Putting a blog post up each week is a simple thing. It doesn’t take much time. During the week ideas come from things I’ve read, heard or experienced. This week I had a multitude of ideas and had started a post about “Sustainable Ag”. I’ve run across so many definitions and concepts from ”economically sustainable” to “ecologically sustainable” that the topic is a mess of conflicting POV’s. I started on what sustainable should represent. I ended up lost in the topic…not making sense or having a clear thesis to press forward. I’ll have to put more thought to “Sustainable” before I post.
Another topic might have been about waste from agriculture. By waste I mean product that farmers and those in the supply chain don’t find a consumer for. There have been articles and research on how much food never gets to consumers. Staggering amounts that spoil or are produced at a time that nobody can utilize them. This topic is a classic that scratches at the ignorance about food production and utilization. Farmers massively overproduce. What doesn’t find a consumer is basically compost. For some reason the public has an ethic that this overproduction needs to be directed to the needy. In a market that is encouraged to over-produce, we don’t have a method to deal with excess. Some high density population areas have developed food banks and gleaners to address this but realistically the over production is still compost. I saw a presentation by the director of “Growing Power” that showed how they composted tons of grocery chain spoiled produce for their gardening program. Why are we surprised that we have excess? I had hoped to delve into the management issues a farmer deals with in planning for the “right amount” of production. Again a topic that needs time for thought…
And, another topic is our continuing weather uncertainties. Drought impacts a large portion of the country. Here in SW Michigan we have minimal short term issues but a level of concern underlies future planning. The winter precipitation has been way below normal. Subsoil moisture is low and aquifer levels are down. Will we hear more stories about lakefront homeowners having to walk 200’ to the shoreline that used to be out the patio door?
The FDA has released a new Food Safety document. To be expected, not everyone is happy. In trying to address some glaring failures of the food system the FDA has tried to encompass food production with this document. I wonder if the writers have any concept of what small, direct to consumer farmers do to protect themselves and customers. Farmers are the key in determining methods of production, handling, and education of consumers. Ask any farm marketer what steps they take to insure the wellbeing of their customers. With generous exemptions and low levels of inspection capabilities this whole effort from the FDA will have more impact on big industrial farms. It’s nice to see that the big guys will have to use some of the common sense methods we small farmers have used for years and prove it!
And there are more ideas….just not ready for the blog yet. Ideas that bounce around and slowly gel to become something coherent. Or sometimes set aside to allow a more pressing topic or rant surface. Always more to think on and share than ever gets put up! Maybe something good for next week…
Posted by Farmer Pete @ 10:41 AM EST