I had a different post planned for today. I was going to talk about how wonderful the sun feels and how all of us are just soaking it up. I was going to describe playing outside as a family and the anticipation of spring. I was going to tell you how the children have been singing about spring and summer for 3 days now and how glad I am that it looks like this winter will be different from the last (when we had significant snow fall on May 2!).
But I opened my inbox and was floored. Before I begin I have to say that this is not a political blog. I strive to stay in the positive, but sometimes I must speak. I belong to several yahoo groups that are devoted to local, nutrient dense foods. On one of them I read this
“I will also say that when it comes to our community supporting the Local Raw Milk Producers I think it would behoove as many of us here to throw some financial support to the Cindy & Gary H____ family, the Maiden Rock goat dairy. . . They have been clobbered with a back-breaking loss of their nanny goats due to being unable to feed and support them as well as they needed to be nourished. Nor could they afford medical care for their goats when they started dying of illness. By offering milk, yogurt and cheese to our community at a price below sustainability (all of it with 100% good-intentioned effort, of course) they are broke, and broken-hearted. There is no way they can continue their wonderful dairy unless something happens to intervene. They have supported “our community” with amazingly wholesome and delicious milk and cheeses for many years, and they have worked day and night to produce nutrient-dense food for us, now it would be a Godsend if our community could return the favor. I am donating my professional time and medicines to help, and help is in place now, but they still need money to rebuild their herd back up. In the past few weeks, they have lost 22 of their 30 milking nanny goats. This is the kind of farm family we so desperately need. Please help. Perhaps you would be able to buy them a female goat! emphasis mine.
Last fall I heard about another farmer that had worked for years to bring a specialty meat product to the market. It was amazing, but he could not sell it for a sustainable price and he had to sell off his herd and lost his farm to foreclosure. He is now living in an apartment.
Before you think I am so good at spending locally I have to admit that recently I purchased a bunch of cloth diapers on line. Someone had recommended a particular brand to me and the price was well below what I had been seeing. So I purchased enough for a good rotation. (I did purchase from a family owned boutique) but when I got the diapers I saw that they were made in China. While I feel good about supporting the family boutique I would have preferred a product that was more local but honestly I opted for price.
So I get it, times are tough, but it is so so discouraging to hear stories like the 2 above. They are not unique. My sister is also self employed and we were talking about how different it is from employment. One of the really negative things is you often feel like a beggar. But the fact of the matter is that our dollars all support something, and we need to think about what we want to support.
I was watching the film Bitter Seeds about how farmers in India are losing the ability to chose what seeds they grow and I was so thankful for the many choices we have in this country. But I am reminded without the support of the community buying all those seeds those companies would not stay in business. Yes if we want to have choices we need to support the companies and families that bring us those options. Please support local agriculture and businesses.