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Is the Recession Good for Farmers?

Richard Reep makes some interesting observations about how the current economic situation may actually have beneficial effects on smaller farmers:

While the global players deliver discounts due to their enormous volume, local community markets offer low-priced produce, goods, and services due to their microscopic volume. This common ground between individual efforts and enormous buying machines yields an interesting treasure trove of passion and hope.

The rise of these small, open-air markets is an encouraging sign of authentic social interaction, after so many assaults upon our social network by the forces of the Old Economy. It suggests a new role for local entrepreneurs and for the revival of community spirit. At these local markets, producer and consumer traffic in direct interaction, without the army of marketing consultants, business analysts, merchandisers, industrial psychologists, and the rest of the hangers-on who have transformed the agora into an often dispiriting and uninteresting shopping experience.

Now, with the Old Economy in shambles, the New Economy appears to be reviving the community element to our American commercial culture. Even a few years ago the Farmer’s Market was considered an anachronism, something found in rural areas and overlooked by cosmopolitan city dwellers. The fact that these are rising up in our urban and suburban culture speaks to our need for freshness, for authenticity, and for some spontaneity.

As folks cope with financial turmoil, their choices for purchasing venues seem to be driven by the need for saving, as well as the need for a good experience. The middlemen, such as the regional and national chains, seem to be squeezed in between truly global players like Wal-mart, and the rising tide of localism appearing at a grass-roots level in so many communities.

H/T: Rod Dreher

2 Comments

  1. Hill wrote:

    Check out the following for two great articles on the obstacles facing small scale farming operations, by Joel Salatin and Kevin Carson, respectively:

    http://www.mindfully.org/Farm/2003/Everything-Is-Illegal1esp03.htm

    http://www.theartofthepossible.net/2008/07/01/i-do-not-like-green-eggs-and-ham/

    Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    Farmers markets have become super trendy in recent years among the “Stuff White People Like” set (I know this because deep down, I admit I’m one of those people). Now, I think there are lots of great things about farmers markets, but I do worry that they are a fad when they probably deserve to be more than that. I’m also waiting for the factory farms to figure out how to horn in on this movement. They’ll figure it out, just give them enough time.

    Wednesday, April 1, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

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