Why'd I switch to rural life? Quality of life. When we had kids and got a glimpse of what life would be like with daycare, two people commuting, etc, we got scared and made a plan. It's been 5 or 6 years and still enjoying selling expensive pasture fed eggs etc. I like working from home and having no childcare expenses. Everyone is happy and healthy and we have time to raise our kids.
I remember the limp office parties when we reached GA on some new release, and we'd eat cheap cake. Then I think of how we practically dance and shout at the sky in joy when we all finish digging up all the potatoes. The comparison is stark. Modern life is a dystopic hellscape from this perspective.
I grew up working on farms. It's not romantic to me in any way. Being outside is nice, but there's a reason the kids doing this grew up in suburbs and cities: they have no idea what agriculture really involves when you have to achieve economies of scale to make it remotely profitable.
I'll definitely echo this. I grew up on a farm / nature refuge in Australia. It's beautiful to go back to, but I could not live there again. My family hovers around the poverty line, work long, hard hours, and are completely at the mercy of the climate and other difficult to control external factors for their lively hood.
Combine this with the isolation, poor (or non-existent) community and education resources, complete void of cultural events and niche activities that require higher population densities. It's nowhere near as idyllic as most people make out.
I now live inner city. When it's nice weather I can drive an hour, go hiking, rock climbing or exploring. During day-to-day life I have everything I need within walking distance. I can live spontaneously. Myself and my partner are talking about children and I'm looking forward to raising them in a city where they can access whatever interests they like.
Once thing I will agree on though is: modern suburban life is a dystopic hellscape. It literally combines the worst of both lifestyles.
As an example: I'm living in what's definitely the suburbs (VA Beach), but within easy walking distance of the local coffee shop, groceries, my kids school, etc.
We don't have an HOA, but know a lot of our neighbors. I have a car, but don't use it much b/c of both location and that I work from home.
I like FPS games to. ;-)
If you're good at it you can make decent money but someone who's only worked desk jobs is not going to be good, at least not for a while.
Hell, I don't even have any pets because I travel frequently enough that they'd be a hassle. I can't imagine how I'd deal with an entire farm in these circumstances. I barely keep one houseplant alive as it is, not from lack of care when I'm home, but from lack of care when I'm gone.
In the case of e.g. cereal crops in the north, there are 4-6 months where you can do little beyond some maintenance, buying/selling equipment, planning next year's crop, etc. that means there is plenty of time for vacations. You are right that during seeding or harvest (especially), all bets for travel are off.
But, it is incorrect to imply that because you farm, you ought to kiss vacations good-bye.
Chickens are likely easiest, but on a scale to produce a living for a family, I don't think any type of farming or ranching is low effort or easy to step away from.
That seems to be what the article is about. The first case study is a vegetable farm, without any hint that they produce anything else. They are also industrial-scale, else they would be considered gardeners, not farmers.
Farming must be the last industry in the western world that has children working in it and it's seen as OK.
Kids in isolated tribes or areas are running away from their parents lifestyle as fast as possible. They don't see the beauty in the old ways and are unable to see the lies in modern cities, too much shiny.
Surely nothing is perfect but modern society has reached a point of diminishing returns IMO. Somatic and mental health issues, absurd jobs, absurd structures influenced by remote financial games; etc etc
Whenever I see some guy that bought a piece of land and fixed an old barn I get dreams. All I'd need a bit more mileage in ceramics and electronics so I can get just enough modern science, the rest is already there.
If an area can't bring in the tax dollars and other money to run the local economy, it degrades. When the only influx of anything is welfare dollars, how is that a beautiful way? It wasn't beautiful sixty years ago either. Stories of my parent's generation are similar stories of poverty and struggle and the occasional running away to live an almost comfortable life closer to the city. The "work ethic" often lauded by those who pine for these times seems to be the willingness to work far too much for far too little.
You’re assuming that the bulk of the market always has to be cheap commodity goods. But the idea behind the artisanal movement is that both sides of the market will change. More small producers will produce more high quality goods and more consumers will pay high prices to buy them. Both sides need to grow in synchrony.
Maybe you can argue the dominance of low quality commodity foods is inevitable. I’d love to see that argument.
Doesn’t change the fact that Apple is the most profitable firm.
I don't hold it against science and bio-tech for bringing high yield and disease resistant crops to market; that shit will help us feed the whole planet economically. Doesn't mean I can't also enjoy organic, non-altered food in my own home. I get annoyed with this attitude so many people have about these things, that somehow we can either feed the whole planet economically or have ritzy well-to-do people buy organic kale. We can do both very easily.
I suspect it's a "the grass is always greener in the neighbour's lawn... or in this case pasture" effect.
Intermittent sun exposure has also been blamed rather than frequent to promote tanning.
Lack of exercise and stress from indoor jobs may play a part as well in increased cancer risk in general.
debt can be viewed as another word for "relationship."
and it's cool in some ways, yet in other ways kind of a shame: debt from the United States is, to some degree, buying into the military-industrial complex. valuing China's money is, in part, condescending to a rather selective perspective on human rights. hopefully the guanxi flows to the best in each rather than the worst.
i don't pretend to understand the international economy. however, with the sort of logistics enabled by modern communications technology, i suspect that it's a lot more feasible to completely pack one large barge with a variety of goods than it used to be, making for lower-cost shipping than one might expect.
On a lighter note, check out this Canadian using a large backyard as a profitable farm: https://youtu.be/KO-OuqbR3EE
Here’s also a working Swedish homestead/farm (that’s being threated by the uncertainty of oil/mineral extraction): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7GkLSNBmds1DZit_oHk-Fg
I suspect these individuals will find something new to popularise and produce at high margin.
Well, no. They have no idea what it involves for that type of scale, but to say they have no idea at all (about their operating scale) seems to just show your hurt feelings about growing up that way.
Most of the hipster microgreen crowd aren't even making their money that way, they are making it by scamming other hipsters into trying to do that by acting like anyone can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling $10/pound lettuce to hipster restaurants. There's obviously a very limited number of restaurants in the "overcharge people for local food" market to sell to. But you don't need to do that crap. You can sell normal vegetables for a normal price to normal people and make a perfectly reasonable living.
>Once enough people do this, the prices fall and you're just another farmer, scraping by.
The reason most farms are "scraping by" is the same reason most restaurants fail, and most programmers can't handle fizzbuzz. Most people are simply incompetent, regardless of their occupation. Every farmer I see complaining about money is wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most of them are driving around in $80,000 pickup trucks while complaining about how poor they are.
>Being outside is nice, but there's a reason the kids doing this grew up in suburbs and cities: they have no idea what agriculture really involves when you have to achieve economies of scale to make it remotely profitable.
You don't have to achieve economies of scale to be remotely profitable. Not every farm has to be a corn+soybean rotation.
Can you elaborate on this? What exactly is the scam? How does the scam work?
I worry that with a young child, we'd still have childcare expenses - except that instead of paying with money, we'd be paying with our time.
My wife and I discovered, like many parents probably do, that raising a child is fucking hard. We love her, we wouldn't trade her for the world, and it's fun, but it's the kind of fun you have while camping, or hiking, or sparring. It's fun, but it's exhausting, and we would both be complete wrecks if we had to do it full-time.
Yes, that's called raising a child...
You don't pay income tax on your time. That's the advantage of doing yourself what you would otherwise pay for with after-tax income.
The work was hard beyond belief. To make the farm pay, he bought used farm equipment from farmers who failed, built his own buildings, mixed his own feed, and did well in marketing to find buyers.
He used USDA Extension advice and research on chicken breeding, nutrition, and disease control. When he started, progress in these three made chicken raising suddenly a hot field. But eventually the business mostly moved to the US South with warmer winters and cheaper labor.
He then was able to get a good job in the local county seat: He became the head of the local Rural Electric Membership Cooperative (REMC). In part he got that job because he was respected in the community from his participation in the church, the Bank BoD, Lions, the school board, etc.
For the land, he leased that year by year to someone with good, large scale equipment farming 1000 or so leased acres.
At one time, 90+% of the US population lived on farms. Now it's 10-%. Farmer productivity has made fantastic gains.
So, now, it's tough to make much money farming. One approach is specialized products for high end markets, maybe pheasants, ducks, goat cheese, mushrooms, etc.
There's a lot nice about farm living, but life can be nearly as nice in rural areas still near a town and with work not in farming. A good Internet connection can eliminate some of the effects of a lot of geographic distances.
I'm super burned out on software, and currently facing all the same concerns it sounds like you did before, it just frightens me the idea of being further removed (geographically) from the few family and friends we have left.
I did lose a great many friends whenever I moved from one place to another. Usually meeting up once-twice a month keeps the thread alive, but closest people will stay in touch online probably forever.
That being said, if you put some work into it, you will find new friends. This requires a mindset of getting involved in any open event that you're even slightly interested in. The bigger the town, the easier it seems to come across those.
In the other hand, talking to neighbors is easier when there's no one else around. I have an impression this creates a tighter knit community, where you can find new long-term friends.
This would probably happen in my case if I didn't relocate again :)
As a precaution against hitting a bad spell. Money in the bank is an excellent anti-dote against all kinds of mishaps.
1. Is money really a precaution? Why is money in the bank guaranteed safety from a bad spell? Can't the government take everything but 100k if they need to?
2. Why isn't having food production on site considered guaranteed safety against a bad spell? Between our savings and the food production on site we could survive in place for a decade. When we lived in a place-in-the-city working two jobs with all of our assets in a (few) mortgages we were two or three paycheques (or a bad tenant) away from losing everything. The bank had a lien on all of our assets, even though we were nominally a 1%er.
3. What can money really fix in a bad-spell? I mean, can you buy skills? Can you buy relationships? Those things have to be made. Nevermind that if the bad spell is actually bad for more than just you, money might not have the same value as it does.
But I will grant that money does have a lot of benefits too, which is why:
4. I have money in the bank... I mean, why are they mutually exclusive for you?
1. Yes, it is. Government will not take the money (and I don't buy any "omg inflation" arguments, since last crisis has actually in effect reduced inflation everywhere) and even if it does - if you cannot live through bad spell on 100k you have a problem.
2. Sounds like bad reserve managment i.e. missing "money in the bank". I haven't heard anyone recommending to go for mortgage with less than 6months reserve. And you had multiple mortgages with "two or three paycheques" in reserve? Seriously?
3. Money can almost always provide time (to heal, get a job, opportunity to choose less well paid job with more / flexible free time etc.), which can (for most people) be converted to relationships / skills. If you cannot make friends / learn new things given enough time, once again you have a problem.
> but honestly my bills are paid and I don't feel the need to make more money than I do right now. Why take on the stress?
Does not sound like you have money in the bank. Especially considering the tiny reserve (two or three paychecks is really ridiculously small, especially when you have multiple mortgages).
2. You're right, which is part of why we bailed on the situation while the real-estate market supported our exit and converting the assets into something real.
3. the time it buys you depends on it's value.
4. Zero mortgages right now actually. you're not a careful reader.
This is my fear about doing something like this. Boutique farming seems like it would similar to the oil industry in how especially sensitive it is to economic cyclicality. Having spent the past 5+ years farming surely complicates the process of getting a job in tech during a contraction.
I figure thing happening in food right now is not so much a trend. Food prices are artificially low by historical measures. As the subsidies granted by cheap oil-based fertilizers goes away and diesel-powered harvesting starts to be less cost-competitive, the prices will go back to historical norms. People want the industrial system to stop cutting the corners they have been (believe me they tell us) so we make profit from those who are ahead of the curve.
The way I look at it: normal food has been getting more expensive over the past 100 years and is now considered "boutique" by some. There has been a fad in cheap food that is starting to wind up as it is no longer possible to maintain. It's time to get in front of that before your food costs rise. More importantly it's time to start teaching kids how to do it too as they're going to really be in the post-climate-change world where viable solar-powered food is the most valuable thing to have a startup in.
I guess the big part of better lifestyle is just giving up on ambitions. You know that you are not building next billion dollar company and you also know that you are not going to buy new BMW every year anyway so there is no pressure in keeping with Jones.
We had excellent facilities, it always felt safe, and after school we roamed the town and bits of nature on our bicycles. I had like 6 tree houses I could visit, jump around tall hay bail forts, we even once dug a bunker on someones paddock next to the cemetery. The beach was no more than four streets away no matter where you were in the town, and you always had friends and family around the corner.
I am glad I left at 17, because once you have gone through school ambition takes you out into the greater world to explore. But I would never want to have grown up in the city.
Most of the benefits of the city are really only enjoyed once you are an adult anyway.
Perhaps rural towns are different now, I haven't been back since I left.
The fact that there are so few people means it's incredibly hard to share interests, and because you live in a rural shithole, the only interests people have are: drinking, drugs, driving around in the mud, and making fun of "different" people.
While I appreciate "small towns" allow you to "know everybody", that has it's own downside in the complete inability to have any privacy. I also hate thinking about all the possible opportunities I missed from growing up in a poor rural environment.
The problem is, as an adult, you don't want to leave the city with all it's cultural charms.
I believe you misspelled "opportunities for acquiring wealth" ;)
Being an outcast in a high school with a population of less than 400 isn't easy because most folks know everyone else.
What is the retirement plan for a farmer?
I really admire that you made something "useful" with Haskell! When you say you're making enough does that include savings for retirement? That's my biggest worry as someone who just started saving for retirement (I'm 27).
Hellscape, yes, but that hellscape also has funded your farm and that is something that I'd keep in mind. It is pretty big luxury to be able to (financially) go and live on the countryside, doing farming more as a lifestyle rather than means to livelihood.
This is a throwaway point in the article, but I think it's key to imagining a food system and economy that can support this kind of farm:
> Young farmers are also creating their own “food hubs,” allowing them to store, process and market food collectively, and supply grocery and restaurant chains at a price competitive with national suppliers.
Sure, monetary wealth from corporate desk jobs may be necessary to fund farms right now, but small farmers have a lot more power to shape our food system when they band together. Agricultural cooperatives have a long history in the United States  and may have a role to play in keeping the new crop of small farmers in business.
That's not to say I don't appreciate the outdoors and nature, I do immensely. I just think the whole 'gotta get away from it all' attitude is interesting because it's the exact opposite for me, what I guess could be described as the 'feeling of missing out'.
It's a personal choice, do what works for you.
Check this article out, it touches on how efficient farming can be, and I think it could be applied in a smaller scale.
Plus, all of the learned helplessness and ostensibly “incapable,” self-absorbed bullshit job people whom are disconnected from anything but a narrow specialty of bullshit... if food prices spiked for any reason, they’re boned.
> Then I think of how we practically dance and shout at the
> sky in joy when we all finish digging up all the potatoes.
As someone who works at a company that uses Drones to do NDVI, look into EVI. And getting a proper calibration plate, or a light sensor you understand, will allow you to make the results much more accurate.
I'm not familiar with EVI
Here's a blog post we made to explain the difference, the jist is NDVI can change throughout the day while EVI is more stable: https://skysquirrel.ca/2017/07/evi-vs-ndvi-whats-difference/
"The following spectral indices were examined: Difference Vegetation Index (DVI), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
(NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Difference Water Index (DWI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), Difference
Drought Index (DDI) and Normalized Difference Drought Index (NDDI). "
Have you toyed already with Sentinel-2 NDVI? There's a free API: https://scihub.copernicus.eu/twiki/do/view/SciHubWebPortal/A...
It would be interesting for instance to have a cron job warn you if the values get too low, etc.
Although tech in Belgium isn't as well paid/rockstar-ish as the rest of Western Europe, that's a bit much.
Where were you living, what were you earning?
I remember having a part time job.
All kidding aside, I can tell you aren’t American based on that statement alone.
I worked at that agency for four years and did perhaps two weekends of overtime. Bliss. It can be done, and in an agency environment with client expectations.
I'm still amazed at how cheap food is in the U.S. (though quality just isn't there for the most part).
Basically, talk to a knowledgeable farmer and you'll learn about a whole new world of struggles. Just about the only upside is increasing interest in local and/or organic products.
Farming has been a race to the bottom for a long time, and this is welcomed by people who want to see cheaper food at any cost. I'm sympathetic to that view, but when I watch the continued erosion of rural communities based around the erosion of farming as a living, I have to think we should do something. What will happen to those people? And what will we do when (or if) we take into account the enormous environmental costs of large-scale farming? You're not going to just get those family farms back, because unless you're raised on a farm you probably won't have an interest in farming.
In many places outside the US, the tomato breeds there are bred for flavor, not looks. They’re uglier, but they have a vastly higher sugar/fat/whatever content and taste much better.
I live in the Northeast. Around here practically every single person plants tomatoes if they have a backyard, even if they never plant any other vegetables ever. Chatting about how your tomatoes are doing and what type of tomatoes you are growing is a classic pasttime around these parts.
Of course the reason is there's nothing you can buy in the store that tastes like what you plant in your yard. I know quite a few people who don't like store tomatoes but like home-grown tomatoes.
It's quite fun being able to control acidity, sweetness, texture depending on when you pick them off vine.
Yes, and cost-effective long-haul transport-ability and long shelf-life.
I'm in Norway now. Same issue, only I've never found yummy summer tomatoes.
Many US states should be able to grow tomatoes like they do in Italy.
When it comes to food --and specifically fruits and vegetables-- visual aspect is not a good indicator of taste or nutrition value. I would actually argue the opposite.
Everyone is jumping on me about tomatoes, but Europe has the same bland greenhouse tomatoes in my experience.
Try any Mediterranean country (France is included in that btw).
You contradict yourself here. If they manage to find a niche in which they make a living, then they're doing fine. It doesn't make sense to grow corn when that portion of the market is already saturated.
"Farming is no way to make a living... I come from a farming community and family and for decades farming has only been affordable if you also had another full-time job."
Here's another way of thinking of it.
"Tech is no way to make a living. I'm glad that these people are finding success, but I come from a sysadmin community and family and for decades tech has only been affordable if you also had another full-time job. Although software dev for trendy websites might not be so bad."
Tech is broad. Even though tech support and sysadmins are doing poorly, other facets of tech are doing fine, making the phrase "Tech is no way to make a living" inaccurate. Just like saying "Farming is no way to make a living" can be inaccurate if there are still parts of the market largely profitable.
They are not selling just the product. Just like microbreweries, small farms sell for people who want more than just a beer or lettuce. They want to distinguish themselves and buy the feeling of authentic life and values. Consumer pays more for "small farm" even if the product is not any different from neighboring farm product that is not marketing itself as "small farm".
Modern consumer marketing sells identity, lifestyle, and values. There is no reason why small farm products can't create value from association and self–identification just like Pepsi is not selling sugar water or Nike is not selling sneakers. Everything that is sold using words classic, authentic, natural, original can be more expensive for segment who wants those tings.
Traditional farmers who produce standard grain or milk in bulk quantities are selling for different market segment.
More than this, I think there is a substantial portion of consumers who aren't as much attempting to distinguish themselves as they are realizing how important their dollar vote is.
Buying from a small or local farm keeps money circulating locally (ideally). When there is a community of local businesses, this becomes amplified.
It's the primary reason why the whole "farm to table" concept with restaurants caught on. By choosing to eat at a diner that gets their eggs from a local farm, rather than, say, buying a breakfast sandwich from McDonalds, you're not only supporting the local restaurant, but also the local farmer.
So while there is certainly an appeal (not exclusively, either) to purchasing something labeled as classic, authentic, natural or original, there's a less selfish reasoning tied to the root of it.
An interesting part of this is the way primarily Liberal-metro local/organic movements have been ignored as a common ground, and even mocked as purely an aesthetic, by the "anti-globalists".
I understand the sentiment and intuitive reasoning behind this argument (I find myself thinking it every week when I go to the local farmers' market!), but is there evidence that "buying local" actually increases the local standard of living?
And a followup: if it does increase the local standard of living, would this behavior, if duplicated in all communities in the world, increase the average standard of living in the world?
Some conflicting (and probably all wrong) intuitions I have for different sides of these questions:
The notion of keeping money circulating locally makes sense. If money is a sort of proxy for productivity, then money leaving the community is productivity leaving the community.
If I pay more for Local Larry's eggs and Down-the-road Dave's cabbage (etc.), then to maintain my standard of living at a constant level, I have to charge more for whatever service I provide the community. And recursively, everyone else has to as well. It seems like, at best, we just wind up at the same standard of living we started at (and at worst, lower).
If money is a proxy for productivity, and buying non-local means trading productivity to some large corporation in exchange for some good or service, and that corporation will disproportionately funnel that money to the already-wealthy who can afford to save that money (productivity) for a rainy day, then we have effectively contributed to removing productivity from the economy.
These are difficult numbers to work out exactly, but it's not difficult to see that they have to be in a pretty thigh range for your local-premium to actually, on the net, drain resources from the community, compared to you just eating cheaper meals a bit more frequently. The main type of input that most obviously support the local community is labor, and most modern products, particularly agriculturally, are rather light on labor, so you might end up supporting one job at the farm in favor of three jobs at the diner. Especially if the farm-job is held by a "highly educated, ex-urban, first-time farmer" and the diner-jobs by single moms, it's getting morally quite dubious.
But to wrap this up, local to non-local is rarely apples to apples. Just as with organic, there's probably a very substantial overlap with meeting a demand for products that are simply better (and thus more expensive), with the nominal quality (local, organic) actually being secondary.
I agree with the gist of what you're saying, but I think you're leaving out some details.
We know that other non-local products can be made cheaper because they are in localities that are lax on labor laws and environmental protection.
So the notion that it's simply about efficiency is in my opinion a bit reductionistic. As an example, to make my point... I would use a different word than "efficiency" to describe someone who uses slave-labor to push costs down.
So when buying local, at least you know which standards the producers are held to. It's the same with Bio/Organic/Free-trade products.
That can be a factor, but simply making things in bulk is a huge efficiency gain even with the exact same worker/environment protection.
And on top of that you have transportation efficiency to take into account. A remote farm can send full trailers of product to a distribution center, which then sends full trailers carrying multiple products to stores. A local farm can't send a full trailer of apples to a local store, it has to do much less efficient things.
Evolution is perhaps the best example of how being inefficient can be hugely beneficial in the long term.
By comparison, "just-in-time" shipping is an example where the efficiency removes those margins. But that's orthogonal to how far the food ships. You can have similar-sized buffers either way.
I suppose that it's true about the large numbers of trucks, but wouldn't those only be reallocated to the detriment of providing other goods? And what happens to all our excess flexibility if severe oil shortages come to pass?
Looking closer to the origin,the centralized model leaves us more susceptible to local droughts and floods (because everyone's produce comes from Salinas and watsonville), infectious diseases in livestock herds, and fungus that can cripple the entire crop of a particular fruit (because we've reduced the number of varieties by nine tenths or ninety nine hundredths.)
I agree, but certain types of dependencies are much riskier than others.
> I suppose that it's true about the large numbers of trucks, but wouldn't those only be reallocated to the detriment of providing other goods?
Yes, but what's the detriment of emergency-increasing local shipping? Probably at least as bad.
> And what happens to all our excess flexibility if severe oil shortages come to pass?
Local shipping takes more oil in many cases.
> Looking closer to the origin,the centralized model leaves us more susceptible to local droughts and floods (because everyone's produce comes from Salinas and watsonville), infectious diseases in livestock herds
Instead of a major shortage leading to deaths in one area, while everyone else is fine, it turns into a slight supply reduction over the entire country.
> fungus that can cripple the entire crop of a particular fruit (because we've reduced the number of varieties by nine tenths or ninety nine hundredths.)
That is definitely a major problem, but is also unrelated to how far you ship. Megafarms could plant 50 kinds of tomato efficiently, if they wanted to.
I am unaware of such studies for small farms versus large farms.
The kind of buying local that you need campaigns to encourage people to do, is generally either more expensive or poorer quality than the non-local alternative.
Susan Steed, one of the co-founders of the Brixton Pound explains a bit more in this TEDx video 
For example, assume Facebook replaces a local competitor. Now instead of the profit going to owners, which spend it locally, on philanthropic projects, or just high quality goods, instead it goes to Mark Zuckerberg, who spends it in the US, on US brands, and to fund US charities, in best case.
If you currently live outside the US, outside SV and NYC, you’d very likely gain an advantage if everyone would buy local. The skyscrapers of NYC, and the philanthropic projects in these regions of the US, are funded with money that was extracted all over the globe, but will probably never leave the US again.
Of course, nobody is getting rich from this, but there are many of us making a very decent living.
If for any reason, you truly value your neighbourhood chicken farmer Bob's livelihood though, there's no better means of buying Bob's well-being than giving money straight to Bob.
You would have to reimagine the idea of "a high standard of living" to include the comfort of knowing that Bob's well-being is sustained.
Of course it would be at the cost of excluding the welfare of people outside of your monkeysphere.
Anti-local: a perfectly functioning market doesn't have those problems
It's basically protectionism with all the same arguments for and against. Less economically optimal, but protects you from market malfunction and bad actors.
I can't imagine many people are thinking "Screw local farmers, I want Tyson Chicken Nuggets!". That might be a bad example but the point is that cost is probably the bigger factor here, not politics or lifestyle or even taste.
There is very much doubt about that. Stanford (IIRC) did a study and no one could tell the difference.
People always use this as an insult, but how cool would it be if fast/processed food providers had actually found a way to make eggs/chicken/beef/etc artificially? It's been an area of active research with decades of failed attempts to show for it. Achieving fast-food level quality would be a huge step forward.
For comparison (from the same figure) pork is 9%, chickens raised for meat are 13%, cow production of milk is 17%, and cows raised for beef are 3% efficient.
You feel that way, but all evidence says otherwise.
>and an objective measure that correlates well with this - namely, the thickness of the collagen sheath just underneath the shell
Measuring that is objective, but there is no evidence it correlates with taste at all.
>(eggs being single cells.)
I honestly don't know how to say this nicely. You expect people to take your pseudo-scientific nonsense seriously when posting things like this that clearly show you don't know the most basic facts on the subject? A bird egg is not a single cell. The ovum is a single cell, and is a tiny spec on the surface of the yolk. The yolk, the white and the membranes are all not part of the single cell ovum.
>It's an excellent correlate of the overall health and nutritional value of the egg.
Show us the evidence. That is an easily proven objective claim, so where's the evidence?
Science isn't whatever meets your expectations. While the egg isn't functioning as one big working cell, it's not made of cells, it is what became of just one cell. More here if you want the discussion.
As for what healthy eggs looked like, I'm guessing you haven't spent much time on a farm. The fragile, rather sickly eggs you're so used to buying now were unknown on farms fifty years ago, when I was younger.
Do these contribute additional cells to the egg that must be counted?
So any taste test that doesn't find a difference between eggs isn't testing the right eggs.
There's plenty of scientific evidence for this based on wine studies, but on a personal level, the tongue map myth is the one that gets me. It was taught in science class as true, and we did (non-blind) experiments to measure the effect, but we failed to conclude the effect didn't exist.
True, but after being served backyard vs. store eggs without being told which is which, or which feed type was in use, or that anything had changed at all, and still noticing a difference, I am confident that it is possible for the flavor of eggs to vary.
At the same time, that's an incredibly stupid argument to use to dismiss what is being done. The positive effects you mention happen regardless of the motivation of the individuals, and the people that start these trends seem to be the ones who really care.
i also find it ironic that in many cases of debating this issue I find that those of us who consider "organic" to be the lowest-baseline quality are literally deploying capitalist principles by voting with our dollars, even thought my foodie kin tend to be super liberal, because the opposition attempts to claim the libertarian mantle in these scenarios.
I guess you could spin it to describe it as a lifestyle choice - my boring, middle-aged lifestyle. Like, my ‘I buy costco toilet paper’ lifestyle. That seems like a stretch. Or, maybe not.
Also watch "Raise the Steaks" episode of King of the Hill.
But farm to table restaurants are willing to pay a premium for a steady local supply. Some people are willing to pay a premium for organic and non-GMO produce.
The small farmer is able to do something the larger farmer is unable or unwilling to do and receives a much higher price for it.
Small farms are exploding in Detroit. But they're having a problem getting title to the land they're farming.
The things you say here seem like you are ABSOLUTELY buying a lifestyle here. ie. values for how animals should be treated, values for supporting families and values for "not shitting on everyones future" are very much lifestyle choices imo.
Personally, the notion that we're taking a chicken raised in conditions "bad" for the chicken and for the quality of the product is just offensive and bad for everyone in the economic chain, save the big company. In a farming environment managed by a modern day tenant farmer, shipping it to China or some place in South Dakota to be butchered by exploited immigrants, and shipping it back in a cryovac to save $1.50/lb.
Or I can pay a little more, an amount that is negligible in my budget, for a bird raised, slaughtered and packed within 50 miles of my home, by farmers who are working for themselves, by a butcher whose work isn't going to debilitate him and leave him in poverty later, and a retailer in my city who is a part of my community.
This is one of these areas where I agree with the conservative ideal of markets picking winners and losers, which never works out in practice. When you consider how we destroyed regional vegetable industries by having the government spend billions to turn the California desert into an eden of industrial agriculture, or how we allowed nasty people to transform cattle ranching and butchering from solid middle class professions to a feudal/industrial nightmare with trillions of externalized costs, it's just awful. It's not how the market should work.
2 things though:
- taste. The difference is real
- and while I think this is a lifestyle thing I'd say that word has different connotations
If your theory cannot explain a behaviour you can add an imaginary product called "lifestyle" to the equation and stick with your flawed theory.
I applaud the sentiment, but do small farm cows, loved like they are part of the family actually do less damage to the environment? Is factory farming doing something that makes factory cows produce more methane?
I also disagree he is not buying a lifestyle for himself. Non pasteurized milk is ABSOLUTELY better tasting. So he is purchasing a luxury item, which is the definition of lifestyle buying. It may be ethical, and but its still tasty.
Why does it matter? If both methods do equal damage to the environment and one doesnt torture animals, I still see the one that doesnt torture animals as superior.
Unequivocally yes,by increasing the number of cows as a result of their being more affordable.
Are you leading a lifestyle that goes contrary to your ideals and principles? Isn't that a rather depressing and dishonest way to live? Why would you want to live like that?
Sure, not everybody can "afford" to live by the ideals/principles they ascribed to, depending on what these might be, but that's not a choice by those people, it's a choice made for them by their circumstances.
If they had an actual free choice, I'm pretty certain the vast majority of people would prefer a lifestyle matching their principles and ideals, instead of being stuck in a place where they have to throw their principles and ideals overboard just to get along.
> Strange that you don't see the difference.
Even stranger that you didn't try to explain that difference, which leaves the rest of us wondering what you are actually trying to allude to.
I've found that many people now seem to prefer 'ill just be snarky to my fellow man with zero content whatsoever' as their primary means of communication unfortunately. :(
"animals that are loved like family"
"helping [small farmers] make a living doing something that is good for everyone"
"supporting people who aren't shitting on everyone's future."
These are all lifestyle choices. You make your purchase not just because of the product but because of your identity, feelings, and values. If there were an identical product produced by a big company using factory farming methods it would be less appealing to you. That's not a bad thing and I don't make a judgment about it, everyone has lifestyle reasons for some of their purchases, it's just a fact.
Just like how probably half (or more) of the beer I consume is from the brewery down the street. If they are releasing a new beer I'm going to be there, either on release day or the day after if I'm busy. This is not only because the beer is good, the prices are on par with similar beers, and the location convenient but:
-I like supporting local independently owned business. I believe that to be virtuous in and of itself.
-The owners and staff are really nice and they all know me by name.
-The owners and brewer take time to come up front and say hi and chat when they see me. We talk about what's new in life.
-Their presence helps keep my property value high and my neighborhood characteristic.
My purchase makes me feel good and feel like I'm helping a friend out rather than just consuming a product I enjoy.
If those lifestyle factors weren't there I'd probably vary my purchases more and buy their beer only a couple times a year.
I think it's the other way around. A product can have such good marketing that it gives the illusion of identity, feelings, and values - for example, fair trade coffee.
What you talked about is the whole point of good marketing -- to allow people who are not already customers make the connection to products they should be buying.
The purchase is still made at least partly because of the purchaser's identity, feelings, and values. It doesn't matter if the traits in question are all marketing or objective.
Words you are using: proud , helping, doing good, supporting. These are all values that form the basis for your lifestyle.
ps. non-pasteurized milk aka raw milk is not healthier and it's less safe. It's organic-natural consumer fad.
> Do I need to do a blind test to confirm that?
Why not, go ahead, you might be surprised with the result.
I do know that I like non-homogenized milk better. (But that's a different process.)
It's helped my in my efforts to lose weight an improve my family's health. When you pay more for better product, whether it be milk or chicken or beef or vegetables, you eat less and utilize it more. Instead of seeking bulk, we chase flavor and quality.
That strategy works equally well for any product, not just "better" product.
If all dairy cows were treated exactly the same as the cows you're getting milk from, would milk be sufficiently plentiful and affordable for everyone to be able to get milk?
If you really want something that's better for cows and the environment, why not just drink soy milk (or any of a pretty big variety of milk that doesn't come from cows)?
I can see memories of hunger and war in our collective behaviour and also shaping my family, and wealth including being able to afford to eat whatever whenever cushions that a bit. In Europe, the grandparent generation that grew up with the war and the following hunger years is still alive.
(1). Is there any scientifically sound study proving that the quality of protein from plant sources is equivalent to or better than from dairy products?
(2). Is there any reproducible, quantitative data on leaving milk producing cows to fend for themselves vs caring for them in small -to- mid size "cow caring" setups (farms, one-cow ops etc.)? I ask this because both my maternal and paternal grandparents had 1 to 3 milk producing cows at any given point in time - from what I recall, they were well cared for (food, medicine, weather etc.)
(3). If we, as a species, were to stop consuming dairy products today, or cut consumption by, say 90% over the next year, what would become of the current cow population? How is that better than the current situation for the animals?
I am personally, utterly and deeply biased towards the survive-and-let-survive school of life --- so take what I say colored by my very, very, un-apologetically biased PoV.
You can look up Peter Singer and Yuval Noah Harari to start with and read what they have written about this. I mention them because they write well and mainly stick to scientifically supported ideas.
I haven't decided where I stand on the issues yet, but with a little research it has become apparent that you can have a very healthy diet without any protein form animals.
I've also discovered that more and more philosophers, ethicists, biologists etc, are starting to make the argument that our factory farming of animals may be the the worst crime in human history.
The modern “factory farming” is not something I care to defend for any intent or purpose. It may as well disappear tomorrow, as far as I am concerned.
However, I still see no argument against deeply caring domestication of a small number/herd of animals, providing them food, shelter and care in exchange for milk or unfertilized eggs. Can’t seem to find a convincing argument against that in my current ethics framework.
IIRC My dad told me it was more about the homogenization part than a the pasteurization part (which is good because it means you can get milk that tastes well totally without risk.)
That said: I'd drink fresh unprocessed milk again without hesitation as long as I know the farmer.
I feel that if I was going to buy raw milk from a very small scale operation that I would want to personally see their operation. You have to ensure that the farmers milking are really paying attention to what they're doing. I've had some particularly nasty food poisoning in my life, one instance of which landed me in the ER and had me on a quasi quarantine watch by the county CDC, in fact, and so I don't really play around with my food too much. Milk is a tough one because a healthy cow can become a sick cow overnight. It's also made more challenging by the daily goings-ons with the milking process.
Having said all of that, my wife and I buy raw milk from a mid-scale creamery in Los Angeles, near where my wife grew up, whenever we are in the area. I've never really had much concern over it, because this creamery has been in operation for many decades and is quite reputable, but we are also well aware of the risk.
People forget we pasteurize for a reason.
At least that's how it worked in new Hampshire about 10 years ago.
Source goes to jail.
An state level overview is here: http://www.realrawmilkfacts.com/raw-milk-regulations but certain local jurisdictions within each state may further limit sales.
What about the calves that are taken away from their mothers (and mothers that have their calves taken from them) for that fucking good milk?
It isn't about the cow, it is about the babies those cows must have to be able to lactate. They are chained up or crated and then killed.
Some posters don’t believe there is any difference between eggs from a small farm where the chickens roam the yard eating naturally and Tyson sized operations where they are all cooped in a mountain together.
Ethics of the two approaches aside I grew up in a small farm town in Kansas. I’ve eaten eggs straight out of the chicken my entire life. They not only taste better they last longer too. I can take freshly laid eggs and put them in a dark coolish place like my basement on a shelf and they will last well over a month. Do that with store bought eggs. I dare you
Another example is raw milk. If you’ve ever had raw milk and then bought store bought milk it’s shocking how different in taste, mouth feel, and richness there is. Raw milk is flavorful, slightly off white from the grass diet, rich from a lot of cream and if you compare that to milk at the store which is watery, chalk colored, sweetened with sugar, and lacks any cream.
It’s night and day. One is healthy for you the other is watered down, profit maximized chalk water.
There is a big difference in veg as well. So for those posters to say there is no real difference clearly have never eaten on a farm. There is a noticeable and large difference in quality, taste, smell, longevity, and nutrition between small farm non gmo and organic produce and dairy and store bought garbage.
The only reason this is true is that commercial eggs in the US are typically washed, which removes the protective impermeable membrane that both covers the egg and makes it look a little icky. In many jurisdictions is is a legal requirement.
In Europe/pretty much anywhere else in the world there are stacks of factory produced eggs sitting out on the floor/counter.
Anywhere else in the world would take your dare any time since that's exactly what they currently do :)
> There is a big difference in veg as well. So for those posters to say there is no real difference clearly have never eaten on a farm.
Grew up on/around farms as well. My parents are organic vegetable farmers.
Blind taste tests prove the difference is highly variable. Some items (tomatoes in particular) are quite obvious, other items you can tell no difference.
Isn't that because milk at the store has been homogenized?
I buy at the farmer market because it's great to know the people who produce the food I eat.
Look up Justin Rhodes on YouTube or Joel Salatin.
Small holding is profitable once you get over the hump and get customers
A closed loop farming ecosystem where plants filter water and fish fertilize plants. There's a lot piping and artificial structure to facilitate this type of environment but the control system is largely self regulating, there is less need for a computer to intervene, although it wouldn't hurt.
In my research, aquaponics is the most nutrient dense farming system available. My eventual goal is to produce a farming system that can live on a single typical suburban property, function with minimal care and produce enough yield to feed a single family. That's right, Fish and veggies on my plate from my farm, daily.
The openAg platform seems great, however to make it fit with aquaponics it would need pH control system and a separate tank for fish.