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With more and more of the population living in urban and suburban settings society has become over the last 100 years or so more and more dependent on a complex and fragile food production and distribution system that seems to have an abundance of healthy choices of foodstuffs available in a myriad of varieties from so-called “healthful organic natural foods” to ethnic specialty foods. To the uninformed it would seem that we have an endless supply of healthful foods so why bother to grow our own foods?
This however is an illusion, and while I hate to burst bubbles and wake idealists in the midst of pleasant dreams the reality is that we are not only perched in a precarious nutritional and supply position, much of the food we consume is really not nearly as healthy as the FDA, USDA, Big-Ag, Big-Pharma, the medical industry, and the Monsanto’s of the world would have it. As pointed out in previous pages of Catholic Rural Solutions the human food chain in Western Society, most especially the United States is being increasingly tainted and even outright poisoned by inorganic chemical pesticides, herbicides, and other adulterated laboratory products; to say nothing of the Genetically Modified Organism being manufactured and slipped into our diets.
Our contemporary food supply and distribution system is largely driven by unbridled corporate giants who not only help fund the USDA, FDA, and other alleged watchdog agencies, but also sponsor and supply grants and other funding to our State Agricultural Colleges, thus, virtually ensuring that all research projects are geared toward the education, promotion, and results beneficial to Big-Ag et al. To illustrate this The United States Department of Agriculture used to have a subsidiary office called, The Office of Small-Scale Agriculture. This department was designed to guide, assist, and provide research bulletins for the small scale family farmer and the suburban backyard gardener. The OSSA was established by a former Secretary of Agriculture, Richard Lyng, in December, 1986. Its mandate was to improve the flow of information about small-scale agriculture to producers and consumers, i.e. the American public. The OSSA also functioned as a liaison to other government agencies, both within and outside of the USDA, in identifying and directing research and educational programs to improve usefulness of information received by small-scale producers.
During its existence, OSSA had been providing an effective program to identify the expertise of the various systems and to gather and disseminate information for maximizing the potential effectiveness of small-scale entrepreneurs and consumers. The agency was started at the pinnacle of the Back-to-the-Land Movement popularized by not only informal grassroots associations of people, but epitomized by magazines and periodicals like, Organic Farming & Gardening, Mother Earth News, Countryside and Small Stock Journal, and many others. For me and other backyard farmers this was an amazing resource of information. Unfortunately, due to political pressures caused in part to Big-Ag, Chem, Pharma corporate interests the funding for this useful program of the USDA quietly dried up, with the result that there is little to no institutional resources for small-scale agriculture including the local County Agricultural Depts. which now tend to focus largely on politically correct social programs rather than agricultural issues.
Even within the grassroots groups the interest in small-scale agriculture has largely been usurped by Greenies with the “sustainability” concerns of the UN’s Agenda 21. So the field of true small holdings and small stock is largely left to individuals of which Catholic Rural Solutions is an outgrowth and my own humble endeavor to keep the flexibility of food choice and control within the home of the producers and consumers.
The level to which the food independence of the average consumer has fallen since the 1970’s heyday of the Back-to-Land Movement until now is best understood by the below article:
Should You Be Able to Buy Food Directly From Farmers? The Government Doesn’t Think So
Please read this article thoughtfully and carefully with the resolution to take real control of your family’s nutrition by growing as much of your own food as possible, including small stock such as rabbits and chickens. It is the only way to be assured of real, wholesome, and nutritious food as the combined stranglehold of Big-Ag, Big-Chem, Big-Pharma, and oppressive government nannies gain increased say into what we may or may not eat.
Richard of Danbury, D.S.G.