North Dakota has long been considered the bread basket of the world. Fields of wheat have already been harvested and straw bales mirror the sun. As the days grow shorter, many home gardeners are putting up jams and jellies, making pickles and preserving vegetables harvested from their own gardens.
While our farms have grown into enormous operations in the past 30 years, and the farmer mantra has become, "we feed the world;" what really are we feeding people? There was a time when farmers grew real food and fed their families first. And while we do need to grow crops to export – wheat, flax, oats and canola – there is no eating those products without some processing first. Farmers do not benefit from that value-added agriculture, the middle-man does.
Making the case for big is better does not always hold true. Enter the small diversified farms of five acres or less with young people interested in growing edible food. Some of us don't want to be big and own huge equipment and carry huge debt. Some folks want to grow real food on sustainable manageable farms.
"No one wants to farm, it's too much hard work" does not hold true and neither does "no one wants to cook anymore." There are people out there who want the opportunity to farm fruits and vegetables and direct market them to real people. There are also those of us who love to cook and enjoy "real" food, grown by hands they recognize. Let's support our new farmers, they are the future.
Photo Credit: Farrms.org