Smaller, diversified farms limit the risk
The recent HPAI outbreak is just one of the reasons I continue to push the idea that people, like you and me, should continue to source their food from local growers who raise poultry and other foods on a smaller scale, when possible. This is also why I believe we need to stop protecting, subsidizing, and encouraging the industrial model for food production. There have been at least three recent opportunities to learn the lesson that large corporate models for food production handle catastrophes poorly, with the COVID-19 pandemic and two bird flu outbreaks in the last decade. I don’t know about you, but I do not feel a need for another such lesson.
If we put more people on the land and promoted and supported small-scale, diversified operations, I believe there would be two desirable outcomes:
Prices would stabilize
Our food supply would respond less dramatically to catastrophic events
Farms like ours prefer to set a price that gives us a reasonable margin to cover our expenses. There is no benefit to us or you if we bounce our prices up and down in response to perceived supply and demand. This is food we’re talking about – playing games with pricing is not appropriate. And yet, that’s exactly what happens when profit is the ultimate goal in food production.
When monetary profits are the focus of the food industry rather than the production of healthy, quality food, our food system is set up for failure when difficult times happen. When corporate interests are the driving force in food production rather than fair pricing for edibles produced by people who care for the land and their communities, it is more likely that extreme events will create even more havoc than they already have.