November Farms & Food News

Hopeful notes

-by Kelly Sanderbeck, Development Director & Story Catcher

There seems to be increasing hope for the 2012 Farm Bill to be more transparent and negotiable. And although it’s easy to dwell on the uphill battle we’re fighting for clean and local food, this movement will eventually gain its momentum, with fits and starts and individual steps. The ripples are cascading in ponds throughout the world, and will eventually override the ocean of moneyed interests who want to stomp the voices of the majority.  It’s our time to take daily small steps, to express gratitude for those on the “front lines”, and be here for the collective culmination of our actions over time.

Details are long down the road, but discussion around compensating farmers for contamination by biotech crops is a small win for the rights of farmers. And yet another study has just been released where organic agriculture proves just as productive as chemical agriculture.

PCC Farmland Trust and our farmers received a national feature in Grist  this month“ looking at our model of saving farmland, assisting farmers, partnering with environmentalists on climate change and–bottom line–securing local food for our local communities.

Despite the dismal economy, more families are choosing to buy organic than ever before, highlighting priorities on how people choose to spend their limited money.  And when you put all the pieces together–including energy supply and cost, water supply, etc.–national security equals food security. Do we really want to be dependent on China for our food?  “Our food supply isn’t guaranteed, but it’s more likely to provide us with security if we focus more on regional agriculture and less on trade,” says Mark Bittman about local food.  “But there’s something far more important to fear:  that when imports stop we won’t have the food to replace them, nor the farmers to grow that food.”

The recent Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture looks to apply a “triple win” with “interventions that would increase yields [poverty reduction and food security], make yields more resilient in the face of extremes [adaptation], and make the farm a solution to the climate change problem rather than part of the problem [mitigation].”

And as the public moves to explore options other than mainstream banks, so too are farmers looking to private investors and nonprofit banks to invest in them, our “food entrepreneurs“.


“It is my job to make sure the ewes and lambs have the tools they need in order to produce for us.  Sounds simple. But in practice it is time-consuming. I do need luck.  Lots of it. I continue to do it because I love the challenge and the best part for me is that our sheep allow me to be their Shepherd.”   –Jeff Rogers, Aspen Hollow Sheep Station

“Thanks to anyone who’s started a small farm in the last five years, and anyone who’s supported one; anyone who cooks, and especially anyone who teaches others to cook. In these realms, let’s thank FoodCorps, SlowFood USA and Cooking Matters, all doing great work. As are millions of individuals. Bless you.”   —Mark Bittman, NY Times, 11/19/11