[Homestead] Food prices and farming
don.bowen at earthlink.net
Tue May 6 22:37:29 EDT 2008
I see it in entirely different terms. I do agree that we need more urban
farmers, people who produce as much of their own food as they can and even
some surplus for sale on urban lots. But the articles were addressing
farmers, those who make all or a large part of their incomes by farming.
Those people are disappearing. The average age of US farmers is in the high
50s and the costs of starting a farm in this day of industrialized
agriculture is beyond many who would like to take up farming. My cousin can
farm because his mother owns a chunk of land and he has equipment purchased
by his father many years ago. The farmer I am currently helping can farm
because his mother owns a chunk of land and he has equipment purchased by
years of working as a Nat Semi sales engineer.
In many areas of the world small farmers are being driven off the land.
Costs of inputs are rising while farm subsidies in the first world are
making farming less profitable unless a large land owner takes on industrial
methods. Those displaced become the fodder for slums and a source of cheap
labor. Business need cheap labor so they encourage this mass movement from
farms to slums. That is a migration that will be difficult to reverse and
the two articles do not begin to address that, they push for more of the
same, bigger more industrialized farms.
The homesteader (as I define them) is unique. They are willing to combine
things like simple living with a self sufficient lifestyle. Many would like
to do so but are stopped by things like the need for a job to exist in
today's economy and to purchase land. Many trends are helping people move
in this direction but few are taking advantage and those that are are more
interested in living in rural settings rather than living a homesteader
Don Bowen KI6DIU
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