Recently in a Middleburg Eccentric article featuring Sandy Lerner founder to lots of things but most important to me Lerner has been a cutting edge force to bringing real food back to the table. The food we eat is critical to reducing risks associated with cancer.
The article opens up with a definition of agrarianism by Wendell Berry,author,poet,
2012 Jefferson lecturer and farmer that seemingly is a perfect fit for describing Lerner’s work :
There is another way to live and think: its called agrarianism. It is not so much a philosophy as a practice, an attitude, a loyalty, a passion—all based in close connection with the land. It results in a sound local economy in which producers and consumers are neighbors and in which nature herself becomes the standard for work and production.
In the article Lerner is quoted as saying “Farming is very hard work,” she says emphatically. “But my parents taught me to love hard work. That’s not the problem.
“The problem is that the American food system has been destroyed by big producers and big banks. If these changes had resulted in better food for us all, I’d applaud. Sadly, the opposite is true and we all know it.
“When I was in school, I took care of our cows on my aunt and uncle’s Northern California farm. I knew those cows well. I can still tell you what a cow is thinking from across the field.
“I did my homework sitting with those cows every day after school. They were kind and patient friends. We took very good care of them, and they, in turn, provided us with excellent food. It was a symbiotic relationship that served all involved. That is hardly the mega-agribusiness model that calls the tune today.”
“Agriculture has changed so much.. and not for the better… there is no longer a food system to support smaller farms in the US… 40 years ago there was a great food system in California… and all across the country. But as the concentration of banks occurred, and the Bechtels, Tysons, Cargills and their ilk bought up the small farms, slaughter-houses, local transportation systems, and processing plants, the food system was destroyed.
Years ago, according to the Middleburg Eccentric article Sandy recalls local bankers had available equity in their local farms, but as banks merged and the traditions of smaller institutions were subsumed, the rug was pulled out from under the local agricultural supply, production and distribution systems.
“I remember a time when my uncle’s Auburn banker would stop by our farm just to say hello and see how we were doing. Those days are long gone.”
Today, major universities are so dependent on large multinational seed, chemical, and agribusnesses for research funding, that small farmers have a difficult time gaining enough influence and leverage to promote their interests.
Readers can see more HERE.
To learn more about Sandy Lerner and Ayrshire Farm please click on this LINK.