Norman Pickell - The Purchase and Sale of Farms in Ontario
Big question here—What do Bob make per hour in his day job? Asking that farmers not respond to the market where in many situations supply and demand drive prices up, while his job is supported by most likely govenrment and foundation grant money and other people’s largess seems a bit disengenuous. I too have a concern about good food being what only the elite can afford. However, when farmers who have often not had to purchase their land (Amish and Salatin, for example) therefore having no mortgage payments, and do have children and family that offer labor underprice more local, struggling farmers there are options. Economies of scale is why we are where we are with factory farming. The tipping point has to be carefully watched to make sure you are not getting too big for the kind of sustainability that most of us seek. I feel that when society assumes that it is OK and right that farmers must subsidize their operations with outside jobs to provide enough dollars to get the basic necessities of life there is something off-kilter. People who gripe about paying for food, yet shell out the money for cableTV, i-pods and related $ spent filling them up, new fashions, bottled water,etc. have a skewed basic of that which is valuable. Those vegies that are cheap in summer are cheap due to supply and demand. Vegies and fruit of the same caliber are not so cheap or available in off months. My profit margin is nil at this point because I still am working on capital improvements on the farm, and at the tax rates–even at land use reduction–it takes a bite. I happen to believe that when a society makes the choices to pay sports and film entertainers, politicans, et al at extremely high rates, and complains about good food costing money and being unwilling to allow farmers who produce it to have a somewhat comfortable life is bound to sink into a quagmire of confusion over what is important in this life.
PUERTO RICO | Nelson Antonio Denis
Bob Comis grew up playing video games and eating fast food in a shopping mall in a suburb of Syracuse, New York. In his late twenties, he woke up to the unfortunate reality of the industrial food system, especially factory farms. After losing 15 pounds in his short three-month stint as a very unsuccessful vegan, Bob realized that he could move from Center City Philadelphia to the country with his horse-loving wife and start raising his own animals for slaughter. After five years of pasture farming a windy hillside farm in Schoharie, New York, Bob is so taken with it that he hopes someday to be able to do it full-time. Currently he works as a cyber-commuting PowerPoint specialist and communications project manager for a Philadelphia-based not-for-profit that promotes cancer research.) He has been in an effort to share the farming life and generate discussion about what a local-regional farming and food system might look like.
I am definitely not saying that we should compete on price with factory farming. What I am saying is that since one of our rhetorical slogans is “the true cost of raising food,” then we should be honest about why our meat is wildly more expensive than industrial meat — much of our price has little to nothing to do with the actual cost to raise the food, it has to do with making up for low-volume.