Online farming? Well, holistic systems thrive on big data. Know the who, what, when, where, and why before you design. This talk by Erin Baumgartner illustrates the inefficient design of many “modern” systems of distribution, as well as the cost of focusing on profit, rather than quality and human impact.
Holistic thrives on local, grass roots, and regeneration, to name a few. EEC Forest Stewardship not only stewards forest for long term canopy restoration, but also works the land agriculturally, using livestock and perennial plantings to enhance fertility and diversity on the landscape. We think globally and act locally by selling directly to consumers, and making sure out food is cost effective for us, and our patrons. We do the raising, slaughtering, and butchering on site, eliminating costly industrial processing, expensive packaging, and feed lots. Our animals are relaxed, never experiencing the stress of transport or strange handlers in a frightening slaughterhouse.
We raise only what the land can support, choosing ecology over profit. Raising a smaller flock of sheep keeps the farmer less stressed too. The animals themselves are grateful to have enough space to be animals in, with a safe number in the herd to allow security without cramping, which would lead to more stress. It’s not a model of production at all, not in the industrial sense, but enough to pay for its self, provide safe, healthy food, and regenerate the environment, instead of destroying it.
Even with all our work to keep costs manageable and animals healthy, we still have to go outside the land to find enough inputs for our animals. Winter hay is a must; we don’t have access to flat bottom land acreage, so we buy from the east side of the state. That’s usually the case with most hill farmers. We’re certainly not growing the grain for our laying hens either, but we source from a local fully organically certified producer (Scratch and Peck). I do not grain my sheep, but sometimes, they get organic bread from our gleaner friends.
Your investment in small, local producers- however you can, is something. It goes a long way in creating a secure food system. By consuming local and organic where you can, you’ll be investing in more than good food, you’ll also be paying for better health. Commercially gown crops are often empty of nutrition and taste. What they are full of is chemicals, which will pass on into your body when you consume it, and so many do, and so many more can’t afford anything else. Even worse, and addressed in this film, is the lack of access to healthy, locally produced food.
I’m not sure if the internet is the answer, but I appreciate the big data now being collected. Having briefly run an egg coop through online sales similar to the ones Erin speaks of, I agree the process is more holistic, but also still creates limited access. Any eggs we sold in our neighborhood grocery stores were there because I went in with them in person and made the sale- there was no online interest. Our eggs that were selling bulk online went mostly to restaurants in Seattle. That’s who would pay for our eggs so the farmer’s actually got a decent price, but it was still short of what the eggs cost to produce. Our small coop would never see any subsidies. That big ag money goes to the huge factory farms- one machine supporting another- so don’t buy in.