Sunday, February 8, 2015

Revisiting "Po' chic organic farmin'"

I was kinda flattered to be invited as guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Bruce County Organic Farmer's Co-op. That "modest honorarium in kind" remuneration didn't faze me one bit. I'm well known to talk hours for absolutely no compensation whatsoever, so walking away with a dozen free-range eggs or a jar of pickled organic beets was all bonus from my point of view.

Instead, three days later I'm still scraping tar off my butt-cheeks and picking feathers out of my ass-crack.

Boy, did it get ugly!

Seems the good folks at the Co-op somehow got hold of this blog-post and took it ENTIRELY the wrong way.

Instead of a warm welcome and a jar of pickled beets, they were waiting with a bucket of tar, a bag of feathers, and some really nasty looking root vegetables of indeterminate genus.

Somehow they had concluded that I was a shill for Satan; that I was dissing small-scale farming in favour of agri-business; that I was an agent for the Dark Side...

NONONO a thousand times NO!!!

What I did was point out a weakness in the Community Supported Agriculture model that I continue to believe is a weakness; that it too often depends on the free labour of idealistic young professionals in order to be viable.

That's a model that won't feed cities. It'll feed a limited number of CSA groups in cities, while the dominant model of 500 horsepower half-a-million dollar tractors towing 6,000 gallon vats of chemicals through the fields feeds everybody else. That ubiquitous bumper-sticker about farmers feeding cities is about the kind of farming that's feeding most city-dwellers today.

Monsanto and Cargill and all the rest of them love hiding behind the image of the wholesome farm family working the land.

The question is, how can we wean more farmers off their addictions to chemicals and genetically modified seeds?

I don't have the answer.

In the meantime, I applaud the efforts of everybody who is working so hard to make the CSA model work, especially those young professionals in their unpaid internships.

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