We were moved by the Wendell Berry film, Look and See, screened at Rialto, Sebastopol courtesy of Farmers Guild/CAFF. Important if you want to know what farming in Kentucky, in America, really is. Scary, too, as reality is so often these days. Farmers talking dirt, talking their love of the land, talking how they barely scrape by and how they couldn’t see themselves doing any other thing even so. What’s making it so tough? Get Big or Get Out! the cry of capitalism. And the young farmer panel offering they don’t see where children fit in; give up having a family if you’re a farmer? Something is not right here! See the film Mon. Apr. 23rd on PBS.
Trailer at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/look-see-wendell-berrys-kentucky/
We all want experience the fancy side of farming: the farm to table dinners featuring ALL ORGANIC LOCAL foods, done much as Alice Waters would at Chez Panisse! Glamour. There exist whole new-to-me categories of health-infused FRESH no guilt dinners and brunches made without pesticides or anything other than organic local. Perfect, right? Except the farmer now earns about as much as he or she did for crops – in 1990. Costs are way up for growing but food prices didn’t make it up so small farms are scrampling to survive, even though fresh local organic food makes a body stronger and its human happier. Public education is obviously needed to convince people local, organic food makes them live longer and have more umph – but public education is underfunded and often absent from anyone’s budget. FUND PUBLIC EDUCATION ABOUT THE NEED FOR SMALL ORGANIC FARMS for long-term good health while healing our global warming disease (carbon farming is a reality through farming!).
A panel following Farmers Guild screening was composed of Joey Smith, Let’ Go Farm, Shone Farm and SRJC (he’s an instructor, too), Caiti, Red H Farm, Ariel Greenwood, Freestone Ranch and Evan Wiig, founder, Farmers Guild as moderator.
We came away deeply touched by the film – and saddened by the prospect of flocks of young farmers, excited to be part of a solution to global warming and the processed food vs. healthy food dicotomy, only to be met with statistics showing most young farmers won’t make it. Still worth the struggle! Still a good idea when groups like Farmers Guild are close at hand to help steer through the obstacles.
Need customers who can buy a load of food from you? Look to the few co-ops and progressive groceries in our area as well as to restaurants and local local stores. If they do take you on, may be all you need to stabilize, but don’t bet on it! Seems small farms need to balance outreach to friends, new friends, restaurants, developing CSAs, famrers markets, marketing, whew!
But there are ways and ways as my Mom used to say and small farms are nudged to checking all our options and pick what works. And keep it up – we all want and need healthy LOCAL foods to be our best selves – pass the word.