The sustainable family farm–a dinosaur or a phoenix?

–The number of family-owned farms in the United States has fallen by approximately 90% since the end of WWII.

–Black farmers have been all but eliminated, with the number of black farmers falling by 97% since the end of WWII.

–40 years ago the farmer received about 40% of the consumer’s dollar.  Today that figure is between 5% and 20%.

–A recent study at Rutgers University reveals that there are up to 87% less minerals and trace elements in commercially grown vegetables today, compared to a few decades ago.

As Arthur Bolduc has written, “Chemical farmers have little to keep their children on the farm besides debt, chemical pollution and the uncertainties of the government dole.”

But thanks to farmer’s markets and the sustainable agriculture movement, small family-owned and operated farms are returning.  Perhaps the trends will even begin to reverse.  Maybe our children and grandchildren will raise their children on healthy food purchased from their neighborhood farmers.

If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that you read the portion of Discipline and Hope that we’ve excerpted on the Wendell Berry page of our website.   Let’s keep tilting at the windmills.

Grace and Peace