Sustainable agriculture and rural poverty
The other day, I happened across a blog posting from the wonderful National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, highlighting a new report on rural poverty, especially childhood poverty. This issue resounds with me, as it echoes my own childhood. I grew up in a rural area and I wanted nothing more than to leave. Even at a young age, I felt a deep conflict brewing- my gut said leave, and my heart said, "Stay. Make it better here." I don't want young people to have to make that choice: opportunity or a rural life. Rural areas deserve equal opportunity. The data is clear- rural poverty is high and persists over decades. Rural areas do not have the same opportunity for advancement as urban and suburban areas. Geographic isolation, inadequate technology access, and lack of respect for rural culture all feed the problem. However, all is not lost. Sustainable agriculture shows promise for real, permanent economic development for rural areas. By selling directly to consumers, farmers keep a greater share of their income while building the strong relationships that withstand economic storms. A farm business that reckons deeply with what it means to grow food over the long term- over a century- builds something stronger and more resilient. Sustainable agriculture feeds the solution.
Farm Commons is here because of this reason. We work to build strong, resilient farm businesses that improve economic opportunity for all rural residents.