In these recent tumultuous times, we are seeing the fragility of our vertically integrated corporate food system. The industrialized CAFO model of consolidation and confinement has failed our communities, causing harm to the health, safety, and welfare of our rural way of life. Industrialized agriculture has pushed out local small-scale farmers and threatens the sustainability of rural America.
We have created an unstable non-local food system that provides cheap food lacking in nutritional value. This massively subsidized and monopolized system is being propped up by unconscious consumers.
When we buy from grocery stores, we often don’t know where the food comes from. Much of the dairy, meat, and eggs there come from distant CAFOs. Areas with CAFOs see the agricultural products shipped out of their local regions to feed others across the world. Rural communities are left with all of the negative externalities of these harmful operations and few of the profits. We as consumers can look at our eating habits and be part of the solution: supporting sustainable farmers, local food networks, and encouraging people to buy from producers locally.
Buying locally, from our farmer coops and direct sales supports healthy farms, soils, water, and community. Farmers markets and CSAs offer local produce in-season. Local food coops offer knowledge of food sources, and sell more locally produced food.
We live in a place of good food abundance. As we are learning about what’s not good in the food system, let’s give our support locally and regionally as best we can. Farmers are struggling, and they need our support.