The Slow Death Of The Small Farm


Looking over the latest USDA report, Ryan O’Hanlon learns that most small farmers lose money and are forced to hustle on the side:

The more-interesting part of this and what appears to be a big part of the side hustle for many farms is “agrotourism” and things like “on-farm cafes, restaurants, and dining rooms for special farm dinners … classes, tours, U-picks, and venues for weddings and family reunions.” As in: farmers are making money by having people watch them do the thing that no longer makes them any money. People want to see farmers farm or they want to get married on a farm or they want to drink freshly-squeezed (?) milk, so they go to a farm and pay for those things. But they only come because of some attraction to “the idea of the farm,” which, itself, is a dying thing—except, the people also wouldn’t come if it wasn’t a dying/outdated/different concept because society would be radically different if the small farm was a booming business and then the nostalgia-tourism aspect wouldn’t even exist. It’s a weird loop, and one that probably can’t last forever.

Which means it won’t. Which means more potential horrors like these.

(Photo from a Brunty Farms tour by Edsel Little)