Rebuilding Food Economies
Across the U.S., the vertical integration and corporate takeover of our agricultural system has dismantled the food processing infrastructure that once supported independent family farms. Consequently, family farmers and ranchers have little or no means of getting their livestock products to market.
In the last few decades, agribusiness has driven multitudes of small farmers and ranchers out of business and into bankruptcy. Without family farming businesses at the heart of rural communities, small-town economies have disintegrated. In many areas, family-scale agriculture has been altogether replaced by commodity crop production and factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
With increasing awareness of the negative impacts of corporate agriculture and CAFOs, more U.S. consumers are choosing to purchase meat and dairy products locally from family farmers and ranchers who raise animals humanely on pasture. This growing trend is driving the movement to rebuild our food system by placing a higher value on animal welfare, financially supporting family farmers, enriching rural communities, and promoting ecologically and socially responsible agriculture.
To facilitate this movement and ensure that the supply of responsibly raised products meets consumer demand, the proper food processing infrastructure must be in place. When processing is restored at local and regional levels, our rural communities and food economies will become more secure. Small towns will begin to flourish again, their main streets will thrive, and new jobs will be created.
To learn more about how SRAP can help you rebuild your food economy, contact us today at (503) 824-7774.