Picture and feel the difference between walking down the center aisle of a supermarket, and walking through a Farmers’ Market, where you can actually feel connected to the source of real, live food, grown not far from you. Somehow you find that your mood is lifted.
Farmers’ Markets, seed sales, gardens, small farms and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and the concept of “buying local” – all are booming this year. In 2009 there were 5,274 Farmers Markets registered, tripling the number in 1994 when the USDA first counted them. These are community building markets, the food offered is beautiful, tasty, healthful and is the satisfying result of soil being worked, seeds being planted, old-fashioned honest labors, no huge mark-ups, no incomprehensible dealings, neither Hollywood nor Wall Street is needed to buy or sell these bounties of the Earth. Their pure goodness sells itself, a balm for these times.
The number of small farms is increasing faster than mid or large sized farms too. From the USDA’s website: “Nearly 300,000 new farms have begun operation since the last census in 2002. Compared to all farms nationwide, these new farms tend to have more diversified production, fewer acres, lower sales and younger operators who also work off-farm…. In the past five years, U.S. farm operators have become more demographically diverse. The 2007 Census counted nearly 30 percent more women as principal farm operators. The count of Hispanic operators grew by 10 percent, and the counts of American Indian, Asian and Black farm operators increased as well.”
And organic? – fully certified in 2008, 14,540 farms. The states with the most organic farms are, perhaps not surprisingly, the West Coast, Wisconsin and the New England states.
In Australia, organic farming is predicted to LEAD job growth in the coming years. There’s a head turner.
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Barbara Hirsch, recording engineer, eco-person
“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– The Lorax, Children’s book by Dr. Seuss