What will we do with all this food?
There are many people who "farm" by raising just enough to feed their social group; friends and family, with the occasional outsider thrown in. There is nothing at all wrong in that, and in fact, I'd like to see more people get involved with their food.
But what I'm interested in, what I'm doing, is community-scale farming. My goal is not to just feed my friends and family, but to produce enough that I can provide that same food I eat to others; maybe hundreds of others, or thousands of others.
It's my little way of removing that sale from the usual channel, and I think that's a good thing. By providing an alternative to the anonymous meat case I'm also providing the animal with a different experience than they would normally have - and I'm providing the customer with as much information as they wish about how it was raised, what it was fed, how it came to be, and how it ended. In my blog here I've written about every step the food takes to reach your plate at one point or another.
Community-scale farming requires you to start making decisions that aren't solely based on your personal desires -- it becomes more market-driven. More responsive to the community. You grow what the customer wants, not whats' cool. You deal with the retail end of this business -- and customers can be tough at times.
For me that's meant a crash-course in cultural differences in eating and religions, and in dealing with each groups handling of something that is very personal to you. Make no mistake-food is personal. It's your culture and your heritage and its all rolled up in your family. I've really appreciated the insight I've gotten into the different groups by providing them with the basics to make their traditional real to themselves and their children.
So that's what I do. I'm not a multinational conglomerate. I'm not a faceless package. I'm a community-scale farm, and I serve the needs of the local community, particularly those that want to know more about their food.
The blog entry that inspired this.