Supporting farmers beyond Instagram
The news of another farmer closing for business reaches us today. That’s the third this year.
I’m not going to mention them by name. Like most food businesses that close, these farms have quietly dropped away, and maybe that’s what they wanted, so I don’t want to call them out.
But the reason these farmers were special to us I do want to explain. Their farming was progressive and regenerative, protecting and building their soils rather than draining them of nutrients. When the rains hit, their fields bounce back green and lush. Fundamentally, they offer us hope for the future of farming in a warmer world.
Two years ago, we wrote them into the heart of our Charter, and had plans to pay much more than lip service to their efforts. Real commitments are on the way. Almost there, almost ready, nearly full-heartedly.
And then it’s too late. The drought and the heat took out even these regenerators.
But that’s only half the story, I think.
I’d wager that these farmers also stopped farming because ‘we’ didn’t care enough and in a real way. It’s too easy to assume that everyone else is supporting the farmer who we love to love on Instagram. Too easy to hope that our choice to shop somewhere else this week (Aldi Woolworths Costco Coles) won’t be the final straw that closes that farmer’s business down.
So help us keep the rest of our beloved farmers by buying from them by default. Through a buyers co-op, a purveyor, a farmers market, an independent store, or by dining at a local food place that tells you who their farmers are. Don’t do this as a token purchase every once in a while. Do it whenever you shop, whenever you eat out.
Feeling the real support of your customers can go a long way. It may not bring on the rains, but it would make the wait less lonely.