Dan Barber: Is the locavore trend reviving local farmers?

Question: Is the locavore trend reviving local farmers?

Dan Barber: Well you know yeah. I mean there’s . . . right. There’s a whole movement for knowing where your food is coming from and making sure that it’s within this kind of food shed that’s, you know, what, 200 miles or 300 miles? The definitions seem to change, but “local” is a broad term for knowing more about where your food is coming from and having it be from, you know, a car ride away. Is it making a difference? I mean in the last 10 years, the number of farmer’s markets has exploded by something like 80 percent. So it’s making a huge difference. In fact I would make the argument that the small, local farm . . . family farm is doing quite well. It’s a booming business because people like you are suddenly asking me those questions, and there’s a consciousness about it. There’s a need for it. The other end of the spectrum is the big, mega farms with these huge economies of scale again in distribution, not in production and distribution. They’re also doing quite well. It’s the ones in the middle that are struggling quite a bit – the ones who are too big. They’re 500 acres and they’re too big to pack up a pickup truck and go to a farmer’s market, but they’re too small to compete in the mega food chain. Those are the ones that are being squeezed, and by some estimates that’s where 85 percent of our farmland is. And that’s where . . . That’s where the challenge is for this for the future. So chefs like me can talk ‘til we’re blue in the face about local food and supporting small family farms. That’s great, and it’s where a lot of flavor and diversity is for sure, and a lot of great ecological stewardship. But it’s not the answer to this whole thing. The answer is much more systemic. And it’s much more political because it ends up influencing how the Farm Bill is written and other legislation. And tax incentives . . . All of that gets played out on a political level when you get into big farming, and that’s really what feeds this country. The small family farm . . . farmer’s market is two percent of . . . of what we eat. It’s very small; very small. So when you get into, you know, big institutions like school lunch programs, hospitals, healthcare, like you get into real food where . . . where that’s what’s threatened, is where . . . which direction . . . Do we really wanna go mega farms and importing more and more of our food? Or do we wanna preserve these mid-sized ... family farms that have been around for generations and are really struggling in this new food world?

 

Its the mid-size farmer thats getting squeezed, Barber says.

Live on Thursday: Learn innovation with 3-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn

Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live this Thursday at 1pm ET.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

US, Russia, China won't join global initiative to offer fair access to COVID-19 vaccines. Why not?

The U.S., China, and Russia are in a "vaccine race" that treats a global challenge like a winner-take-all game.

Coronavirus
  • More than 150 countries have joined an initiative to develop, produce, and fairly distribute an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But China, Russia, and the U.S. have declined to join in a bid to win the vaccine race.
  • The absence of these three economies risks the success of the global initiative and future collaborations.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Being in a frisky mood may improve your chances in the dating world

    Positive, romantic thoughts could produce positive, romantic outcomes while dating.

    Credit: 4 PM production on Shutterstock
    Sex & Relationships
    • Fear of rejection, self-doubt, and anxiety are just some of the obstacles humans need to overcome to make a meaningful, romantic connection with another person.
    • According to a 2020 project by a group of psychologists at the University of Rochester (and the Israeli-based Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya), humans see possible romantic partners as a lot more attractive if they go into the interaction with a "sexy mindset."
    • Across three separate studies, this team discovered that this sexual activation helps people initiate relationships by inducing them to project their desires onto prospective partners.
    Keep reading Show less

    A new minimoon is headed towards Earth, and it’s not natural

    Astronomers spot an object heading into Earth orbit.

    Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Paitoon Pornsuksomboon/Shutterstock/Big Think
    Surprising Science
  • Small objects such as asteroids get trapped for a time in Earth orbit, becoming "minimoons."
  • Minimoons are typically asteroids, but this one is something else.
  • The new minimoon may be part of an old rocket from the 1960s.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Study reveals alarming link between binge-drinking and anxiety

    New research conducted on mice suggests repeated heavy drinking causes synaptic dysfunctions that lead to anxiety.

    Credit: Pixabay
    Mind & Brain
    • The study was conducted on mice, who were given the equivalent of five drinks daily for 10 days.
    • Images of the alcoholic mice brains showed synaptic dysfunctions related to microglia (immune cells in the brain).
    • The results suggest that regulating TNF, a signaling protein related to systemic inflammation, may someday play a part in treating alcohol addiction.
    Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast