I wondered how many small farmers, like myself, actually made a living.
I looked into national statistics. Only the largest farms, which represent just 10 percent of farming households in the country and most of which received large government subsidies, earned the majority of their income from farm sources. So, 90 percent of farmers in this country rely on an outside job, or a spouse’s outside job, or some independent form of wealth, for their primary income.
My small organic farm’s become a billboard, and like all billboards, this one is deceptive. It depicts abundance and prosperity— two young smiling farmers working among neat rows of greens under a crisp morning sun. Heaping bins of produce, all of it picked fresh and free of synthetic chemicals. Despite all the talk of small farms disappearing, despite concerns of big ag controlling our food, GMOing everything and dousing it all in RoundUp, driving past my farm one might feel a flutter of relief, think there’s a small farm right there where I can go and pick up a bag of organic baby kale.
But the truth is, no matter how many young people choose to farm, no matter how many bunches of kale are made into smoothies, no matter how many hip new restaurants declare themselves farm-to-fork, none of these things address the policies that dictate how our country’s food system works, policies that have created a society in which the small farmer can’t even earn a living.
Read full, original article: What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living