Dear Small Farmers,
Dear Small Farmers,
It is the season of giving thanks and giving gifts, so I am thinking of you.
I want to thank you for not feeding me arsenic. Yup, turns out our government regulators, ostensibly looking out for our health, have been allowing arsenic into chicken feed for years. As my farmer friend Jeremy says, “…it inflames their intestines so that more feed is absorbed.” As our society spends money and manpower on a cure for cancer, our FDA feeds us carcinogens in our chicken nuggets. Were it not for the small, conscious farmer I would not be able to eat chicken at all.
And speaking of weird things I’m not fond of eating, why would anyone willingly ingest pesticides and herbicides? And why would you pay hard-earned money at the grocery store for greens that are sprayed with manure from a disease-ridden factory farm? I just don’t get that. Particularly when there is an alternative – your greens.
We hear that there is an imperative to end world hunger and that genetically engineered crops are the answer. I have two things to say to that: 1) what we’ve been doing has not worked – ending world hunger must be a matter of funding or political will or knowledge; it is not solved through frankenfoods. Sorry. And 2) I’m not interested in the “grand experiment” alluded to in this article in the East Bay Express recently:
“Your body would then become a 24-hour processing plant for a grand, uncontrolled experiment that enriches the coffers of chemical companies, destroys farmland, and may be giving you new allergies, weakening your immune system, and disrupting your hormones.”
Folks are mystified that their kids are maturing earlier these days. Really? That’s surprising? Look at what they eat – arsenic and chemicals.
Oh, I have two more things to say on this: 3) Yes, we should continue to end world hunger, but with a new paradigm. And 4) Thank you, local farmer, for offering me tomatoes that haven’t been injected with flounder genes. Duh.
Speaking of injections, thank you so much for NOT injecting my food with antibiotics on a regular basis to speed growth. I don’t need a big cow in a hurry and I’m glad you don’t either. I’ll pay any price you want to name so that I can have a nice slow piece of beef. I might choose a smaller piece or eat it less often, but I sure don’t need drugged up beef. If you need an antibiotic for a sick animal, I understand that. But using antibiotics constantly to improve growth, raise milk production or even to stay healthy in those cesspools those poor animals have to live in is ridiculous. I appreciate that you have healthy animals without all that chemistry. Keep up the good work!
Oh, and thanks for being resourceful and repurposing things on your farm. Thanks for planting a diverse ecosystem that holds rainwater and thank you for not littering our environment with pesticides and herbicides. I know you struggle with neighbors all around you who spray and they may or may not respect you and what you’re doing, crackpot that you are because you want to farm naturally. Please keep at it!
Yes, you the small local farmer are the solution to all my food sourcing needs and I thank you. (Well, not all, I guess – I admit to undercutting your profit margin a little by growing some of my own food. Hope you don’t mind.)
And your food tastes delicious. I never feel that I am sacrificing by buying local goods and produce. Nope, it’s a no-brainer to buy from you – your products are amazing!
Really, a very heartfelt thank you.
P.S. Of course I’m addressing all the wonderful small farmers throughout our country, but in my foodshed, in my life, the farmers who feed me and teach me have names: Jenny, Bob, Bronwyn, Jeremy, Beth, Vicki, Tracey, Kathe, Molly, Harry, Raya, Rink, Ellen, Mick, Pete, Al, Terra, Jakob, Paulie, Matt, Joe.
To all people reading this who eat:
What can you do? Well, you can’t sit on the sidelines any more; you must do something:
1 Eat food.
2 Get to know your farmer.
3 Let your government know you want genetically modified foods labeled. Sign the petition; it’s easy: JustLabelIt.
4 The Pew Charitable Trust’s Moms For Antibiotic Awareness campaign is not just for moms. If you ever think you might like to take an antibiotic to combat an illness, and you’d like for it to work, it’s for you. Sign their petition: Pew.
5 And for cheering up, look at these beautiful farm photos: Our Beautiful Farms.