| Rants |

So You Want to Be a Farmer — Why?

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It basically comes down to "why." "Why" is the first question that needs to be answered when choosing to start a farm, restaurant, or any other business.

To the large-scale farmer, people are just numbers, another sale. There is no ownership of the quality anymore (not just appearance), and they are happy if the product rots on the shelf. The thing about something that was grown sustainably or naturally is that it will be much more nutritious, it will have a longer shelf life, and it will taste much better.

I met an agriculture consultant once who was soliciting his services to a big-time farm operator in California, and he was telling the farmer he could help him get a better-tasting, higher-quality product that will last longer on the shelves. The farmer immediately told him to get out. He told the consultant that the produce that rots on the shelf is part of their business model. They relied on these losses so they could sell them more. No ownership or care, only money, sad.

Nutritional density is correlated to the taste when it comes to raw fruits and vegetables. Close your eyes and imagine the best fruit you ever had; for me, it was a beefsteak tomato my grandfather grew. That sweetness and flavor is telling our body that this is healthy. Mother Nature wants you to eat more of them, because they are good for you. Today, our taste buds are skewed a bit because of the high levels of sugar we consume, but we should crave these fruits and vegetables to satisfy our internal hungers. Each and every one of us has this innate feature. Everything on the planet knows what to eat and how to survive, including us.

There was a study done at a university back in the '90s examining the nutritional density of two salads; both salads had lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onions; one salad from 1940s, the other modern day, and the salad from the 1940s was 40 percent more nutritious. The nutritional density was superior 50-plus years ago; farmers had to use manures and other sustainable sources of fertility. These materials were often made on the farm. As a result the product was healthier all around. The produce was not shipped across the country; it was picked at peak ripeness, the farmer cared about whom he or she was growing for because he knew them, and he or she also cared about the land. Everything was great until we found we could turn this into a real business operation.

Desperate times, desperate measures

We have found ourselves in an awkward and confusing time; I say we are coming to consciousness. Carl Jung once said, "There is no coming to consciousness without pain." This is sad but true. I read a statistic that said that one in three people are affected by cancer, but I am not able to find anyone who does not have a family member or friend who has cancer. For the first time ever, scientists say the next generation has a shorter life expectancy than the previous. More and more people are realizing that the way we have been eating is wrong and that changes need to be made. Now you know my reason "why."

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