Category cane creek

Feeding the Masses

Some people ask me if small farms can produce enough food to feed the world. Asking this question lets me know they’ve already been inoculated with the idea that they can’t. The current industrial food system is good at messaging, and they’ve been successful in proliferating this misconception. In addition, I’m not alone in my feelings. Most of my information comes from this report which was submitted to the UN General Assembly Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter.

According to the FAO the world currently produces enough food to feed everyone. In fact, we produce 17% more food than we need right now. However, starvation and malnutrition is happening in developed and developing countries. Thus the problem lies not in production, but in distribution and access to food. It is an economic problem whereby the poorest people in the world don’t have the resources to obtain adequate nutrition. In addition, if food production were the underlying factor, if you think that we produce all this excess now because of the big corps, “The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimates that, even accounting for the energy value of the meat produced, the loss of calories that result from feeding cereals to animals instead of using cereals directly as human food represents the annual calorie need for more than 3.5 billion people.” (UN Report) In other words, we could feed half the world simply by not feeding grain to animals (corn to cows, pigs and chickens). Many small farms do feed grain, but the more sustainable ones don’t and don’t have to (buy 100% grass-fed beef for the love of God!).

Finally, “only by supporting small producers can we help break the vicious cycle that leads from rural poverty to the expansion of urban slums, in which poverty breeds more poverty.” (UN Report) The poorest people in the world, the ones that are starving, are FARMERS. Supporting localized, sustainable food systems around the world means funneling money towards the people that need it in order to buy food. You might think it strange that farmers don’t have access to food, but many of these farmers don’t actually own the food they grow. They work for corporations, which own the crop that is barely edible anyway for people (feed grade corn is not the sweet corn of late summer). If we buy more food from small farmers we empower them to grow a more diverse crop, increase their profit and our money comes back through the local economy in the form of jobs (construction, labor, mechanics, trucking).

Feeding the masses means getting money into the pockets of the world’s poorest people. It requires the redistribution of wealth from the few to the many. It requires the re-education of two generations of non-farmers and the establishment of a supportive farm economy. It requires the support of friends and family, community, to keep the few struggling farms we have. Go to your farmers markets, buy food from farmers you know and help feed the world’s hungry, improve the local economy and feed yourself real, healthy food. Not only that, but you will feel awesome too.

Rose and Morris

Two new piglets scooped up over the weekend. The weather is pretty chilly and an old sow that might become sausage pretty soon had a rough go at farrowing in the middle of the night. She had 6 pigs and only two were left alive after the first 24 hours. I popped them in my jacket during morning chores and after a warm bath the two were walking and whining like normal. They are a boy and a girl, named after my great aunt and uncle. They were much appreciative of the warm snuggles on these cold days.

Rose on top, Morris underneath there somewhere

The Holiday Feast

Christmas (and other holidays) is upon us. Malls are playing music, shopping is getting crazy, cards are flying around and, most importantly, families are getting together to share love, gifts and food. As we start planning our parties and dinners, please consider getting some delicious local meat from a farm near you. Cane Creek Farm offers hams, shoulders and pork chop racks which would be perfect for a holiday feast. Also consider a lamb roast or cooking whole beef tenderloins or ribeyes. Those steaks you buy at restaurants are just little slices of the whole 6-10 pound cut that you could roast all at once and cut into little juicy portions for your guests. We will also be offering a couple geese this holiday and more turkeys.

In my opinion, the holidays are about enriching our community. Plan your meals and your gifts around supporting that community. Eating local food and shopping at local small businesses is the best thing we can do for our economy. And right now, the economy still sucks for a lot of folks. Shopping at big box stores and mega-chains only sends your money abroad, empowering other nations while diminishing our own. If you can put money into your neighbor’s pocket while getting a great gift or cooking a meal for a loved one, you’ve made two people happy this Christmas.

Chickens and Pigs

They get along so well. These are my hens visiting a new mama in the barn. The chickens eat fly larvae and other bugs plus stray pig feed around the barn every day. They help keep it clean while depositing little nitrogen-rich poops all over the place.

That's mohawk with mama hen's boys

Mini Burgers

This is what glasshalfull does with our ground beef. They are adorable and delicious. Kudos to the executive chef, Adam Cobb, who comes by every market to pick his meat up personally.

Bess on a break

I’m walking our biggest ossabaw sow, bess, to the barn today so she can farrow (give birth) in peace. Here she is taking a cool-down break in one of our ponds.

Red Jungle Fowl

We have many chickens on the farm here, many of which are the product of barnyard in-breeding, mutt-making and the freedom to choose their mates. Since the owners have always been interested in heritage and endangered breeds, we also have many old-timey and rare breeds from different parts of the world. I believe, from all this, we have spawned a few red-jungle fowl chickens. Red jungle fowl are the original chicken. They are like the rock pigeon or the wolf, who each gave birth through genetic manipulation (natural and unnatural alike) to all our breeds of doves and dogs. This makes me pretty excited, to have a wild chicken like that on the farm. I’m hoping to isolate this rooster (below) and get him and mama hen together to breed the most wild-ass chicks. Aside from their charm, I’m hoping these jungle birds forage like hell and make some good meat birds and laying hens.

Triple Hump

Our pigs are hilarious. I think these are all boys.

Lamb head butt

We started breeding our sheep this week which means sorting out the fit mothers and creating two groups. Sheep gestate for 150 days and we want babies in the spring for good grass and warm weather. I set up a corral for the sheep in the summer and although it works really well, I managed to get a nice shiner from a one-year old trying to leap over my head. Once again being short hurts.

Snuggly Pigs

The only real weakness pigs have is for cold and wet. They get pneumonia if they don’t have a warm, dry place to sleep. We accomplish that with tin huts and the pigs keep it dry inside with their body heat. These two pregnant mamas are belly-to-belly in a toasty hut on this rainy morning.

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