“In America, the big get bigger and the small get out,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced to a crowd of dairy farmers a year ago.
This march toward “progress” has been the steady underlying theme of our country’s relationship with agriculture and land use. From the “settling” of the west, to the destruction of the prairies, to the broad adoption of industrial models of producing food, farming looks nothing like the Jeffersonian agrarian vision of a democracy centered around the small farmer.
But this “progress” has failed society and the environment. Economic externalities such as social and ecological health have been thrown by the wayside in this race for highest yields, advanced technology and corporate profits.