Which is better: a foot, or a person?
Most of us would instantly recognize this as a ridiculous question. Yet, the same question is asked frequently about “local” agriculture and “mainstream” agriculture. Far too often, people think that this is an either/or proposition. Which is better? How do we choose? The good news is that we don’t have to. One is a part of the whole. Feet can not exist without a person. A person can exist without feet, but is clearly not better off for it. Local agriculture supports new markets, experiments with new crops, and builds relationships between farmers and their urban and suburban neighbors. It has an important role, but it exists within a larger body of farming activities. Mainstream farming does not require small-scale local farming, but it is strengthened by its existence. While much of our business is still in the mainstream channels, I am a firm believer in the value of local. When we strengthen a part, we strengthen the whole.