One of the assumptions used as a big rock to destroy any discussion of agriculture done right vs. industrial crap food production is that industrial crap food is more efficiently produced—and by golly these are the times when labor has been devalued, when cheap calories are in great demand and we can’t afford to go back to the medieval days of agriculture for food for the people you know because “we need that tasteless stuff because it’s cheap and we can’t afford food that tastes like it used to taste.”
I’ve always wondered about this, especially when I’m in Tuscany, where there are many real farms actually producing food for people instead of propellant for cars. Like the statement I’ve been hearing all too much lately, “American health care is the best in the world” (and it must be beacause it’s sooooo expensive), I’m wondering if there’s any truth at all to these presumed “facts.”
In Fixing our Global Food System, Peter Rosset writes:
Just as troubling is the technology that agribusiness uses: heavy machinery, mega-irrigation, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, GMOs, and chemical fertilizers. This monoculture technology actually produces far less per hectare than does diversified small farm agriculture, and in the process destroys the productive capacity of the land.
Unlike the wild claims made by the ever-bloating industrial crap food industry, this particular claim is footnoted. Yes, it’s real, and it’s answered lots of questions I’ve had about the corn in Illinois vs. the corn in Piano di Collecchia, Italy.
Chew on this:
In contrast to agribusiness, family farmers and peasants typically do produce food for local and national markets. In country after country, the proportion of food coming from the small farm sector is far greater than—typically more than double—the proportion of land that is actually in the hands of small farmers.