Food security is a topic much in the news these days. The unrest spreading through North African countries and the Middle East began with riots in Tunisia over the exorbitant cost of food.
The same thing can happen in North America unless we get busy building a strong network of mini farms, supporting and in turn supported by local communities.
How did we get to this point? The short answer is, 'greed'! Huge corporations and the lap-dog politicians that support them have built a system that leaves over 1 billion people going hungry every day.
This was not an accident: the corporations and the best politicians their money could buy set out consciously to disrupt and destroy local food systems.
This was done in the name of 'free markets'. Free market to these folks means, 'I will dump my excess production into your local market at prices you can't match. And when I have driven the local farmers out of business, I can jack up my prices to all the market will bear (and maybe a bit more, like in Tunisia.)
The people we elected to serve us and protect us from this predation have either abdicated their responsibility, or have bought into the madness. That's what passes for leadership in North America these days, so don't expect the 'gummint' to ride to the rescue.
Politicians, with rare exceptions, have two priorities: 1 - get and retain power, and 2 - put the laws and regulations in place to ensure they and their friends continue to prosper under the current system.
Again, this is not accidental; in fact I don't have a better word to describe it than 'evil'. The Monsanto's of the world have systematically set out to control seed supplies, and therefore the food supply. And the politicians and the courts have either backed them up or refused to intervene.
So, what's to be done? Is it hopeless, do we just hand over control of our lives to these malicious idiots? Here's one answer: create more mini farms.
You can't legislate food security. And you can't inspect your way to food safety. The big corporations are adept at exploiting loopholes; the rules are set up to protect them, not citizens.
Real food security and safety comes from knowing where your food comes from. It comes from not being dependent on foreign oil to grow and transport food.
It comes from NOT letting Gigantic Evil-Co control our food and our future. And the best way to achieve that is to create and support a network of mini farms, closely tied to their local communities.
Despite my ranting in the first couple paragraphs, there is some good news on the horizon. The interest and awareness of the importance of local food has never been higher. More and more mini farms are being started, many employing Community Supported Agriculture methods, to bring customers closer to the source of their food.
Farmer's markets are popping up everywhere; enlightened chefs are featuring local food in their menus. And, people are voting with their food dollars to buy local, buy organic, and NOT buy into the 'industrial agri-business' model that has resulted in the food crisis we see in the world today.
There's never been a better time for mini farms to begin securing our food supply. If you have thought about starting a mini farm of your own, the conditions are right.
You could create a successful farm on as little as a quarter-acre. And if you can't be a mini farmer, support one: join a CSA, patronize your local farmers market, go to restaurants that feature a menu of local food choices. If millions of us do the same, we can secure our food and our future.
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