Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

We Grew Things, Once

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.


  1. Who will stop the hemorrhaging?

    We can make this our path to breaking the conservative stranglehold on the Heartland. What goes better with not giving corporate welfare recipients more treasure than reaching a calloused hand out to the farmers and dirt-pushers among us?

    “Brick by brick, block by block, calloused hand by calloused hand”…I suppose the president’s dream is really only achievable if we supply the bricks and the hands and the faith.

    As always, loving the good moose around here who do good things in their non-virtual communities! Thanks for reading and supporting.

  2. There was a time when guns were made in small shops. So were bicycles. Those shops could not compete with mass manufacturing. Small farmers today can’t compete with the economies of scale that companies like Archer Daniels Midland achieve.

    There is another factor that doesn’t get mentioned much, if at all. Family farms are just that – owned by families. When the parents die the farm becomes part of their estate. If none of the kids want to farm, or even if they do, the farm often gets sold off to settle the estate. Companies like ADM can buy these farms with their pocket change, while individuals struggle to find loans to make the same purchase.

  3. sberel

    just up, is about the exploitation of inmates in a farm that provides to Wal-Mart.

    The Coalition for Immokalee Workers is also doing a lot of work trying to get fairer conditions for the workers in Florida.

    It’s pathetic! Small farms are going out of business and farm workers experience near-slavery conditions.  And the big farms get subsidies.

    Thanks for the diary.  

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