7.11.2015

Food Issues Book Club - Sanitation and the Small Farm from Bringing It to the Table

Hello all!  Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and/or my own experiences.  Fun right?!  Check out previous installations here.  I'd love it if you'd read along and join in!  And now, without further ado...

Bringing It to the Table: Sanitation and the Small Farm, 1971

Summary:

Prudent adults once advised children to save nickles and dimes.  When one had acquired enough of these, a sow or cow could be purchased and a farm thus begun.  Today, "one must start [a farm] with a quarter of a million dollars.  What are the political implications of that economy?"

The cost is in part because new rules around "sanitation" consistently require new and costly equipment to implements.  These rules work against the small producer - not because they demand cleanliness, but due tot he methods by which they require that cleanliness to be obtained.  Changes made by government under the guise of "consumer protection" seem always to be at the disadvantage of both farmer and consumer, and to the advantage of agribusiness.  Such changes, then, must be looked upon with skepticism.

Thoughts:

Short chapter huh?   I don't think there's any argument here that sanitation on farms is a bad thing per se.  But there are definitely rules that make it harder for small producers; small producers, after all, are not generally the concern of the rulemakers.  The concept of "get big or get out" took hold in the 1970s and has never truly let go - unsurprisingly, I suppose, given how profitable it has been for agribusiness.

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