Organic Farming

I was struck by the author’s concept of “farmers’ markets as a political tool to address agricultural issues” and the various kinds of markets described. I can see how some of the markets would accomplish this better than others, particularly the ones that are temporary and mobile. I was unclear about the distinction between produce and “processed” foods, since most of the examples given were of prepared foods being sold by chefs. I was also struck by the disparagement of “tourists,” since I have been one of these in most every city I have visited. While I have never traveled to one on a bus, I wondered if my attendance was an undue burden. The information in Chapter 7 was wide-ranging. The comparison statistics on women in agriculture vs law and medicine seemed obvious to me as a matter of dollars and cents. Not many young men are going into farming either. The controversy over GMO seeds shed some light on Hawaii’s historical over-reliance on large-scale agricultural objectives. The state Farm Bureau even elected a GMO company executive as its leader. The writing by Michelle Galimba read like a love letter to her ranch. In it she emphasized the foundation of community, as well as the overwhelming importance of local and chefs and food writers to the sustainability of her family’s ranch. I absolutely agree with this analysis. She also pointed out the differences between supermarket and farmers’ market transactions, but sometimes I think this is idealized. The readings concluded with volunteer tourism, calling it “civic agriculture.” These volunteer opportunities are marketed widely, and offer an appealing notion to some people. But her inclusion of the larger, more successful operations that do not rely on volunteers seemed a clear indication that farming depends on a trained, dedicated workforce.

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