If you hang around the surviving family farms enough, you end up asking yourself the same question Wendell Berry asks in his penetrating essays. As rural communities grow poor, land is abandoned, family farms die out, jobs vanish and the rural young are forced to the cities and suburbs to work, the issue isn’t just why we as a society are abandoning our farmers, the issue is much broader.
For years, economists and government regulators have argued that there are too many farmers, and they are producing too much food, that there were too many people on the farm. The mechanized, computerized, information and serviced based global economy demands cheap labor working in lousy and insecure jobs in cities to produce the new products of the modern era. Consumers have embraced the Wal-Marting of the country, and all that matters when you put something in your mouth and belly is price.
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