Corporate Farms with GM Foods or Organic Family Farms: Which Do You Prefer?

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Interviewer:  How realistic is it to get back to that model that we've gotten away from over the last 50 or 60 years and get healthier with all of the big companies and the subsidies that you mentioned and farming.  Is it realistic that we can turn the tide?

Victoria Bloch:  I don't think it would be easy to do but I do think it's realistic that it can be done.  I think, like anything... I mean my grandfather always talked about the American people as being like a really big ship.  It's like they're slow to get moving but once you get them moving you can't really stop them.  And I also think of the 100th monkey theory.  You know there's that little island and one monkey started washing his food before he ate it and then suddenly other people did it and then suddenly all the monkeys on the island were washing food and the monkeys on the next island over started washing their food.  So I think there's a tipping point and it doesn't mean that 51% of the population has to suddenly demand real food.  I think that as we, as more and more local movements grow.  As organizations like somewhat slow food western prize foundation, more local organizations.  Organic consumers fund.  The March Against Monsanto and all of those movements that more and more people start to become aware of what it really means to buy local food and then they start allocating their budget.  There's a wonderful farmer who's appeared in a lot of documentaries named Joel Salithan [sp].  He's in the Shenandoah Valley running polyphase farms.  And he says, don't tell me there's not enough land here.  How many golf courses you got?  How many front lawns you got?  How many school yards that you don't play in do you have?  You can plant.  You can grow a garden.  If you've got a window box you can grow something.  Everybody can grow something.  When my mother was growing up it was World War II and there were victory gardens.  And people had them.  So I say let's not just have it at the White House, let's have it everywhere.  And if more and more of us start saying, I want you Mr. Farmer to grow food here and I'm going to buy it.  I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and make a commitment to that.  So it takes an effort of the part of the public so people like me, I think, are the forerunners.  Then it gets to people who say, oh you look good.  You look really healthy.  How come your kids aren't spending half the year out of school because they got this, that and the other virus?  What are you doing? It's like, well I'm doing this.  Like, oh...I could do that.  And then I think it's that 100th monkey.  As more and more of us do make a commitment to doing that to the greatest extent possible then more people will want to do it. And then more farmers will say, oh I can make a living selling to these people.  It's like Sally Fallon who you were interviewing.  She really saved the Amish in a lot of ways.  Because I don't know if you know that the Amish community because they farm so intensively and it's hand labor they're not using rototillers and combines and all of that.  It's because of the way they choose to live they farm in a very old fashioned way and they make no money at all.  Most of the Amish have been dumpster diving for years because they can't afford to sell what they grow for anything that is even comparable to a living.  So by making sure that they had a market for the product that was grown the way that they traditionally grew it, and saying I want to buy your food I like how you grow your food that's how I want my meat to be raised, that's how I want my eggs to come.  From chickens that are running around on the ground.  I'll buy your eggs.  I'll pay you a fair price for them.  What does it cost you to raise those eggs? OK, I'll buy them for a dollar more.  And so on.  Suddenly there's Amish able to make a living.  Same things true at our farmer's market.  I don't know how it is here in Illinois but we have farmer's markets seemingly every month or so.  We have a new farmer's market in California.  And there's enough farmers to staff them.  Because enough farmers are seeing that they can actually make a living doing that. Sure, some of them are weekend farmers.  Some of them are seasonal like my apple farmer just went away again until August because all he raises is apples and they're starting to bud and they're starting to set fruit but it's not going to be ready for harvest for a few months.  So he goes and does something else for a few months.  But then he'll come back in August and the money he makes in August through early June is what sustains him through the others and he can set out stock.  And that's what happens.  It's rather than just saying, no it's not possible.  Well let's see what is possible.  So I challenge anybody to give it a shot.  Say you love, pick a food you love and say I'm going to buy that at the farmer's market.  Everything else...sure it comes from Ralph's.  And then do one more.  And do one more.  It will involve people cooking.  You know I hate to tell people, it's like yeah you're going to have to cook.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  But you're going to feel better if you do at least some of your cooking.  And sure cook ahead.  Cook ahead stash it in the freezer.  Buy a couple of chickens at the market and roast them up and then you've got cold chicken and chicken salad for the rest of the week.  Again just that little bit of extra commitment and being willing to change our habits to in favor of us.  Because we can change our habits plenty of times.  When I got the iPad that was, oh my god this is so much fun.  And suddenly I found time to play with it that I didn't know I had.  So if you really want to it's not hard.  It's deciding that it's important enough that I want to put some time and effort into it.  I mean isn't it?  Isn't that part of where that comes from?

Big, corporate farms are taking over the industry, and the family farmer seems to be going away. Can this be reversed? Is there a way to know where your food comes from and know that it's organic and better for our overall health? That's the question Weston A. Price chapter leader Victoria Bloch answers.

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