Thursday, September 30, 2010

An (Organic) Blast from the Past

Our day at the wedding...

When you grow up in a small town, you get to know or know about just about everyone (whether what you know about them is true or not is up to the townspeople  to gossip about).  I grew up in a small community of ~1500 residents, and graduated with a sum total of 30 students.  I attended my cousin's wedding a few weeks ago, and of course, ran into many individuals I haven't seen for a while.  One of the most fun encounters involved a couple, I'll call the X's whom I knew in high school.  While catching up, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they have been organic farmers for the last 14 years or so.  We found that we share beliefs about farming, and I felt encouraged to see full-time farmers doing things in environmentally friendly ways. 

While doing a mixture of conventional and organic farming, Mr. X got cancer.  After having part of his body artificially recreated the X's were done with chemicals and conventional farming practices.  They shifted to an all organic farm, and are energetic about what they do.  Always curious to learn, I asked about their yields.  They said no, they do not have as large of yields as a conventional farmer, but they also do not have the costly inputs that conventional farmers do. 

The conventional farmer would say he needs to feed the world, and needs to increase yields.  However, the United Nations World Food Program realizes current problems with world hunger are not due to lack of food, but problems with distribution of that food.  And, countries who need the food aren't able to afford the prices our western culture wants, therefore, why increase our production when the members of our society are over nourished and those who need it can't pay for it?  Which leads me to an interesting quote I read recently:

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

Something to think about.  There are a lot of opinions when it comes to farming...and it's important to remember how important farmers really are to every one of us

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