Sunday, April 19, 2015

Organic Farms: Does History Repeat Itself?

One of my problems with the food movement, defined as the people who advocate for organic farming, and/or local farming, and/or  family/small farming, is their ignoring of history.  I once had ambitions to be a historian, and I've kept up an arms-length interest in the subject and profession since my college days, so I tend to be aware of history.

In the past, say up to the 1930's or 1950's, depending on the area and the crop, American farms were essentially organic and the food they produced was often sold locally.  I remember reading a memoir/history from Ontario county, NY (where some of my ancestors had settled and lived for a few generations).  The writer talked about the family farms, about hog slaughtering in the fall, and about the fact that every family had its own recipe for bacon, and knowledgeable folks could identify which farm the bacon had come from.

My point is that time passed, and there were reasons for its passing.  The forces of the market and the way American society has changed were too strong.  However earnestly the food movement tries, unless and until they come to grips with the reasons, its efforts will be eventually futile.

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