The Future Of Farm-To-Table
The farm-to-table movement has helped thousands of farmers sweeten the fruits of their labor. But whether or not it can sustain itself remains an open question. Barring a radical shift in the movement’s general strategy, I’d say the prospects look grim.
The national effort to localize food systems has its earliest roots in the Nixon era. It was then that Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz arrogantly decreed that American farms should “get big or get out.” For many Americans — even those brought up on TV dinners — this message was too much.
We are approaching Peak Cruelty in animal agriculture, probably around 2035. Good to see the discussion of TPP and TAFTA resurface in McW-Media. The problem of which you speak is interdisciplinary and involves land grabs, bankers, tax codes, zoning laws, social welfare and the neoliberal state. Smallholders and specialty farmers will never be able to survive alone and a radical reconfiguration of the economy is necessary to prevent the accretion of agricultural capital and the many disadvantages it produces. In the meantime I am plotting out my future potato crops.
non-GMO I assume.
Dirt cheap meat???
No sure James where you shop but meat is NOT dirt cheap in fact it is the highest it has ever been!!
With the possible exception of some beef, meat is cheaper than it has ever been. In the last 40 years alone, it has dropped form 5 to 1.5 percent of the household budget.
Thank you James McWilliams for an essay which is both predictive and normative for the realities of “Small Is Beautiful” organic farming being plant based and abandoning eating animals. With recent revelations by the M.I.T. study that factory farming via Monsanto may be responsible for a 50% autism rate among children by the year 2025, if we don’t evolve beyond factory farming fast, and go back to small communal farms, we will not be evolving any longer at all !
This analysis fails to consider the indisputable correctives that both climate change and peak oil will force on all systems, industrial, global-scale meat production and distribution chief among them.
The future is not a guaranteed superhighway to more, better, faster, cheaper when the cheap energy that supplies it, and the pollution impact of using that energy, are themselves not sustainable and in rapid decline.
So there’s hope yet for more go-local. It will just be a shock to all those wired millennial that jobs will be more about schlepping and less about pushing buttons and writing opinion blogs.