There was a time in my life when you could call a store and sell them fresh produce. Those were the good old days. But corporate America, the FDA, and USDA have created an exceptional number of barriers, regulations, and paperwork for farmers in recent years.
We didn't lace up our boots to push paper. We laced up to grow food. Good food. Healthy food.
People wonder why supermarket produce doesn't have a taste anymore. Maybe because it wasn't nurtured. It comes with a sticker and barcode in a refrigerator truck from 1,000-plus miles away.
Food safety and all this paperwork is to cover and insulate stores and corporate farms from the mishaps and unpredictability of a giant malfunctioning food system.
It isn’t the small grower down the road that ever gets anyone sick. It's the 1,000-acre industrial lettuce farm that sells old lettuce tainted with E. coli. There's thousands of strains of E. coli everywhere. Even within us.
I sympathize with the sick consumer. I empathize with the poor farmer.
The problem isn’t the small grower who can't afford a team of legal assassins and secretaries to keep track of paperwork, certificates, insurance, and third-party audits - but it has become our mess.
A farmer's market shopper recently told me that our melons are a religious experience! Another called our zucchini the best they've ever had. Freaking zucchini! Our produce is great! Soil, water, and sunlight is all it takes.
For now, I laugh and remain optimistic. Because nothing makes this rebel’s face light up more than handing a melon to a faithful friend or customer. We both smile. They think about dinner. I think about how I tiptoed around the industrial food supply and fed someone without ever lifting a pen.
Get to a farmers’ market and get your food independence back!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The son of King's Crown Organics owner Nate Jones, Wilder Jones grew up on the family's diversified row-crop farm - one of the first certified organic in Idaho. Read more about Wilder and his views on farming here.