"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." — E.B. White

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Death of a Farm, NY Times article

Well, I've been so busy on our small crazy farm that I haven't had time to post...
 But sadly this NY Times article, forwarded by a friend, grabbed my attention and motivated me!
Stiffly, I'll crawl up on my soapbox...
Factory farms are killing our bodies AND countryside.
WE do NEED to speak with our buying habits, not just wish 'em away.
Big Ag mono-culture does not work well with mother nature...
So Big Ag pulls out big guns.
Most small farms offer great diversity and enrich their communities.
They use more labor and fewer chemicals.
And it ain't easy...
Go check one out for some farm fresh fun!
um, k, stiffly stepping down now...

Death of a Farm


"Farms go out of business for many reasons, but few farms do merely because the soil has failed. That is the miracle of farming. If you care for the soil, it will last — and yield — nearly forever. America is such a young country that we have barely tested that. For most of our history, there has been new land to farm, and we still farm as though there always will be.

Still, there are some very old farms out there. The oldest is the Tuttle farm, near Dover, N.H., which is also one of the oldest business enterprises in America. It made the news last week because its owner — a lineal descendant of John Tuttle, the original settler — has decided to go out of business. It was founded in 1632. I hear its sweet corn is legendary.

The year 1632 is unimaginably distant. In 1632, Galileo was still publishing, and John Locke was born. There were perhaps 10,000 colonists in all of America, only a few hundred of them in New Hampshire. The Tuttle acres, then, would have seemed almost as surrounded as they do in 2010, but by forest instead of highways and houses.

It was a precarious operation at the start — as all farming was in the new colonies—and it became precarious enough again in these past few years to peter out at last. The land is protected by a conservation easement so it can’t be developed, but no one knows whether the next owner will farm it.

In a letter on their Web site, the Tuttles cite “exhaustion of resources” as the reason to sell the farm. The exhausted resources they list include bodies, minds, hearts, imagination, equipment, machinery and finances. They do not mention soil, which has been renewed and redeemed repeatedly. It’s as though the parishioners of the First Parish Church in nearby Dover — erected nearly 200 years later, in 1829 — had rebuilt the structure on the same spot every few years.

It is too simple to say, as the Tuttles have, that the recession killed a farm that had survived for nearly 400 years. What killed it was the economic structure of food production. Each year it has become harder for family farms to compete with industrial scale agriculture — heavily subsidized by the government — underselling them at every turn. In a system committed to the health of farms and their integration with local communities, the result would have been different. In 1632, and for many years after, the Tuttle farm was a necessity. In 2010, it is suddenly superfluous, or so we like to pretend."

This beautiful farm (including the barn pictured at the very top of my post) is lovingly maintained and proudly bears a sign stating that it is a Maryland Century Farm. That means it's been in their family for a minimum of a hundred years. We are so appreciative of all they do to keep it a part of our community!

Below are a few pics from our farm. The previous owners bought it to bulldoze and subdivide. Thank the Lord they couldn't get approval. It's now in a land/farm preservation program and The Farmer and I pray that it will stay in our family through another generation...

If you liked these pictures and want to enjoy similar scenes near you I encourage you to please, explore the links below and buy at least one product from your local Farmers Market.  Please?
This week!



"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him." 
~Abraham Lincoln


MamaMonki said...

Beautiful entry. I hate buying produce at the grocery store. Whenever I can I go to the Farmer's Market or a little Farm Stand outside of our town. The food just tastes better and I know it's healthier for my Little Man.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

What a timely post. I would love to have a farm..it is my dream, but that is where it will probably stay. Our property taxes are so unreal that I can't imagine being able to own one.
Yesterday we went to the farmers market...what was sad is I would have loved to buy all my produce and beef from our local farms, however, our financial situation will not allow it. Beef was $15.00 a pound, chicken was four times what I pay at the grocery store...peaches were 5 times what it cost me to go to the store and that is even if I pick them...I walked away in tears, because I couldn't feed my family if this was the only choose.
I don't want the farms to leave and I would like to grow my own food...and yet I can't afford to support the local growers...for me this is sad! I don't have the answers...
I pray blessing on your endeavor..I think the environment your children are growing up in is just wonderful...and truly a dream for me!

Vintage Country Girl said...

I'm with ya baby! Have you ever read the book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. If not, you must. It got me all fired up (in a good way) the first time I read it, and I've read it again since.
I hear what you're saying. If I could just stay at home and sell my brown eggs, and make preserves, etc. and sell my vegetables from my garden, and make a profit, that would make me very happy. I am lucky to live surrounded my my relatives who run a dairy farm, and we live on land owned by them, but it has not been a good life for dairy lately either. Where exactly do people think food comes from anyway... the grocery store?

Anonymous said...

Such a great post and I just wish people would understand where the food comes from. I love to purchase from the Farmers Market and I see a lot of people doing so when I am there. You usually have to get there early to get what you want.

Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun said...

I can sure relate about the struggle to pay more than you might at the grocery chains! We too are on a very tight budget lately. My compromise is to try to support any other than the big companies, any way & any how... Often that just means shopping smaller family stores who grow or buy more locally.

No matter what, I refuse to buy factory raised meats w/antibiotics. Even my low cost chain has vegan fed, antibiotic free chicken for 99 cents a pound on special. We eat venison and frozen wild salmon too. Craiglist often has affordable local grass fed meats, local eggs etc. in their farm n garden posts! Try bartering too!

Right now we buy from neighbors selling from their gardens and grow our own too. It's amazing what you can grow organically and cheap in a very small space! Freeze or can leftovers. Make it a resolution to start your own next spring. But fall crops can still go in and more down south... :-)

Try going to a farmers market and just buying one special item. There ARE bargains at every market if you look around. Especially if you compliment them and share your story! ;-)

Make it a priority and you will find an affordable way. And be healthier. And help others struggling to keep their homes. REALLY!

Lori said...

YES! YES! YES! Great post!!

These Nine Acres said...

I love buying local produce! Heartbreaking what these factory farms are doing to the family farms. Thanks for the post!

Jayme, The Coop Keeper said...

You'll be happy to know that I visit the Farmer's Market a couple of times a week! I had just read about the Tuttle farm on Facebook last night, broke my heart. I'm so pulling the Squirrel to your place! It looks wonderful.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I have been trying to email you...I hope you got it.
I found this little book the other day at the used book store and thought your little ones would probably love it...it is great.
My Garden - Louise Murphy
It is a monthly journal about gardening...it is great!

Lady Farmer said...

What a great post, Leslie! So sad to be losing the backbone of America! I do try to do my part, as finances and availability allow. I grew up on a very small family farm and our farm was behind a larger dairy farm. Both are gone now, sadly. But I do continue on my quest to live close to the earth, however small that may be. I have recently found a dairy farm (two hours away!) that delivers raw Jersey milk to our area. How grand to once again experience that fresh from the cow goodness and making my own butter again! Would that every child could learn where milk really comes from (and the joy of growing up on a farm!) What a different world we would be just from that small act!
I'll step down from my soapbox now, too!