Small Farming: It Takes A Village

Local food and small farming are part of a growing food trend in the U.S. But, as Steph Larsen writes, the trend is going to need more infrastructure down the supply chain to sustain itself
January 7, 2010, 9am PST | Nate Berg
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"Society is beginning to see farming as a dignified and profitable profession again, and with that comes market demand for good farmers, respect for the profession, government programs to encourage new farmers, and training and educational opportunities. We need similar opportunities for small-scale butchers, millers, bakers, and other types of processors.

Local food distribution has received even less attention than processing, and it is a complex piece of the food chain we'll have to get creative about if local food will be available in grocery stores. In Nebraska, where I live, the distributor serving most of the rural grocery stores has a weekly buying minimum. A grocer won't even consider buying produce from a local farmer if it will put them below their minimum because the distributor levies a fine."

When small farms were replaced by big agri-business, many of the community-based related industries like butchers and millers dried up. Larsen wrties that small farming will need those related industries to re-emerge if local food is to be a sustainable industry.

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Published on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 in Grist
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