The sustainable small farming community is a fairly tight knit one. The vast majority who are seeking to raise food ethically and sustainably, works just as hard promoting the movement as they do their own operation. Sadly there is the rare few who take it upon themselves to paint a negative picture of others. Recently on Facebook a farmer posted on his page a photo of another farm’s pastured poultry operation he obtained from a magazine article and challenged whether the picture accurately depicted a true pastured poultry operation. When called out for defaming this other farm, he insisted he was just seeking to educate consumers about what a “true” pasture based model should be. No matter if his opinion is an accurate one or he, he was committing what I consider to be a heinous act. He was painting a negative vision of another farm, that operates openly and transparently, without ever paying a visit. I fear that there will be a number of folks who take his word as fact without question.
I firmly believe that consumers themselves should take on the responsibility of meeting the farmer who grows their food. This is why local food is vital and consumers need to seek out as much within their immediate food shed as they can. “But I don’t have the time, resources, means to go all the way to Blufton or Good Hope or Rockmart or (fill in the blank).”#1. If that’s the only place the food is, yes you do. It’s a matter of priorities. If you want the best nutrition, you need to make the effort to meet the person who has dedicated his or her life to producing it. #2. There are resources to help locate nearby farms. Just Google Local Harvest or Eat Wild or look up your local Weston A. Price chapter.
So if you should hear a farmer criticizing another, don’t take his word for it, go see the farmer in question for yourself.