Wednesday, March 10, 2010

We need a better answer...

Than "It's cheap". (Worth the whole 20 minutes, IMHO)

Our defense of the status quo in farming has been about economics, and it is a good defense.  But like all defensive strategies, the opposition soon develops counter-strategies.

The worst case scenario for American agriculture is a resurgence of world-wide prosperity that enables food consumers to choose arbitrarily. [Update: In the hard light of morning, this statement doesn't make as much sense as I apparently thought yesterday. Increased prosperity would bring millions of new protein consumers to the market, for one thing. I have no idea what losing high-end consumers would mean, but likely the ratio is small comparing to new middle-class consumers.]

For extra credit: how would you answer chef Dan Barber?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great presentation and some thought-provoking opinions on the matter. However, as others do, he is quick to scorn the "numbers" related to industrial aquaculture, but presents nothing related to Miguel's operation except pink flamingos and his opinion that the fish tasted better. I can show him a buffer strip on my farm that has cleaner water leaving then entering as well!

Not to mention, maybe that cool fish farm in Spain was only possible because of the captial expended by the Argertinians in the first place to build the canal system...otherwise it's just a swamp.

We strive for more sustainability everyday if it makes sense, both economicaly and "socialy". We take feed from the fields for our cows, we house our cows in the best environment we can, we put the manure back on fields and we produce alot of milk...over 50,000gallons per day.

I also take exception to making food taste better...the milk we produce today is better than the milk I drank as a kid (ever drink milk from a cow that was grazing on whatever grass was left in August?)...and it's safer. The steaks that I eat today are better also and lots of chefs enjoy a huge variety of cuts of meat because of the work of meat researchers and ranchers that adopt new technlogies.

MY love affair is with the folks that go out and do the work to produce food everyday...we'll adapt and keep bringing great products to consumers dinner tables. What's changed is that we need to understand the consumer cares about how we do it. That's easier to talk about and harder to quantify.

Great blog, reading it!