Can't we all just get along?

There are some points where I’m caught off guard by this question ringing in my ears. Why is it that agriculturalists – farmers, businesspeople, educators – can’t support other agriculturalists? Wouldn’t it make our entire industry stronger?

I’ve been placed in a couple of situations lately where, because production methods don’t mesh, I’ve been unable to promote what I feel is a beneficial part of agriculture. As long as one side isn’t attacking the other (I can understand dissatisfaction when there are attacks and marketing ploys), why is it wrong for high-production agriculture to support small-scale, local food marketers? It would seem that we all have our niches – commodity markets, contracts, farmers markets, CSA customers. Why not promote each other for the unique role we fill in this diverse industry we’re all a part of?

I know this post is probably pretty naiive, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Can differing production systems be supportive of one another? Should they?

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3 responses

  1. I often wonder the same thing. Maybe it is naive, I don’t know. I see the benefits of large scale agriculture as we need it to feed BILLIONS of people. The world population will reach 7 Billion this year and they all want to eat. Without increasing production and increasing efficiency (produce more food, in less space, in less time, using fewer resources) people will starve.

    On the other hand, I also know first hand the value of small agriculture, from the container garden on my small porch containing lettuces and tomatoes in the summer, to a CSA I belong to.

    In my own life, I depend on all types of agriculture to provide the things I eat, drive, furnish my home with, and more.

    In general, it would be nice for people to look for positives and not dwell on negatives or worry so much about being seen in cahoots with the other side. Much of this applies to politics in general as much as it does agriculture or any other issue. Society is currently not very understanding, tolerant or forgiving of one another and it is a crying shame.

    We could accomplish a lot more and faster if we worked together and looked for the good in people instead of looking for the bad and focusing on negatives.

  2. I’m definitely in the camp of supporting different kinds of agriculture. When I hear different sides pointing fingers & shoveling blame, it really gets to me, even if I totally agree with how things were produced. I think whether you feed a few houses or help feed billions, farmers deserve our thanks and the responsibilities agriculture has to shoulder means I think we should be open to all approaches.

  3. Great post. When you look at the number of farmers out there — people who are out in the fields every day, raising animals or tending crops– in relation to the number of people over all, we’re a small segment of society. The in-fighting is absurd and counter-productive. I am often amazed by the degree of vitriol I witness within the ag community. It is just plain stupid.

    The majority of US citizens have never even been on a farm. We need to work together to educate those people. That will never happen if we are too concerned with debating amongst ourselves.

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