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The Family Farm

March 26, 2011

I am reading a new book that arrived yesterday by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm called You Can Farm.

As he is retelling his story of growing up and the leap he and his wife took to start a farm, he touches on the damage done to farmers and their land by the “agri-industrial monster.” I couldn’t help but make the comparison to education.

“I sat through hours and hours of USDA informational meetings, attended seminars and field days sponsored by government agencies and corporate patrons. The average person cannot imagine what farmers are routinely told. Certainly I found nuggets of gold in some of these programs, but 95 percent of the presentations steered folks in the wrong direction. And then when I visited farms and saw the result of conventional recommendations, I saw just how evil the advice was. Although I didn’t know all the answers, I knew where not to find answers. And during this time, our farm, embryonic though it was, showed real promise. We had some real successes in soil fertility, healthy animals and low-capital production models. The contrast between what I was doing at home and what I was seeing in the countryside was dramatic indeed and filled me with hope for our farming future.”

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