Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Can Small Sustainable Farms Feed the World?

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA

Nick Ziggelbaum over at Cane Creek Farm—a purveyor of some of the most delicious sustainably-reared pork and beef I have ever tasted—has clearly got tired of answering questions about the viability of small-scale sustainable agriculture to feed the world. In a post entitled Feeding the Masses, Nick cites the UN report on how agroecology could double food production,and lays out why hunger is primarily a problem of distribution, not production. He also makes the case for why we need to move away from feeding grains to animals as much as possible.

Finally, he points out a bitter irony of the world hunger problem—many of the poorest people most at risk of hunger are indeed farmers:

The poorest people in the world, the ones that are starving, are FARMERS. Supporting localized, sustainable food systems around the world means funneling money towards the people that need it in order to buy food. You might think it strange that farmers don't have access to food, but many of these farmers don't actually own the food they grow. They work for corporations, which own the crop that is barely edible anyway for people (feed grade corn is not the sweet corn of late summer). If we buy more food from small farmers we empower them to grow a more diverse crop, increase their profit and our money comes back through the local economy in the form of jobs (construction, labor, mechanics, trucking).

He's got me convinced. Anyone else care to argue?

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