We have grave concerns about the direction and future of American agriculture. Aided and abetted by government policies and the cry of “free trade,” more and more of your food is being produced in other countries or on large corporate (or sometimes large family-owned) agribusiness farms. There is little accountability to you, the consumer, in such an agricultural system. There are also significant ecological and social costs as small, diversified family-operated farms are replaced by large farms managed primarily by hired labor. Larger farms have little flexibility in caring for land in an intimate way. Human care is replaced by mechanical equipment. Love for a place is replaced by maximizing profits. The dignity of the independent farmer is replaced by the hired-hand mentality of a farm manager, management skills replaced by corporate directives. As large farms replace small farms, rural communities die, as income generated from the farm is transferred to distant owners in metropolitan areas, rather than circulated through the local business economy (see more extensive discussion below in Peter Rosset’s policy brief).
Since 1981, more than 620,000 productive farms have disappeared, either bought by larger farms or “developed” into ranchettes, subdivisions or strip malls. This is not the future we envision for Alderspring Ranch. By opting out of the agricultural system, and buying directly from us, you support a small family farm committed to providing you with healthy and superior food, committed to improving the ecological health of our land, committed to the kind treatment of all our animals, and committed to our local rural community.
Rodney Leonard of the Community Nutrition Institute of Washington, DC. Wrote in 1988: Two agricultural systems are emerging. One is a system of small independent farms relying on the management skills of farm owners who produce natural, organic foods that provide arising portion of the American diet. The other is an industrial agriculture system managed by executives of corporations that genetically convert plants and animals into miniature factories producing chemicals, drugs and body parts through biotechnology; farmers will grow and harvest these factories on command of corporate managers.”
We at Alderspring Ranch are committed to being a part of the first system. We highlight and talk about articles and news on sustainable family-scale agriculture over at our blog Organic Beef Matters.