Small Gardens Have Room to Grow

Small farms are getting some attention from the Obama Administration, but what's still holding them back is the proper infrastructure, according to this piece from <em>Citiwire</em>.
March 30, 2009, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The new administration's move on fresh food is no accident. Demand for local produce is on the rise nationwide. And the reasons are so many you can name your own–complaints about taste and nutrition in mass-prepared foods, obesity becoming a national epidemic (especially alarming among youth), climate change suggesting less long-distance food supplies, worry about loss of open farm fields around our cities, and revolt against federal subsidies to multi-millionaire commercial farmers."

"We may even be witnessing a reversal of a near-century of disappearing small farms. Vilsack recently released a new census of agriculture indicating more than 100,000 new small farmers. Some of the growth may be due to new (and often quite profitable) organic farms."

"Up to now, the federal government has given little more than weak lip service to small-scale local farming. Last year it appropriated just $15 million to support organic and other local foods–compared to a massive $7.5 billion for subsidies focused on big-time commodity crops. Local food evangelist Michael Pollan notes federal law has even prohibited farm operations receiving commodity subsidies from growing "specialty crops" of fruits and vegetables."

"And there's another problem: While small farms may be on the rise, they lack sufficient infrastructure, on a regional level, to get to scale and be truly sustainable."

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, March 29, 2009 in Citiwire
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