Local Produce and Food Security

Warm weather and sun are here and produce is sprouting all over Indiana, including our first commercial sized lettuce crop! Orders are coming in from our larger wholesale customers, and product will soon be available to our retail customers as well! Our distribution network and alliance of farmers have come a long way sine they first began, and it’s wonderful to start being able to maximize efficiencies on both sides and see  how much volume small farms can really produce, and the demand they can meet when they pool their product together. Even though we pool product in order to meet large orders, we still take the time to ensure 100% traceability and give credit to the farmer by listing the farmers name on every one of our labels.

Seeing the volume we can move through a relatively small operation never ceases to amaze me. Indiana is a great agricultural state, with the ability to grow many varieties of food. We’re the 14th largest agricultural state in the country, and yet we still import roughly 95% of our food from out of state. We are capable of feeding ourselves, why don’t we?

Food security is a serious issue in the U.S., though very few people are aware of it. Yet, we hear the symptoms of this crisis all the time. The big peanut butter withdraw just a few years ago is a prime example. Peanut butter across the country was recalled because contaminants were found in one processing facility. California and Texas are both experiencing drought, and the vast majority of the countries lettuce (among many other crops) are located in these two states. What happens if these crops fail due to the drought?

Diversified local agriculture is the best way to ensure food security, and that is exactly what we support at This Old Farm. We believe that the most secure food system is a food system that can support itself on the local level. By supporting several local operations rather than a few national operations, you can ensure that a failure in one location will not impose a threat on any majority. Indiana and the mid-west can be self sustaining, Indiana and the mid-west can feed itself, and we’re pushing to see that happen.

Conner Smith