Since the Great Depression (1929-39), farming in the United States was on a steady decline. Big farms remained steady and constant, but the family farm wasn’t as constant. It seemed to dissolve, to grow outmoded with time and grocery store conveniences… That is, until recently. In the US, small farms are on the upswing. Family farms and urban farms are making a comeback, and that’s a great thing because it means people are eating healthy.
The Causes of the Decline in Farming
To help understand the reasons for the comeback, you must first understand what caused the family farm to nearly dissolve in the first place. Small farms were incredibly popular before the Great Depression. This was due to inconveniences in travel (people didn’t live as close to grocery stores as they do today). Families had to go to their own fields to put food on the table.
Another reason behind the lack of farming in the modern world was technology. Technology aided to the production of crops, so more was available in stores as time marched on. And, these convenient new farming machines were too expensive for the poor family farmer. Today that is simply not the case; the family farmer has the Internet and access to the machines needed to effectively and efficiently cultivate a harvest. These machines are more readily available and affordable. For example, you can find used Mahindra tractors for as little as $4,500.
Since money was scarce back in the day, making your own food meant you didn’t have to buy food from a market. Seeds were kept and heir loomed, and used season after season to keep table staples, such as corn, squash, wheat for bread, etc. Because the economy improved so significantly since that time, people learned to rely on businesses to supply their foods. But, it seems people are taking a step back and realizing the value of a dollar and how much money a family farm can save them and that’s where this modern upswing in family farms is coming from.
Because ingredients were raw from the garden, meal preparation took countless hours. This is yet another reason for the decline in family farming. Who had the time to do all that meal prep? Especially in two people working households, finding the time to cook from scratch is difficult. Modern conveniences, such as advancements in farming equipment, have made it easier to grow food and in-house products, such as juicers, canning equipment, and more have made meal prep easier too.
The Reasons More People are turning to Farming
The resurgence is happening for the reasons above, as well because people want their food homegrown and to do more things that connect them to the earth. Living green and doing good are some of the main reasons for today’s increase in family farms.
Colleges and universities are seeing a renewed interest in farming and agriculture. Because of this, more and more agricultural programs are being offered to students. As the students graduate, they set out to establish their own farms.
Finally, a new movement called “Farm to Table” is inspiring businesses, such as grocery stores and restaurants, to engage the family farm. The business purchases fresh ingredients from farmers to entice whole foods shoppers and improve the local economy.
The Future of Farming
While no one knows for sure the future of agriculture, there is always room for prospective farmers looking to build new farms. The Internet has many bloggers devoted to showcasing the benefits of farming, and this inspires new families to take the plunge. At the end of the day, technology is the number one reason there’s been this increase in farming; so, perhaps, it can be hypothesized that as technology improves, so will farming as whole which should inspire more farmers.