What if ‘local’ was the norm?
Although we believe we have the best small farm tractor in the world, this blog is not about tractors. It’s about people. It’s about seeing the world through the eyes of farmers, processors, distributors, and consumers from all walks of life. It’s about understanding how and why the modern system of food production and distribution is leaving ordinary people behind. And most importantly, it is about becoming strategically-aligned towards an ultimate purpose: a food system that spreads real health and wealth to every corner of every rural hamlet and every urban neighborhood.
As more and more people have experienced the nutritional and social benefit of local, fresh food, it has come to be a major topic of discussion. Despite its profound potential to improve the lives of millions, however, we have yet to see it become truly available for most people in most communities. In Northern Alabama, for example, 92% of all food dollars go to producers based in other states and countries. That number is even greater in rural areas. The majority of the nation’s fruit production is in one state — California. Over half the nation’s vegetable production comes from just five states. This state of the art distribution system is designed for large-scale production and national retail giants. It leaves very little room for the small grower or independent retailer.
If the need for local food production is so great, and the benefits so obvious, then what has prevented it from blossoming on a grand scale? This is the principle question we must answer before moving forward. Our goal is to gather input from as many producers and consumers within the supply chain to understand what precisely is stifling the exponential growth of local and regional food systems.
This blog is about finding a way forward, together. A belief that underpins our mission is that local production of sustenance cultivates communities that are profoundly richer in all sorts of ways. Although local food economies have not typically succeeded in creating products that are equally enjoyed regardless of income bracket, it is easily observed that communities which have such economies do tend to have particularly vibrant cultures. This blog, therefore, also strives to observe and better understand the interactions between healthy food and healthy culture.
So consider this a formal invitation to get involved with our mission, which needs every honest perspective available! Let’s use this blog to meet one another, discuss these big questions, and re-envision better models of the local economy.