A decade ago, critics suggested biotech crops would not be valuable in the developing world. Now 90 percent of farmers who benefit are resource-poor farmers in developing countries. These helped alleviate 7.7 million subsistence farmers in China, India, South Africa, the Philippines from abject poverty.
The most agreeable thing in life is worthy accomplishment. It is not possible that the idle tramp is as contented as the farmers along the road who own their own farms, and whose credit is good at the bank in town. When the tramps get together at night, they abuse the farmers, but do not get as much satisfaction out of it as do the farmers who abuse the tramps. The sounder your argument, the more satisfaction you get out of it.
E. W. Howe
If farmers become weak the country loses self-reliance but if they are strong, freedom also becomes strong. If we do not maintain our progress in agriculture, poverty cannot be eliminated from India.But our biggest poverty alleviation programme is to improve the living standard of our farmers. The thrust of our poverty alleviation programmes is on the uplift of the farmers.
Twelve thousand years ago, everybody on earth was a hunter-gatherer; now almost all of us are farmers or else are fed by farmers. The spread of farming from those few sites of origin usually did not occur as a result of the hunter-gatherers' elsewhere adopting farming; hunter-gatherers tend to be conservative.... Instead, farming spread mainly through farmers' outbreeding hunters, developing more potent technology, and then killing the hunters or driving them off of all lands suitable for agriculture.
Twelve thousand years ago, everybody on earth was a hunter-gatherer; now almost all of us are farmers or else are fed by farmers. The spread of farming from those few sites of origin usually did not occur as a result of the hunter-gatherers' elsewhere adopting farming; hunter-gatherers tend to be conservative... Instead, farming spread mainly through farmers' outbreeding hunters, developing more potent technology, and then killing the hunters or driving them off of all lands suitable for agriculture.
At the time I was writing 'Weedflower,' my friend Naomi Hirahara was writing a book about Japanese-American flower farmers. She knew quite a few elderly farmers and put me in touch with four or five of them who had been in camps during WWII. Some, like my father, were reluctant to talk about their experiences.
Family farmers are small farmers who love the land. They're still not getting enough money for their product and are rapidly losing their battle to stay in business. By helping the American family farmer, we will in turn help ourselves out of the economic hole that we find ourselves in today. It doesn't really matter how we got here; the point is, we have to dig our way out.
Often, farmers have difficulty finding secondary markets for their outgrades and have no choice but to leave fresh produce unharvested to rot in the field. Gleaning Network U.K. coordinates teams of volunteers with willing farmers across the U.K. to direct this fresh surplus produce to charities that redistribute it to people that need it most.
There aren't many berry bushes where I'm from." "And just where would that be?" His hand paused on a berry like it was a monumental decision whether to pluck it or not. He finally pulled and explained he was from a small town in the southernmost part of Morringhan. When I asked the name, he said it was very small and had no name... "A town with no name? Really? How very odd." I waited for him to scramble, and he didn't disappoint me. "It's only a region. A few scattered dwellings at most. We're farmers there. Mostly farmers. And you? Where are you from?"... I took the berry still poised in his fingers and popped it in my mouth. Where was I from? I narrowed my eyes and smiled. "A small town in the northernmost part of Morrighan. Mostly farmers. Only a regions, really. A few scattered dwellings. At most. No name." He couldn't restrain a chuckle. "Then we come from opposite but similar worlds, don't we?
Mary E. Pearson
Go to the farmers market and buy food there. You'll get something that's delicious. It's discouraging that this seems like such an elitist thing. It's not. It's just that we have to pay the real cost of food. People have to understand that cheap food has been subsidized. We have to realize that it's important to pay farmers up front, because they are taking care of the land.
As to the latter point - that by having a child in America you are somehow starving a child in Bangladesh - remember that agricultural economics is not a zero-sum game. Farmers want to make a living, so as demand increases, so does production. Not only that, but agricultural productivity has increased so rapidly that in some countries the government pays farmers not to plant crops in an effort to keep food prices from dropping.
Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land's inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.
Plant genetic resources are seldom 'raw materials'; they are the expression of the current wisdom of farmers who have played a highly significant role in the building up of the world's genetic resource base... As is already happening in my country, farmers and national genebanks in developing countries can work together to preserve and expand crop genetic diversity on behalf of all humanity.
Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: "Love. They must do it for love." Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.
Most people no longer believe that buying sneakers made in Asian sweatshops is a kindness to those child laborers. Farming is similar. In every country on earth, the most human scenario for farmers is likely to be feeding those who live nearby-if international markets would allow them to do it. Food transport has become a bizarre and profitable economic equation that's no longer really about feeding anyone ... If you care about farmers, let the potatoes stay home.
An environmentalist can oppose factory farming because it's reckless stewardship. A conservative can oppose factory farming because it is destructive to small farmers and to the decent ethic of husbandry those farmers live by. A religious person can oppose factory farming because it is degrading to both man and animal - an offense to God.
I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field. They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people'""not a word! Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.
Fair Trade is a market-based, entrepreneurial response to business as usual: it helps third-word farmers developing direct market access as well as the organizational and management capacity to add value to their products and take them directly to the global market. Direct trade, a fair price, access to capital and local capacity-building, which are the core strategies of this model, have been successfully building farmers' incomes and self-reliance for more than 50 years.
I cleaned the shit off my pink high-tops and drove home, stopping for an espresso at the coffeehouse across from the college. Men and women were hunched over copies of Jean Paul Sartre and writing in their journals. Most wore the thin-rimmed tortoiseshell glasses favored by intellectuals. Their clothes were faded to a precisely fashionable degree; you can buy them that way from catalogs now, new clothes processed to look old. The intellectuals looked at me in my overalls the way such people inevitably look at farmers. I dumped a lot of sugar in my espresso and sipped it delicately at a corner table near the door. I looked at them the way farmers look at intellectuals.
Mary Rose O'Reilley
Some of the most memorable, and least regrettable, nights of my own youth were spent in coon hunting with farmers. There is no denying that these activities contributed to the economy of farm households, but a further fact is that they were pleasures; they were wilderness pleasures, not greatly different from the pleasures pursued by conservationists and wilderness lovers. As I was always aware, my friends the coon hunters were not motivated just by the wish to tree coons and listen to hounds and listen to each other, all of which were sufficiently attractive; they were coon hunters also because they wanted to be afoot in the woods at night. Most of the farmers I have known, and certainly the most interesting ones, have had the capacity to ramble about outdoors for the mere happiness of it, alert to the doings of the creatures, amused by the sight of a fox catching grasshoppers, or by the puzzle of wild tracks in the snow.
I see a role for specialized knowledge, but I think that it's important for there to be an arena where it is shared, where it is communicated. It's not that somebody shouldn't have specialized knowledge. The ability to dig a trench and lay a cable is a kind of specialized knowledge. Farmers have specialized knowledge, too. The question is: what sort of knowledge is privileged in our societies? I don't think that a CEO is more valuable to society and ought to be paid ten million dollars a year, while farmers and laborers starve. The range of what is valued has become so extreme that one lot of people have captured it and left three-quarters of the world to live in unthinkable poverty, because their work is not valued. What would happen if the sweepers of the city went on strike or the sewage system didn't work? A CEO wouldn't be able to deal with his own shit.