Regardless of one’s opinion about WFM, this distressing story does offer a good teachable glimpse into rough waters ahead.
The somber reality is that many family farmers – for many decades – have found farm stability and safe harbor by selling to Whole Foods. And similarly, many earnest eaters have sought out good food for their families by shopping at WFM.
Our advice for families: develop a relationship with an honest, local Certified Organic farmer and join a buying club or bricks & mortar retail Co-op for needs local farmers can’t provide. Jim, Caleb & Megan
“Whole Foods, which had been AtlantaFresh’s main customer for over a decade, turned out to be both generous patron and cruel master—an industry power broker that helped vault AtlantaFresh from regional specialty to national brand, and ultimately helped ensure its demise. But the dairy’s ruin probably wasn’t about Marks’s product, its pricing, or our appetite for grass-fed milk. It was a matter of bad timing: Whole Foods is undergoing a major shift in its corporate culture, as it moves its sourcing away from regional suppliers and starts focusing more on a centralized purchasing model.”
Results from a major new poll were released today which reveal the VAST MAJORITY OF FARMERS ARE VERY CONCERNED OVER THE PROPOSED MONSANTO MERGER. https://foe.org/…/poll-farmers-overwhelmingly-oppose-bayer…/
Existing Anti-Trust laws need to be enforced and the Monsanto-Bayer merger blocked. A valuable white paper has been written which fleshes out Farmer-Poll results. Bottom line: ratcheted-up Monsanto monopoly control is bad for America. Jim http://foe.org/…/2018-FINAL-White-Paper-with-PAN-3-7-2018.p…
“‘This survey underscores what we’ve been hearing from our farm family members for decades – that overwhelming consolidation has substantially eliminated competition in the marketplace. Four or five firms dictate the prices that farmers pay for their inputs. Family farmers deserve fair prices, choices in what they plant, and the type of market competition that incentivizes firms to compete and innovate for their business. A Bayer-Monsanto merger stands to move each of these factors in the wrong direction, and that is away from competitive markets. Our survey makes it pretty clear that farmers want the merger blocked,’ said Roger Johnson, President of National Farmers Union.”
This map begs the question, how much of rural America’s economic angst and frustration correlates with the ascendancy of low wage employer Walmart?
Economists have explained Maine’s position as the ‘oldest State’ is not so much because we have so many older people as that we have so few younger people.
Could there be a parallel that has Walmart dominating because of job shortfalls in rural America? Jim
A new study in the journal ‘Emotion’ provides reassurance that the most of us who are NOT rich don’t necessarily enjoy LESS happiness. However, our happiness comes in ways different from the rich. Jim
“After all, they wrote, people with money are more insulated from social and environmental threats. That gives them the luxury of being able to focus on their own “internal states and goals” instead of having to worry about other people.
“Those who inhabit the lower classes, on the other hand, often find themselves at the mercy of others. They may be more vulnerable to crime, for instance, or may be forced to send their children to underfunded schools. In their case, the researchers wrote, the best coping strategy is to muddle through together. That requires them to focus on other people instead of just themselves…
“The survey probed people’s happiness by asking about seven distinct positive emotions: amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride. Each emotion was described in a concise sentence, and survey-takers used a 7-point scale to show how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement…
“On the other hand, people with less money were more likely than their richer counterparts to agree with statements that indicated compassion (‘Nurturing others gives me a warm feeling inside’), love (‘I develop strong emotions toward people I can rely on’) and awe (‘I often feel awe’).”
First off, though it was much more diplomatically stated in the article by former USDA National Organic Program (NOP) head Richard Matthews, USDA has a long history of hatred for organic farming. Why? Because for its 100-year history organic farming has been a vociferous, rebellious, soil-based reform movement dedicated to correcting the gigantic errant failures of toxic and now increasingly concentrated modern agriculture. Organic farming has always represented a SERIOUS THREAT to the status quo and the financial prospects of Industrial Ag. Of course, Industrial Ag calls the shots at corporate-captive rogue agency USDA. The fact is, the biggest problem has been a LACK OF WILL at USDA to enforce provisions of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) upon fake “organic” mega corporate operations.
In recent years, a major organic reform effort has been called “Keep the Soil In Organic” (https://www.keepthesoilinorganic.org/). We have been challenging the USDA’s illegal allowance of imposter soil-less multinational corporate Hydroponic produce to be labeled as “organic.” Do note the article’s failure to cover at all the hot-button Hydroponics issue. Could this ‘convenient editing’ be due to Amazon-owner Jeff Bezos, new owner of the ‘Washington Post’, being a MAJOR INVESTOR, along with other billionaires, in the huge soil-less Hydro vertical farm operation called ‘Plenty?’
Yes, increased USDA funding is needed to keep up with double-digit growth of organic. But even more important is for USDA to muster the will to enforce existing organic law. Jim
“Dinner Time for the Thankful.” Circa 1941. Photo of Acadian farm family in Northern Maine by Jack Delano.
WHAT THIS NEW STUDY REVEALS ABOUT HOW THE RICH & 'NON-RICH' EXPERIENCE HAPPINESS. A new study in the journal 'Emotion' provides reassurance that the most of us who are NOT rich don't necessarily enjoy LESS happiness. However, our happiness comes in ways different from the rich. Jim
"After all, they wrote, people with money are more insulated from social and environmental threats. That gives them the luxury of being able to focus on their own “internal states and goals” instead of having to worry about other people.
"Those who inhabit the lower classes, on the other hand, often find themselves at the mercy of others. They may be more vulnerable to crime, for instance, or may be forced to send their children to underfunded schools. In their case, the researchers wrote, the best coping strategy is to muddle through together. That requires them to focus on other people instead of just themselves…
"The survey probed people’s happiness by asking about seven distinct positive emotions: amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride. Each emotion was described in a concise sentence, and survey-takers used a 7-point scale to show how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement…
"On the other hand, people with less money were more likely than their richer counterparts to agree with statements that indicated compassion ('Nurturing others gives me a warm feeling inside'), love ('I develop strong emotions toward people I can rely on') and awe ('I often feel awe')."
Rich people experience happiness in a more self-centered way than poor people, study suggests
Rich people are different from the rest of us — and that includes the way they experience happiness.
SO WHY DO WE HAVE THIS TWINKIE-CARROT CONUNDRUM? I serve with Dr. John Ikerd – respected visionary and retired Ag Economist from Univ of MO – on the Cornucopia Institute's Board of Advisors. We first met maybe 12 years ago when he spoke to a roomful of organic farmers at MOFGA's Farmer-to-Farmer conference in Bar Harbor.
In yet another great MUST READ essay, Dr Ikerd, in his characteristic clear and patient manner, unveils our food system dysfunction and explains why multinational food corporations fight so hard to keep corn and soybean subsidies in place. Don't miss it! JIm
"Prior to the 1970s, federal farm programs existed as a way to keep enough family farmers on the land to provide food security for the nation. The basic strategy was to stabilize farm incomes at levels that would keep farming profitable and food prices affordable. The 1970s brought a dramatic shift, as agricultural efficiency became the goal. The model of choice for accomplishing this new policy objective was industrialization: specialization, standardization, and consolidation of control. Farm programs shifted from stabilizing the farm-food economy to subsidizing the agri-food industry. And the farm bill shifted from supporting food production and distribution to food manufacturing and marketing.
"The primary advantage for row crops like corn and soy over fruits and vegetables is that field crops were easier to industrialize and it was easier to develop farm policies to mitigate the risks inherent in their industrialization…
"Perhaps more important for food manufacturers, government farm programs ensure a stable, as well as abundant, supply of raw materials. Farmers can focus on maximum production with taxpayers absorbing most of the risks of overproduction. This allows food manufacturers to finance continuing expansion without the risk of scarcity or high cost of raw materials.
"By focusing on food items that can minimize the cost of raw material relative to retail value—like Twinkies—the corporation can grow faster than actual food is consumed. It has been easier to add value to cheap corn and soy by making Twinkies than to add value to carrots…"
Twinkies, Carrots, and Farm Policy Reality | Civil Eats
An agricultural economist writes that treating Twinkies and carrots as the beginning and end of farm subsidies discussions distracts from a useful discourse.
EARLIER TODAY AT KATAHDIN WOODS AND WATERS NATIONAL MONUMENT. Photo taken this morning by Mark Picard at the KWWNM front gate next to the Beaver Marsh.
As I drove down to a MOFGA meeting in Unity yesterday morning it was snowing some as I passed through the Katahdin Valley.
As I was returning home last night, the sleet down in Bangor (which had helped one northbound car fly off I-95 into the wooded center median) changed back over to snow this side of the Penobscot River in Medway.
Katahdin is a big enough mountain it creates its own weather. Jim
RECOVERY FROM 'THE GREAT RECESSION' HAS PASSED BY RURAL AMERICA. An article in the 'Daily Yonder' explains the bounce back from the economic meltdown of ten years ago has left rural America behind.
The color-coded map of the nation's 3000 counties tells the story: rural counties in RED have lost jobs big time: 770,000 fewer jobs now compared with ten years ago.
Bottom line, the recovery has been successful for urban America, but the rural divide continues and with it a frustration which manifests itself in political unrest. Jim
"Ten years after the beginning of the great economic depression in December 2007, rural America still hasn’t recovered. Rural counties count 770,000 fewer jobs in October 2017 than they had in 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"A comparison of the geography of jobs in 2007 and October 2017 reveals how unequal the recovery has been. The map above shows whether counties have more or fewer jobs today compared to 2007. Blue counties are in metropolitan areas and have gained jobs in the last ten years. Orange counties are metro areas that have yet to get back to the employment levels before the recession began.
"Green counties are rural and had more jobs this October than they had in 2007. Red counties are rural that have fewer jobs now than before the recession began in 2007…
"Job growth has been particularly concentrated in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. There are just over 9 million more jobs in the U.S. now than in 2007, but 87.5 percent of that gain has been in urban areas of a million or more people."
Two-Thirds of Rural Counties Have Fewer Jobs Today Than in 2007 – Daily Yonder
The number of jobs in rural America increased in the last year, but rural counties remain well below their pre-recession employment level.