After our farm tour, and as our Open House/Field Day was winding down, one of our supporters said to me, “When most people buy food in grocery stores they think it’s coming from places like this. They have no idea.”
I can think of two reasons why people would falsely assume that their food is coming from a farm like ours. One reason is that most of our country is only a generation or two removed from the farm. Many people can recall what their grandparents’ farm was like. They remember the carefully tended fields and animals. Our collective memories of farms as wholesome and pleasant places haven’t been erased by the industrial reality. The factory-farms that dominate the industrial agricultural system today didn’t exist back then, and those places aren’t giving any farm tours these days. So we imagine our chicken, milk, eggs, meat and vegetables coming from places like this farm, when in reality they almost always come from places nothing like our farm.
The second reason is because industrial agriculture’s marketeers cultivate that false belief. The next time you’re in a grocery store take a look at the packaging on the food. Often the brand name will be something like “Pleasant Valley Farm” and will have the outline of a barn, a smiling cow or a happy chicken. Of course a depiction of where that product actually originated wouldn’t be very appetizing and wouldn’t help sales. So they tap into our residual memories of farms in order to gain sales.
I’ve shared this video before, and of course I’m aware that it too is an ad intended to help persuade viewers to buy a product. But it can be watched and appreciated without that in mind, and I think it conveys a powerful message.