an increased reliance on oil and fossil fuels to transport harvested goods between more scarce farms located further from vendors, super-retailers like Wal-Mart and various chain grocers have not made prices any more equitable than their small-farm equals could do. In fact, the vegetables I saw on a recent trip to Wal-Mart have probably seen more travel than most small-town folks have in their lifetimes: “GROWN IN CHINA.”
Farming is tough work–but it’s even tougher if you can’t sell your food, or you lose your farm. My uncle owns a dairy farm in upstate New York; he always told me that nobody farms to get rich–they farm to get by and hope their kids can get rich.
American farmers have helped this country get by for over two hundred years. It’s high-time we gave something back–something meaningful, lasting and resilient, like so many of them have been over the years.
It’s time we stopped feeding our current and former farmers the whopper that we’ll help them get job training to become telemarketers or computer-hotline gurus. It’s time we looked our farmers–past and present–in the eyes to tell them we’re getting their jobs back.
Here’s wishing all the farmers left out there a bountiful 2011 harvest. We’ll be working this month to bring the American family farm back to prominence.
Join the discussion–share your vision on how we can grow this economy–literally–from the dirt and the ground, up.