Friday, August 31, 2007

Support your Local Farmer

Farmers, the small family farmers, have been having a hard time of it pretty much since the depression. Some farmers who didn't lose the farm to the banks have ended up losing their farms to the monster agri-corp companies that have done their best to buy out all the family farms. Others lose out to developers and their cronies within the government.

Some farmers have tried to hold on to their way of life and deal with the unreasonable demands put on them in response to lobbying of the government. But in the end, old age and the lack of willing family members to take up the task leave the farms unworked and soon added to the 1000's of acres of land owned by the agri-corps. And, if the agri-corps don't get the land the housing developers do, purchasing it for pennies on the dollar through back room deals with the local municipal governments. A truly sad state of affairs.

In the last few years there has been a movement among the smaller farmers to take back their land and their way of life. Signs have popped up all over Ontario that read "Farmers Feed Cities" and "No Farmers, No food, No Cities." Some of the signs are sported by the people who thought to buy a country estate and grow their own food only to find out that gated community rules and municipal bylaws make it impossible to grow enough to feed themselves in their new "country" home.

Most of the signs, however, are displayed in farming communities throughout southern Ontario in direct response to local, county, and provincial bylaws that are making it hard to do what farmers do best. Rules that are applied to large agri-corporations due to the size and conditions they operate in are being applied to the small farmer, due to lobbying by the larger corporations, who wants to sell at the farmer's market. Rules that require extra outlay of cash that in many of the smaller farms is the only profit they see in a single year.

So when you decide to buy fruits and vegetables, especially those that are grown in your own local area, buy locally. Find the booth down the street that sells what is in season. Talk to your grocer and ask them to carry local produce, produce grown within the same province or better yet within the same municipality. Find out where the local farmers market and buy as much of your fruits and vegetables there. Your purchase will bring extra income to the small farms who need it most. And, you'll be buying a product that is fresher and guaranteed tastier than anything you buy that is trucked in from another province or from another country.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good post, Dee.

A simple example that even I (city boy) am familiar with: buy an apple, then pick one off a tree and eat it. There's simply no comparison.
Unfortunately the fresh stuff doesn't last longer because it tases to good to leave in the fridge.