Table of Con­tents

The Hidden War on American Agriculture

In the heart of Amer­i­ca’s sprawl­ing fields and on the cusp of urban sprawl, a silent war is being waged that very few peo­ple are mak­ing pub­lic. This bat­tle, large­ly unno­ticed by the aver­age con­sumer, tar­gets the very back­bone of Amer­i­ca’s food sov­er­eign­ty and secu­ri­ty: it’s the agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty. At the fore­front of this con­flict is the beef indus­try, ensnared in a web of envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions and cor­po­rate con­trol that threat­ens not just the liveli­hood of small farm­ers but the nation’s abil­i­ty to sus­tain itself.

The Unseen Battle for Food Sovereignty

The con­cept of food sov­er­eign­ty rep­re­sents a trans­for­ma­tive approach to food, agri­cul­ture, and soci­etal struc­tures, advo­cat­ing for the right of peo­ple to define their own food sys­tems. In the Unit­ed States, this bat­tle for food sov­er­eign­ty is both crit­i­cal and com­plex, reflect­ing a mosa­ic of cul­tur­al, eco­nom­ic, and envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns.

Food sov­er­eign­ty in the U.S. chal­lenges the pre­vail­ing indus­tri­al agri­cul­ture mod­el, which is often char­ac­ter­ized by mono­cul­tures, heavy reliance on chem­i­cal inputs, and cen­tral­ized con­trol by a few cor­po­ra­tions. This mod­el not only con­tributes to envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion but also under­mines local food sys­tems and dimin­ish­es the diver­si­ty of diets. The push for food sov­er­eign­ty seeks to reclaim the pow­er to pro­duce, dis­trib­ute, and con­sume food in ways that are eco­log­i­cal­ly sound, cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate, and sus­tain­able.

Cen­tral to the Amer­i­can food sov­er­eign­ty move­ment is the empha­sis on demo­c­ra­t­ic con­trol over food and agri­cul­tur­al sys­tems. This entails resis­tance to cor­po­rate dom­i­na­tion and neolib­er­al poli­cies that pri­or­i­tize prof­it over peo­ple and the plan­et. By advo­cat­ing for sys­tems that are equi­table and root­ed in com­mu­ni­ty needs, food sov­er­eign­ty aims to restore rela­tion­ships between peo­ple, their food, and the land.

The USDA Indige­nous Food Sov­er­eign­ty Ini­tia­tive high­lights aspects of this move­ment, focus­ing on pro­mot­ing tra­di­tion­al food­ways and sup­port­ing Indige­nous health through foods tai­lored to Amer­i­can Indian/Alaska Native dietary needs. This ini­tia­tive under­scores the impor­tance of pre­serv­ing cul­tur­al her­itage and knowl­edge in food pro­duc­tion, which is a cor­ner­stone of food sov­er­eign­ty.

More­over, orga­ni­za­tions like the US Food Sov­er­eign­ty Alliance and the Native Amer­i­can Food Sov­er­eign­ty Alliance (NAFSA) play piv­otal roles in advo­cat­ing for these changes. They work to rebuild rela­tion­ships with the land, water, plants, and ani­mals that sus­tain com­mu­ni­ties, empha­siz­ing Indige­nous self-deter­mi­na­tion, well­ness, and eco­nom­ic inde­pen­dence.

In prac­tice, food sov­er­eign­ty in the U.S. involves sup­port­ing local farms, encour­ag­ing bio­di­ver­si­ty in crops, and fos­ter­ing sys­tems where farm­ers and con­sumers have a voice in how food is grown, dis­trib­uted, and con­sumed. It’s about cre­at­ing food sys­tems that are fair, healthy, and acces­si­ble to all, chal­leng­ing the sta­tus quo of food pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion.

This unseen bat­tle for food sov­er­eign­ty is a call to action for all Amer­i­cans to rethink their rela­tion­ship with food, sup­port local and Indige­nous food sys­tems, and advo­cate for poli­cies that pro­mote organ­ic sus­tain­abil­i­ty vs. cor­po­rate equi­ty sus­tain­abil­i­ty (I just made that up), where the meats are import­ed from Chi­na, etc. and then cut and pack­aged here and slapped with a “USA” label on them only because they were pack­aged here… It’s a move­ment towards a future where food is a com­mon good rather than a com­mod­i­ty con­trolled by the few, ensur­ing that all peo­ple have access to nutri­tious, cul­tur­al­ly rel­e­vant, and sus­tain­ably pro­duced food.

The Rise of Anti-Animal Ideology

The rise of anti-ani­mal agri­cul­ture ide­ol­o­gy in the Unit­ed States and glob­al­ly rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant shift in soci­etal atti­tudes towards farm­ing prac­tices, par­tic­u­lar­ly those involv­ing ani­mals. This move­ment, deeply root­ed in gov­ern­men­tal inter­fer­ence cites eth­i­cal, envi­ron­men­tal, and health con­cerns, for their green ini­tia­tives that chal­lenge the con­ven­tion­al meth­ods of ani­mal farm­ing and advo­cate for a rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion of our food sys­tems, not for the bet­ter.

At the heart of the anti-ani­mal agri­cul­ture ide­ol­o­gy is a cri­tique of rur­al farm­ing and a focus on indus­tri­al farm­ing prac­tices. Crit­ics argue that these rur­al farms are caus­ing irrepara­ble dam­age and envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion because of bovine flat­u­lence (for one exam­ple) and believe it is a pub­lic health issue. Con­verse­ly, pub­li­ca­tions such as the Guardian, in a com­pelling cri­tique, label indus­tri­al farm­ing as one of the worst crimes in his­to­ry, high­light­ing the eth­i­cal dilem­mas posed by such prac­tices of mass cat­tle and poul­try farm­ing, as exam­ples.

The green agenda’s philo­soph­i­cal ethics fur­ther bol­ster the argu­ments against rur­al ani­mal agri­cul­ture. Per­son­al­ly, I’ve nev­er been both­ered by bovine flat­u­lence.  How­ev­er, I have been in a few dairy barns, and while they didn’t smell all that good, I still enjoyed the milk, and con­tin­ue to enjoy the milk.  

Orga­ni­za­tions like The Humane League have also high­light­ed the prob­lems asso­ci­at­ed with fac­to­ry farm­ing, empha­siz­ing its role in per­pet­u­at­ing ani­mal cru­el­ty, envi­ron­men­tal dam­age, and risks to human health through the spread of zoonot­ic dis­eases and antibi­ot­ic resis­tance. This is a real issue.  This grow­ing aware­ness has led to a push for leg­isla­tive changes, con­sumer shifts towards plant-based diets, and increased sup­port for sus­tain­able and humane farm­ing prac­tices.

More­over, research pub­lished in jour­nals such as Nature sug­gests that chang­ing social norms around meat con­sump­tion and ani­mal wel­fare could play a cru­cial role in pro­tect­ing farm ani­mals and pro­mot­ing more eth­i­cal food choic­es among con­sumers. 

In essence, the rise of anti-ani­mal agri­cul­ture ide­ol­o­gy reflects a grow­ing con­sen­sus on the need for a more get-back-to-basics, sus­tain­able, and health-con­scious approach to food pro­duc­tion. It chal­lenges indi­vid­u­als and soci­eties to recon­sid­er their dietary choic­es, and where their food real­ly comes from. I.e Chi­na, or the farm down the road a bit.   Advo­cat­ing for a future of ani­mal farm­ing, where all beings can thrive, I believe we have to back to the basics.

The Corporate Grip on Agriculture

The cor­po­rate grip on agri­cul­ture has sig­nif­i­cant­ly reshaped the land­scape of farm­ing in the Unit­ed States, lead­ing to pro­found impli­ca­tions for farm­ers, con­sumers, and the envi­ron­ment. This con­sol­i­da­tion of pow­er with­in the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor is not a recent phe­nom­e­non but the cul­mi­na­tion of decades of merg­ers, acqui­si­tions, and pol­i­cy shifts favor­ing large agribusi­ness­es over small fam­i­ly farms.

A hand­ful of cor­po­ra­tions now con­trol a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the food sys­tem “from farm to fork,” as Farm Aid points out. This unchecked cor­po­rate pow­er reduces options for con­sumers to sup­port good food from fam­i­ly farm­ers and push­es inde­pen­dent fam­i­ly farms out of busi­ness. The dom­i­nance of these cor­po­ra­tions extends across the entire food chain, includ­ing seeds, pes­ti­cides, pro­cess­ing, and dis­tri­b­u­tion, leav­ing farm­ers with few­er choic­es and greater depen­den­cy on cor­po­rate prod­ucts and terms.

The Nation­al Fam­i­ly Farm Coali­tion high­lights agri­cul­ture as one of the most con­cen­trat­ed sec­tors of the U.S. econ­o­my. The dis­ap­pear­ance of tens of thou­sands of inde­pen­dent fam­i­ly farms over the last few decades has not only led to their land and oper­a­tions being absorbed by ever-larg­er farms but has also erod­ed the fab­ric of rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. These com­mu­ni­ties, once anchored by fam­i­ly farms, find them­selves hol­lowed out as jobs dis­ap­pear and local economies weak­en.

Cor­po­rate con­trol extends deeply into the inputs used in farm­ing, with “six cor­po­ra­tions — Mon­san­to, DuPont, Dow, Syn­gen­ta, Bay­er, and BASF — con­trol­ling 75 per­cent of the world’s pes­ti­cides mar­ket,” accord­ing to Green­peace USA. This con­cen­tra­tion of pow­er affects not just the avail­abil­i­ty and price of agri­cul­tur­al inputs but also the direc­tion of agri­cul­tur­al research and pol­i­cy, often in ways that pri­or­i­tize cor­po­rate inter­ests over envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty and pub­lic health.

The con­sol­i­da­tion in the live­stock indus­try is par­tic­u­lar­ly strik­ing, with a rel­a­tive hand­ful of large enti­ties con­trol­ling the major­i­ty of slaugh­ter, pro­cess­ing, and mar­ket­ing of live­stock. This has squeezed out small farms, reduced com­pe­ti­tion, and led to a sys­tem where fac­to­ry farms dom­i­nate, con­tribut­ing to envi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and rais­ing eth­i­cal con­cerns about ani­mal wel­fare.

The cor­po­rate con­trol of agri­cul­ture neces­si­tates a crit­i­cal exam­i­na­tion of our food sys­tems and calls for con­cert­ed efforts to sup­port poli­cies and prac­tices that pro­mote diver­si­ty, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and fair­ness. Advo­cat­ing for antitrust enforce­ment, sup­port­ing local food sys­tems, and demand­ing trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty from agribusi­ness­es are essen­tial steps in loos­en­ing the cor­po­rate grip on agri­cul­ture and ensur­ing a resilient and equi­table food future.

The Threat to Small Farms and National Sovereignty

The plight of small farms in the Unit­ed States is a press­ing issue that under­scores a broad­er cri­sis in Amer­i­can agri­cul­ture. As the agri­cul­tur­al land­scape becomes increas­ing­ly dom­i­nat­ed by large agribusi­ness­es, small fam­i­ly farms face mount­ing chal­lenges that threat­en their sur­vival and, by exten­sion, the nation’s food sov­er­eign­ty.

The Crisis Facing Small Farms

The cri­sis fac­ing small farms in the Unit­ed States is both deep-root­ed and mul­ti­fac­eted, reflect­ing broad­er sys­temic issues with­in the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor and the econ­o­my. Small farms, tra­di­tion­al­ly the back­bone of Amer­i­can agri­cul­ture, are increas­ing­ly find­ing them­selves on the brink of extinc­tion, squeezed out by the relent­less pres­sures of indus­tri­al farm­ing, eco­nom­ic chal­lenges, and pol­i­cy frame­works that favor large-scale oper­a­tions over the small, fam­i­ly-run farms that have his­tor­i­cal­ly fed the nation.

Economic Pressures

One of the most imme­di­ate chal­lenges fac­ing small farms is the eco­nom­ic pres­sure exert­ed by the con­sol­i­da­tion of the agri­cul­tur­al indus­try. As large agribusi­ness­es grow ever larg­er, ben­e­fit­ing from economies of scale and pref­er­en­tial pol­i­cy treat­ment, small farms strug­gle to com­pete. This com­pe­ti­tion is not just about mar­ket share; it’s about sur­vival. Small farms often lack the finan­cial buffer to with­stand poor crop yields, price fluc­tu­a­tions in the mar­ket, and the high costs of mod­ern farm­ing equip­ment and tech­nol­o­gy. The debt cri­sis among Amer­i­can farm­ers, as report­ed by Time, is a tes­ta­ment to this strug­gle, with many farm­ers tak­ing on unsus­tain­able lev­els of debt in an attempt to keep their oper­a­tions afloat.

Market Access and Fair Pricing

Access to mar­kets is anoth­er crit­i­cal issue. The dom­i­nance of large cor­po­ra­tions in food pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­b­u­tion means that small farm­ers often find them­selves at a dis­ad­van­tage when it comes to sell­ing their pro­duce, meats, dairy, etc. These cor­po­ra­tions can dic­tate terms and prices, leav­ing small farm­ers with slim margins—if they can find a mar­ket at all. The sit­u­a­tion is exac­er­bat­ed by the glob­al nature of food mar­kets, where local farm­ers not only com­pete with each oth­er but with inter­na­tion­al pro­duc­ers who may ben­e­fit from low­er pro­duc­tion costs.

Policy and Regulatory Challenges

Pol­i­cy and reg­u­la­to­ry frame­works in the Unit­ed States have not always favored small farms. Sub­si­dies, grants, and oth­er forms of gov­ern­ment sup­port often go to larg­er oper­a­tions, based on the vol­ume of pro­duc­tion rather than the size of the farm. This cre­ates a vicious cycle where small farms, unable to com­pete finan­cial­ly, miss out on the very sup­port that could help them become more com­pet­i­tive and grow… More­over, the reg­u­la­to­ry bur­dens can dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly affect small farms, which may not have the resources to nav­i­gate com­plex bureau­crat­ic require­ments as eas­i­ly as their larg­er coun­ter­parts.

Environmental and Social Impacts

The cri­sis fac­ing small farms also has sig­nif­i­cant envi­ron­men­tal and social impli­ca­tions. Small farms are more like­ly to use sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices, pre­serve bio­di­ver­si­ty, and main­tain the health of the soil and local ecosys­tems. Their decline not only impacts the envi­ron­ment but also the rur­al com­mu­ni­ties, where small farms often have served as eco­nom­ic and social anchors. The loss of small farms con­tributes to the decline of rur­al areas, lead­ing to job loss­es, school clo­sures, sales to real estate devel­op­ers, and a decrease in com­mu­ni­ty cohe­sion.

The Path Forward

Address­ing the cri­sis fac­ing small farms requires a mul­ti­fac­eted approach that includes pol­i­cy reform, eco­nom­ic sup­port, and a shift in con­sumer behav­ior. Poli­cies that pro­vide tar­get­ed sup­port to small farms, pro­mote fair pric­ing and ensure access to mar­kets are cru­cial. Eco­nom­ic sup­port could include grants, low-inter­est loans, and debt relief pro­grams specif­i­cal­ly designed for small oper­a­tions. Final­ly, con­sumers can play a role by sup­port­ing local farms through direct pur­chas­es, farm­ers’ mar­kets, and com­mu­ni­ty-sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture (CSA) pro­grams.

The cri­sis fac­ing small farms is a com­plex issue with no easy solu­tions in the wake of the con­glom­er­ate dol­lars that buy space on the gro­cery store shelves. How­ev­er, the sur­vival of these farms is cru­cial for the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor, the health of the envi­ron­ment, and the vital­i­ty of rur­al com­mu­ni­ties across the Unit­ed States.

The Threat to Our National Sovereignty

The threat to nation­al sov­er­eign­ty posed by the decline of small farms and the con­sol­i­da­tion of agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion into the hands of a few large cor­po­ra­tions extends beyond the imme­di­ate eco­nom­ic impli­ca­tions for rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. It strikes at the heart of a nation’s abil­i­ty to con­trol and secure its food sup­ply, a fun­da­men­tal aspect of sov­er­eign­ty and inde­pen­dence. This issue has become increas­ing­ly crit­i­cal in the con­text of glob­al insta­bil­i­ty, cli­mate change, and ris­ing geopo­lit­i­cal ten­sions, which under­score the impor­tance of main­tain­ing a resilient and self-suf­fi­cient agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor.

Dependence on Global Markets

As small farms dis­ap­pear and agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion becomes more con­cen­trat­ed, the Unit­ed States finds itself increas­ing­ly reliant on glob­al mar­kets for its food sup­ply. This depen­dence on inter­na­tion­al trade for essen­tial goods can make the nation vul­ner­a­ble to sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions caused by geopo­lit­i­cal con­flicts, trade dis­putes, or glob­al pan­demics. The recent COVID-19 Chi­na deba­cle high­light­ed these vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, as dis­rup­tions in glob­al sup­ply chains led to short­ages and increased prices for var­i­ous goods, includ­ing food prod­ucts that need­ed to con­tin­ue to be shipped across the ocean and processed and pack­aged here.

Loss of Agricultural Biodiversity

The con­sol­i­da­tion of agri­cul­ture also threat­ens the bio­di­ver­si­ty of the nation’s food sup­ply. Large agribusi­ness­es tend to favor mono­cul­ture prac­tices and the cul­ti­va­tion of a lim­it­ed num­ber of high-yield crops. This approach, while eco­nom­i­cal­ly effi­cient in the short term, reduces genet­ic diver­si­ty and makes crops more sus­cep­ti­ble to pests, dis­eases, and chang­ing cli­mate con­di­tions. Small farms, on the oth­er hand, often prac­tice more diverse and sus­tain­able farm­ing meth­ods that con­tribute to the resilience of the food sys­tem. The loss of these farms dimin­ish­es the nation’s agri­cul­tur­al bio­di­ver­si­ty, under­min­ing long-term food secu­ri­ty.

Erosion of Rural Economies and Communities

The decline of small farms con­tributes to the ero­sion of rur­al economies and com­mu­ni­ties, weak­en­ing the social fab­ric of vast swathes of the coun­try. Rur­al areas, tra­di­tion­al­ly sup­port­ed by agri­cul­ture, face eco­nom­ic decline, pop­u­la­tion loss, and a reduc­tion in pub­lic ser­vices as small farms close down. This not only impacts the liveli­hoods of indi­vid­u­als liv­ing in these areas but also dimin­ish­es the nation’s abil­i­ty to cul­ti­vate a new gen­er­a­tion of farm­ers. This is a real issue.  The weak­en­ing of rur­al com­mu­ni­ties threat­ens the coun­try’s agri­cul­tur­al future and, by exten­sion, its sov­er­eign­ty over food pro­duc­tion long term…

Policy Implications

To address the threat to nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, pol­i­cy­mak­ers must con­sid­er agri­cul­tur­al pol­i­cy not just in terms of eco­nom­ic effi­cien­cy but as a mat­ter of nation­al secu­ri­ty. This includes sup­port­ing poli­cies that pro­mote the via­bil­i­ty of small farms, such as fair trade prac­tices, sub­si­dies, and research into sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture. Addi­tion­al­ly, poli­cies aimed at encour­ag­ing local food sys­tems and reduc­ing depen­dence on glob­al sup­ply chains can enhance food secu­ri­ty and resilience.  This is hard to do when orga­ni­za­tions such as Mon­san­to seem to have an unlim­it­ed amount of mon­ey to lob­by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

The Role of Consumers

Con­sumers also play a cru­cial role in sup­port­ing nation­al sov­er­eign­ty through their food choic­es. By choos­ing local­ly pro­duced foods, par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­ni­ty-sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture (CSA) pro­grams, and advo­cat­ing for food poli­cies that sup­port small farms, con­sumers can help build a more resilient and sov­er­eign food sys­tem. This is espe­cial­ly true of the pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty… 

The threat to nation­al sov­er­eign­ty posed by the decline of small farms and the con­sol­i­da­tion of agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tion is a com­plex issue that requires a coor­di­nat­ed response from pol­i­cy­mak­ers, the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor, and con­sumers. Address­ing this threat is essen­tial for ensur­ing the long-term secu­ri­ty, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and inde­pen­dence of the nation’s food sup­ply.  This brings us to the Role of Pol­i­cy and Pub­lic Sup­port… 

The Role of Policy and Public Support

The role of pol­i­cy and pub­lic sup­port in bol­ster­ing small farms and ensur­ing the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor can­not be over­stat­ed. As small farms face an array of chal­lenges, from eco­nom­ic pres­sures to com­pe­ti­tion with large agribusi­ness­es, tar­get­ed pol­i­cy inter­ven­tions and robust pub­lic sup­port emerge as cru­cial life­lines. These mea­sures not only aid in pre­serv­ing the liveli­hoods of small farm­ers but also con­tribute to broad­er goals of food secu­ri­ty, envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and rur­al vital­i­ty.

Policy Interventions

Pol­i­cy inter­ven­tions play a piv­otal role in cre­at­ing a con­ducive envi­ron­ment for small farms to thrive. The Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA) offers var­i­ous resources for small and mid-sized farm­ers, includ­ing access to cap­i­tal, risk man­age­ment tools, and con­ser­va­tion pro­grams. These resources are designed to address the unique chal­lenges faced by small farms, pro­vid­ing them with the finan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port nec­es­sary to remain com­pet­i­tive and sus­tain­able.

The Schol­ars Strat­e­gy Net­work high­lights how agri­cul­tur­al poli­cies can sup­port new Amer­i­can farm­ers, empha­siz­ing the need for poli­cies that facil­i­tate access to land, cap­i­tal, and mar­kets for begin­ning and social­ly dis­ad­van­taged farm­ers. This includes pro­grams that offer train­ing, men­tor­ship, and finan­cial assis­tance to those look­ing to enter the agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor, ensur­ing a diverse and resilient farm­ing com­mu­ni­ty.

The Cen­ter for Rur­al Affairs argues for Con­gress to adopt poli­cies that specif­i­cal­ly sup­port small farms, advo­cat­ing for farm bill pro­vi­sions that pri­or­i­tize con­ser­va­tion, local food sys­tems, and fair access to mar­kets. Such poli­cies can help lev­el the play­ing field, allow­ing small farms to com­pete more effec­tive­ly with larg­er oper­a­tions.

Public Support

Pub­lic sup­port is equal­ly crit­i­cal in sus­tain­ing small farms. Con­sumers have a pow­er­ful role to play in sup­port­ing local agri­cul­ture through their pur­chas­ing deci­sions. By choos­ing local­ly pro­duced foods, par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­ni­ty-sup­port­ed agri­cul­ture (CSA) pro­grams, and fre­quent­ing farm­ers’ mar­kets, con­sumers can direct­ly con­tribute to the eco­nom­ic via­bil­i­ty of small farms.

More­over, pub­lic advo­ca­cy for agri­cul­tur­al poli­cies that favor small-scale, sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices can influ­ence leg­isla­tive pri­or­i­ties and out­comes. Grass­roots move­ments and con­sumer demand for sus­tain­able and eth­i­cal­ly pro­duced food can dri­ve pol­i­cy changes that sup­port small farms and envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship.

The com­bined efforts of pol­i­cy inter­ven­tions and pub­lic sup­port are essen­tial in address­ing the mul­ti­fac­eted chal­lenges faced by small farms. By imple­ment­ing tar­get­ed poli­cies that pro­vide finan­cial, tech­ni­cal, and mar­ket access sup­port, and fos­ter­ing a cul­ture of pub­lic sup­port for local agri­cul­ture, it is pos­si­ble to ensure the sur­vival and pros­per­i­ty of small farms. These efforts not only ben­e­fit the farm­ers them­selves but also con­tribute to the broad­er goals of food sov­er­eign­ty, envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and rur­al com­mu­ni­ty resilience.

In essence, the future of small farms—and, by exten­sion, the agri­cul­tur­al land­scape of the Unit­ed States—hinges on a con­cert­ed effort from both pol­i­cy­mak­ers and the pub­lic to cham­pi­on the cause of sus­tain­able, small-scale farm­ing.

The Call to Action for the Preparedness Community (and Humanity)

In the face of the chal­lenges con­fronting small farms and the broad­er agri­cul­tur­al sec­tor, the pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty stands in a unique posi­tion to make a sig­nif­i­cant impact. This com­mu­ni­ty, deeply aware of the impor­tance of resilience and self-suf­fi­cien­cy, can play a piv­otal role in sup­port­ing sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and ensur­ing food secu­ri­ty. The call to action for this com­mu­ni­ty is not just about prepar­ing for indi­vid­ual or fam­i­ly emer­gen­cies but about con­tribut­ing to the resilience of the entire food sys­tem.

Support Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

One of the most direct ways the pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty can sup­port sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture is through par­tic­i­pa­tion in Com­mu­ni­ty Sup­port­ed Agri­cul­ture (CSA) pro­grams. CSAs rep­re­sent a part­ner­ship between farm­ers and con­sumers in which con­sumers annu­al­ly pur­chase “shares” of a far­m’s har­vest in advance. This mod­el pro­vides farm­ers with upfront cap­i­tal, reduces the risks asso­ci­at­ed with food pro­duc­tion, and ensures a mar­ket for their pro­duce. For the pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty, CSAs offer a reli­able source of local, sea­son­al food, strength­en­ing the con­nec­tion between con­sumers and their food sources. The Nation­al Agri­cul­tur­al Library and resources like Local­Har­vest pro­vide exten­sive infor­ma­tion on find­ing and join­ing CSAs, mak­ing it eas­i­er for indi­vid­u­als to sup­port local farms.

Engage in Rural Community Resilience Efforts

The USDA’s launch of a resource guide to help rur­al com­mu­ni­ties seek­ing dis­as­ter resilien­cy and recov­ery assis­tance under­scores the impor­tance of com­mu­ni­ty-lev­el efforts in build­ing agri­cul­tur­al resilience. The pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty, with its empha­sis on plan­ning and self-reliance, can con­tribute valu­able skills and knowl­edge to these efforts. By engag­ing in local resilience plan­ning, pre­pared­ness enthu­si­asts can help ensure that rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and small farms are bet­ter equipped to han­dle the chal­lenges posed by cli­mate change, eco­nom­ic fluc­tu­a­tions, and oth­er threats.

Advocate for Policy Change

Advo­ca­cy for pol­i­cy changes that sup­port small farms and sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture is anoth­er crit­i­cal area where the pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty can make a dif­fer­ence. This includes sup­port­ing poli­cies that pro­vide fair pric­ing, access to mar­kets, and finan­cial assis­tance for small farm­ers. By lend­ing their voic­es to the call for a more equi­table and sus­tain­able agri­cul­tur­al pol­i­cy, mem­bers of the pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty can help shape a food sys­tem that pri­or­i­tizes resilience, bio­di­ver­si­ty, and local economies.

Educate and Spread Awareness

Final­ly, edu­ca­tion and aware­ness-rais­ing are vital. The pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty can help spread the word about the impor­tance of sup­port­ing small farms, the ben­e­fits of sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, and the threats to food sov­er­eign­ty. By shar­ing knowl­edge through work­shops, social media, and com­mu­ni­ty meet­ings, pre­pared­ness enthu­si­asts can inspire oth­ers to take action and con­tribute to a broad­er cul­tur­al shift towards valu­ing and sup­port­ing the agri­cul­tur­al prac­tices that will sus­tain future gen­er­a­tions.

The pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty has a sig­nif­i­cant role to play in sup­port­ing small farms and ensur­ing the resilience of the food sys­tem. Through direct sup­port for CSAs, engage­ment in com­mu­ni­ty resilience efforts, advo­ca­cy for pol­i­cy change, and edu­ca­tion, this com­mu­ni­ty can con­tribute to a more sus­tain­able, secure, and sov­er­eign agri­cul­tur­al future.

Supporting Local Agriculture and Advocacy

Sup­port­ing local agri­cul­ture is a mul­ti­fac­eted endeav­or that extends beyond the sim­ple act of buy­ing local pro­duce. It involves a com­mit­ment to sus­tain­ing the agri­cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty, advo­cat­ing for poli­cies that sup­port small farms, and engag­ing in prac­tices that fos­ter a resilient local food sys­tem. Here are sev­er­al strate­gies for sup­port­ing local agri­cul­ture and advo­ca­cy, draw­ing from var­i­ous sources and ideas that have proven effec­tive in strength­en­ing local food sys­tems.

1. Participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Join­ing a CSA is a direct way to sup­port local farm­ers. By pur­chas­ing a share of a far­m’s har­vest in advance, con­sumers can pro­vide farm­ers with much-need­ed upfront cap­i­tal, reduc­ing their finan­cial risk and ensur­ing a mar­ket for their pro­duce. This mod­el fos­ters a clos­er con­nec­tion between con­sumers and their food sources, pro­mot­ing a deep­er under­stand­ing of sea­son­al eat­ing and the chal­lenges faced by farm­ers.

2. Shop at Farmers’ Markets and Local Farm Stands

Shop­ping at farm­ers’ mar­kets and local farm stands not only sup­ports local farm­ers but also reduces the car­bon foot­print asso­ci­at­ed with trans­port­ing food long dis­tances. It encour­ages the con­sump­tion of fresh, sea­son­al pro­duce and pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty for con­sumers to learn more about the food they eat and the peo­ple who grow it.

3. Advocate for Local Food in Schools and Institutions

Advo­cat­ing for the inclu­sion of local­ly sourced food in schools, hos­pi­tals, and oth­er insti­tu­tions can sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact local agri­cul­ture. This not only sup­ports local farm­ers by expand­ing their mar­ket but also improves the nutri­tion­al qual­i­ty of food served in these set­tings. Engag­ing with school boards, local gov­ern­ments, and insti­tu­tion­al deci­sion-mak­ers can help dri­ve this change.

4. Support Land Preservation Efforts

Sup­port­ing land preser­va­tion efforts is cru­cial for pro­tect­ing farm­land from devel­op­ment and ensur­ing the long-term via­bil­i­ty of agri­cul­ture. This can involve advo­cat­ing for poli­cies that pri­or­i­tize farm­land con­ser­va­tion, sup­port­ing local land trusts, and rais­ing aware­ness about the impor­tance of pre­serv­ing agri­cul­tur­al land for future gen­er­a­tions.

It should be not­ed that land trusts are not always advan­ta­geous for com­mu­ni­ties.  Here are some of the down­falls of a land trust below.  That said, while I know it can be dif­fi­cult, the land own­er can pre­serve the land by pass­ing it down to their fam­i­ly who choose not to par­take in a trust.  Check out the list below.

  1. Lim­it­ed Devel­op­ment Oppor­tu­ni­ties: Once land is con­served, it is gen­er­al­ly pro­tect­ed from devel­op­ment per­ma­nent­ly. This can lim­it oppor­tu­ni­ties for hous­ing or com­mer­cial devel­op­ment, which may be seen as a dis­ad­van­tage in areas fac­ing hous­ing short­ages or seek­ing eco­nom­ic growth through devel­op­ment.  If you strike oil or find nat­ur­al gas on your con­served prop­er­ty, you may be lim­it­ed in how you can devel­op the prop­er­ty to gen­er­ate income.
  2. Man­age­ment and Main­te­nance Costs: Con­serv­ing and man­ag­ing land can be cost­ly. Land trusts must secure fund­ing for ongo­ing main­te­nance, man­age­ment, and legal defense of the con­served lands, which can be chal­leng­ing.
  3. Con­flicts with Local Inter­ests: In some cas­es, the goals of land trusts may con­flict with local inter­ests if the landown­ers desire to keep their prop­er­ty from being devel­oped.  Bal­anc­ing con­ser­va­tion efforts with the needs and rights of local com­mu­ni­ties and landown­ers can be chal­leng­ing, espe­cial­ly with urban sprawl mov­ing in a sub­ur­ban and rur­al direc­tion at an accel­er­at­ed rate. 
  4. Acces­si­bil­i­ty, Gov­ern­men­tal Equi­ty, and the Equi­ty Con­cerns of Mis­led Orga­ni­za­tions: While many land trusts aim to pro­vide pub­lic access to con­served lands, issues of acces­si­bil­i­ty and “equi­ty” can arise. The rise of equi­ty in this peri­od of wok­e­ness tries to ensure that all com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers have equal oppor­tu­ni­ties to enjoy and ben­e­fit from the con­served lands that they have no own­er­ship in, and is an ongo­ing chal­lenge.
  5. Vol­un­teer and Donate: Vol­un­teer­ing with local agri­cul­tur­al orga­ni­za­tions or donat­ing to caus­es that sup­port small farms can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence. Many non-prof­its work to pro­mote sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, sup­port farmer train­ing pro­grams, and advo­cate for farmer-friend­ly poli­cies. Offer­ing time or finan­cial sup­port to these orga­ni­za­tions helps ampli­fy their impact.

6. Educate Yourself and Others:  Educating yourself about the challenges and opportunities in local agriculture allows you to be a more informed consumer and advocate. Sharing this knowledge with others can help build a community of support for local farms, increasing their ability to thrive in a competitive market.

By adopt­ing these prac­tices, indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties can play a vital role in sup­port­ing local agri­cul­ture, ensur­ing the sus­tain­abil­i­ty of small farms, and pro­mot­ing food sov­er­eign­ty. The col­lec­tive effort to sup­port local agri­cul­ture not only ben­e­fits farm­ers but also con­tributes to the health and resilience of the entire com­mu­ni­ty.


The war on Amer­i­can agri­cul­ture is a com­plex and press­ing issue that requires wide­spread aware­ness and action. The pre­pared­ness com­mu­ni­ty and con­cerned cit­i­zens play a vital role in pre­serv­ing food sov­er­eign­ty and sup­port­ing the sur­vival of small farms. By tak­ing con­crete steps to edu­cate them­selves, engage in local advo­ca­cy, and sup­port poli­cies that pro­tect agri­cul­tur­al free­doms, indi­vid­u­als can con­tribute to the fight against the threats fac­ing Amer­i­can agri­cul­ture.

You’ll note as well there was no dis­cus­sion here of “syn­thet­ic lab-grown meat” which is on the hori­zon and being pushed as sus­tain­able, which, in my hum­ble opin­ion, could be fur­ther from the truth.  This is a sub­ject for a blog post of its own in the future to com­ple­ment this one.  

My Call to Action for You

To com­bat the hid­den war on Amer­i­can agri­cul­ture, it is imper­a­tive that we take action. Edu­cate your­self on these issues, engage in local advo­ca­cy, and sup­port poli­cies and prac­tices that pro­tect agri­cul­tur­al free­doms. Sup­port local farm­ers and ranch­ers by buy­ing local­ly pro­duced food and par­tic­i­pat­ing in CSA pro­grams. Togeth­er, we can pre­serve food sov­er­eign­ty and ensure the sur­vival of small farms for future gen­er­a­tions.


  • Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA): Offers com­pre­hen­sive data and reports on the state of Amer­i­can agri­cul­ture, small farms, and the impact of pol­i­cy changes.
  • Nation­al Sus­tain­able Agri­cul­ture Coali­tion (NSAC): Pro­vides insights and advo­ca­cy on issues affect­ing sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture and small farms.
  • Farm Aid: An orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cat­ed to keep­ing fam­i­ly farm­ers on the land, offer­ing resources and sup­port for farm­ers, and infor­ma­tion on the chal­lenges they face.
  • Food and Agri­cul­ture Orga­ni­za­tion of the Unit­ed Nations (FAO): For glob­al per­spec­tives on agri­cul­ture, food secu­ri­ty, and sus­tain­able prac­tices.
  • The Good Food Insti­tute: Offers research and infor­ma­tion on plant-based diets, syn­thet­ic meat, and the future of food.
  • Har­vard Law School’s Ani­mal Law & Pol­i­cy Pro­gram: Pro­vides analy­ses on legal and pol­i­cy issues relat­ed to ani­mal agri­cul­ture and alter­na­tives.
  • Local Har­vest: A direc­to­ry for find­ing local food, CSAs, and farm­ers mar­kets.
  • Com­mu­ni­ty Sup­port­ed Agri­cul­ture (CSA) Direc­to­ries: Many regions have their own CSA direc­to­ries that list local farms offer­ing shares to the pub­lic.
  • Amer­i­can Farm­land Trust: Works to pre­serve agri­cul­tur­al land and pro­mote farm­ing prac­tices that lead to a sus­tain­able future.
  • Aca­d­e­m­ic Jour­nals: Jour­nals such as “Agri­cul­ture and Human Val­ues”, “Jour­nal of Rur­al Stud­ies”, and “Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence & Pol­i­cy” often pub­lish research on agri­cul­ture, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and pol­i­cy.
  • Gov­ern­ment Reports and Leg­is­la­tion: Look­ing into recent farm bills, USDA reports, and state-lev­el agri­cul­ture poli­cies can pro­vide insights into the legal and eco­nom­ic frame­work affect­ing agri­cul­ture.


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