There are small farmers who believe they are part of the larger system. However, they make a mistake individually and are not financially viable. If we can organize into large-scale systems with small farms, we can make a difference in the future of agriculture.
Reginald Haslett -Marroquin is a trained agronomist, who immigrated from Guatemala at the age of 25. He and Amy Haslett–Marroquin run a Minnesota chicken farm in a network that includes seven other farmers. He’s quoted in FERN’s last story of the year, “The collective future of American agriculture,” by Dean Kuipers, co-produced with The Nation
Given the growing movement to legalize or create alternatives to concentration in the agricultural industry, the timing of the story was perfect. This has been a theme of FERN for a long time, and we love highlighting those who are trying to change the ag paradigm positively.
However, this work can be problematic as Leanna First Arai discovered when she visited Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay in order to see how energy companies are pushing methane gas production from animal waste as a solution to climate change. She spoke to neighbors who were affected by the noxious emissions of large-scale chicken operations. They also raised concerns about the possibility that the plant, which can theoretically offset greenhouse gas emission, will allow for a production system that produces waste and pollutants along with billions upon billions of pounds chicken meat. This story is the latest in our deep dives into climate change and agriculture, a series which has taken us from Alaska’s Bristol Bay to Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
These stories are collected in an annual magazine-style printed collection. The Dirt: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Food and Agriculture. The 2021 edition is beautifully designed and features stunning photography. You can order the 2021 edition now by making a minimum monthly donation of $5 or a one time gift of $50. We need your support as we attempt to raise $40,000 between now & December 31st so that we can continue our work.
All the best for the holidays! Be safe out there with family and friends.