We think that the food system is broken, and the manner in which it misleads consumers is disturbed at best.
Huge monocultures crank out massive quantities of generic, bland commodities that are lacking in nutrients and are often sprayed with a cocktail of chemicals. Soils become depleted and eroded. Chemicals are over-applied. Genetically modified crops, altered for things like immunity to pesticides, simply result in even stronger weeds – and further modification for stronger pesticides – in an increasing cycle. Natural genetic variation in crops is lost as only a few varieties are focused upon, and alternative seed stocks age from neglect or become contaminated by these expensive newcomer varieties around them.
Animals are crammed together by the thousands, becoming ill and stressed. They are given antibiotics regularly, even when not sick, contributing to rising antibiotic resistance shown in human illnesses as well. Cattle are fed diets they did not evolve to eat, aiding in the development of virulent microbes like E. Coli 0157:H7. In commercial slaughterhouses, live animals are sometimes bled, scalded, or dismembered alive due to improper practices. Thrashing creatures may kick or fall on employees, too, not to mention mistreatment of migrant workers and other human rights abuses.
Some people have come around to the idea of organic, chemical-free, or ‘natural’, healthful food. Because of this, many food manufacturers and processors have taken to abusing various terms to make their products appear better than they really are. You are offered pictures of picturesque farms when the reality is more akin to a factory. You can easily find find ‘all natural’ stickered on ground beef that was raised eating corn in a feedlot, was injected with multiple drugs, and had its meat mixed with the meat of hundreds of other cows from 7 different countries (and this mix may very well have been treated with ammonia, done to reduce its enormous bacterial load, before getting to you). You will find ‘cage free’ plastered on eggs that were laid by hens packed on the floor of a dank poultry house; such hens may never be let outside and are left with only a few square feet of space each if they’re lucky.
We started out by simply trying to grow and feed ourselves as much of our own whole, nutritious food as we could. It has saved us a great deal of money in exchange for just a little time. Not everyone has the skills, space, or means to produce their own food, though. There has been a great shift to urban living, and at the same time, many small farms have been driven out of business as costs skyrocket, prices stagnate or fall, and elderly farmers pass away without heirs (or at least, without any that want to inherit all the work and trial of a farm).
While we know that we alone cannot feed the world, we do our best to promote support of local agriculture and community, and we also supply our family and friends with healthful alternatives to grocery store products. Recently, this has expanded along with our desire to do more. We operate a roadside produce stand for the duration of the summer, and also take bulk orders for pickup. We have branched out into producing maple syrup, and raise pastured chickens for their eggs. We also steward seed of dozens of rare varieties of crops, with a heavy focus on NY/PA native corn and beans. Another plan is to increase work on a small orchard that will hopefully offer u-pick in the future. Also in planning are informational/educational sessions about foraging, canning, and other like skills.
We welcome those with questions, and thank everyone that has given us a shot or supported us so far in the beginnings of this journey. Even if you do not buy from us, please support your local farms and economy! They are lost without you.