Over the last 4 (+) years we have been focusing on sourcing and bringing the best farmers from all around NJ. We source specifically from those that are concentrating on the health of their land without the use of artificial treatments. Instead they practice a natural rotation of vegetable, grassland, and animal (aka regenerative agriculture). Healthy lands mean healthy soils which in turn means healthy vegetables, healthy animals, and healthy food for all of us.
In this time we have distinguished quite a few hurdles that lay ahead, and these hurdles are driven by misguided propaganda and over saturated competitive markets.
Let’s first talk propaganda and reading between the lines. Propaganda comes in all forms; many of those that promote and market to “healthy diet” fads without understanding agriculture, and those that do not or or may even agree with our mission. E.G. We supported a campaign of a small central US farmer that is raising a bunch of money ($1M) to put together a documentary about the case for better meat in this country. Where our missions align in the development of a better food system, our missions do not when she publicly displays support of large conglomerates like General Mills and Merck. Her argument is that these companies are necessary to influence the change we need to be sustainable, but in reality, as she also stated, she couldn't have raised this type of funding from small producers (the real truth). So, we beg to differ with her vision of sustainability. These large conglomerates, while fully aware of the damages they are creating environmentally and economically, are also still the sole providers of feeding our children and families toxic foods and drugs which are the majority reason for chronic disease in this country. These conglomerates (also including Nestle, P&G, Kraft, etc.…), as economics has proven time and time again, are just waiting for the shift in demand to then take a strangle hold on the market and instill a burden on the small producers who are currently working very very hard to get us there in the first place. Large money goes a long way, but with the ignorance that still surrounds a very valuable and sustainable local food system, money can also and will continue to misguide and influence a market away from the small producers. Small producers who should be working side by side to help in the true mission of transparency, education, and sustainability. This is where the next hurdle lies.
Small farmers are still competitive in this very capitalistic market, but quietly and with a stolid smile. We are, obviously, not opposed to a capitalistic society but we also understand that an unattractive competitiveness is where our ignorance and self-pity create bigger issues surrounding our food system. Businesses like ours are here to help them, but small sums of money are not enough to influence their palate even though our missions supposedly align. They avoid promoting services like ours even though we are here to limit their labor of sale and help promote their work. WHY?? Possibly because we work with other farmers alike and they would prefer not to promote them, or because they decide to negate the true integrity of our services. If only they knew! Unfortunately, convincing them otherwise has had its tremendous difficulties. Instead, many of them are forced to donate much of their offerings or lose 30% of their offerings that do not sell at markets. This is so disheartening as these farms would instead prefer to lose money for their work other than support a network of fellow farmers because they simply believe their product is superior. I wish they understood that their hard work should be for change and not for capitalistic gain or public notoriety. Every farmer we know is struggling financially or just sustaining themselves if farming is not just supplemental to their already established wealth. So why do they bother fighting or adding this burden on themselves when they all are doing such noble work?? They must realize, even collectively, that they have yet the ability to feed everyone.
How can we eventually change this? By collectively educating the public on topics like portion control, the validity of nutrient dense foods (creating the highest quality of calories per acre of land being utilized), environmental degradation, while also trying to inspire new and old farmers to get on board a much stronger community mission. Unfortunately, the idea of socialism comes into play with this and some farmers would rather not feel so limited. This, again, is simply misguided propaganda by the powers that be in our culture. We always seem to desire for more when all we need is good food, water, friends, family, and roof over our heads. Even wealthier farmers stress about the more peculiar things we instead decide to burden us in life.
We are confident that will get there even though this may be understood as digression. To some of us, who have seen the worse of the worse from what societal norms can do to our families and health, this is instead progression back to realism and a world of sustainability for all human existence.