Monday December 14, 2009 | The Politics of Farming

December 11, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 2 Comments

Most of us think of local farms as peaceful, green places of refuge amidst a growing region, but the world of farming in North Carolina is deeply complex and political. Farmers face more than weather and blight. They face regulations, restrictions and challenges to the simple notion of growing food and bringing it to market. Our experts will help us navigate the politics of farming.
Ray Starling
– General Counsel, NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Roland McReynolds – Executive Director, Carolina Farm Stewards Association
Aaron Newton – Co-Author, A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil

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  1. Interesting program! But I am curious about the statements about growing “food insecurity”. One of your guests said that 15% of U.S. residents experienced food insecurity last year. What does this mean and how is this determined? Does that number include those who create their own “food insecurity”? For instance, what about people who make poor life choices and then cannot or do not properly feed their children? Are they included in this number? I don’t mean to sound like a Scrooge, but I think there are many reasons for “food insecurity”, not all caused by current farming policies.

  2. I really enjoyed the presentation and as a part-time farmer and full time engineer I found the information sited to be very accurate. Responding to Sharon above it is important for us Americans to recognize the early stages of “food insecurity” to understand how it impacts us now and could be worse in the future. Most of our food supply chain is highly dependent on industrialized system and transportation with gas/oil. There is only about 3 to 5 days of food to feed America in the “system”. What happens if this very complex and highly tuned system fails in whole or in part? This has happened on a large scale in Europe several times, there have been many early warnings in America (i.e. mad cow from Canada, e-coli in spinach and beef, etc.) In this case an over dependence on the big system to keep our food secure can put anyone and/or most of us risk — similar to the banking crisis with our economy. Is our food growing and industrialized distribution system “too big to fail?” My idea approach is to diversify my food production and distribution system before a crisis occurs. Since most Americans don’t know anything about raising their own food and/or buying local food then they are at risk for their food security whether they know it or not. Aaron Newton’s book, A Nation of Farmers is a great common sense resource for learning the underlying principles and how close all Americans are to a national food insecurity crisis.

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