My Generation
The Friday Five: Solutions Edition

The Friday Five: Solutions Edition

Big vs. small farms, free cows, hick farmers, free Farmland, GMO problems and more: here are five links to catch you up on the week in food and ag.

Small vs. Large: Which Size Farm is Better for the Planet? This Washington Post op-ed came out early last month, and it's one of the most solid bits of common sense I've read in a long time. Written by a small Cape Cod oyster farmer who did real research on both sizes of farms and came up with conclusions that won't surprise farmers, but are surprisingly hard to find among those making the biggest arguments and the most noise about the U.S. food system. For instance, did you know that 56% of all USDA-recognized farms make less than $10,000 annually – which means more than half of all U.S. farms don't support the farmers who run them. "These are clearly not operations that support farmers, and perhaps not the best pattern on which to plan the future of our agriculture," writes Tamar Haspel. One of my favorite lines involves the recognition of the mighty middle: the 2,000 and 3,000 acre farms owned and operated by multi-generational families, that might be the model for efficiency and family farming.

Would Being Vegan Really Solve Climate Change? Not if We Don’t Kill the Cows. I have a great friend who suggests that true leadership is not just pointing that X is wrong, but pointing out that X is wrong and offering up a suggestion to improve/replace the problem. This is not something we see happen very often in the animal rights crowd or if they do, the solution is equally nonsensical. This is why I love Jude Capper. She's an animal scientist who did the math on what would happen if the vegans got their way, and it's not all happy cows on pasture

Stereotypes, Harvest and a Scary House: My friend, Emily, is very pregnant and very unfiltered. And this is a glorious response to the "dress like a farmer" day many of our schools are undertaking during Homecoming season. No criticism, just a recognition that, you know, farmers don't really wear bibs and straw hats.

Watch the Farmland Film Online: For four weeks beginning October 2, you can watch USFRA's Farmland film online for free at Hulu. So, if you've wondered about all the fuss and buzz and haven't been able to see it yet, here's your solution. I highly recommend; farm audiences won't necessarily learn anything new, but it is a celebration of all the things we hold dear. Good family movie night, too. And more importantly, a good share with you non-farming friends and family …because Farmland wasn't made for farmers. Downside: there are ads throughout, just like if you were watching a movie on TV.

4 Problems GMO Labeling Won't Solve: This is another opinion piece by the Grist's Nathanael Johnson, who's written extensively and well about GMOs in the past. He raises some excellent points, and I'm especially curious what farmers think about his ideas in Issue 2. Comment below or email me?

Yes, this is six…but I liked this one, too…

Are Farmers Rich? This is a great piece by Lindsay Mitchell at Illinois Corn Growers. Be sure to read the comment section, too. It's equally rich.

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