the omnivore’s delusion

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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5 Responses

  1. Very interesting topic. Since I do have a pretty strong opinion/background in this area, here’s my two cents:

    Yes, family farms are super-duper and a vital part of the American agrarian tradition. I grew up pulling tobacco and helping butcher hogs on lots of family farms since that’s the foundation of agriculture in KY. But for all their strengths and the warm and fuzzy feeling they give us, it’s the great big farms that feed us. And as the article you link to points out, a lot of those corn farms are family-owned and those guys get wood everytime Pioneer comes out with a new product (i’ve got a half-dozen hats from seed companies that say family farmers love some gentically engineered produce).

    I’ve said this a million times and it’s worth repeating again: ‘Legacy’ farmers that have been doing this for generations are controlled by one thing: what makes money. That dictates everything. If organic flax seed oil is suddenly the next best thing to diesel, they’ll start growing it. If people start demanding apples with brown spots and insect damage 2 to 1 over those tasteless by pretty Red Delicious…farmers will stop spraying the bejesus out of those trees with pesticides.

    Where the kind of innovation that makes yuppies happy is going on is on small farms usually run by first-generation farmers i.e. the Front Porchers. These people have no pre-conceived notions and have a completely different profit model. They’ll try anything and they often have a second income to allow them to operate at a loss or break even. I don’t know what the designations are in other states but here in the Bluegrass we call them hobby farmers. They’re mostly the ones that have booths at farmer’s markets and maybe sell a few case of organic tomato lime salsa to the local specialty grocery stores each month.

    The point I hope I am making is that agriculture is complicated and just like business there are all kinds of people involved.Report

  2. greginak says:

    This is not an issue i follow much nor is it a big concern of mine. The essay was generally good but I think the story about 4000 turkeys not knowing enough to come out of the rain and drowning by looking up is an urban myth/bs. I checked over at Snopes and they agree it is poo. so that makes me wonder about the rest of essay.Report