Today is Thursday, June 11, 2020, also known as, National Corn on the Cob Day. There is no more fitting day for a guy from Iowa than this one! June seems a bit early for a celebration of corn on the cob (it usually isn’t ready for picking and eating until August). Still, any day is a good day for corn on the cob when you can get it…especially if it is fresh picked.
in praise of corn on the cob and small family farms
As a kid, I don’t think I ever ate corn on the cob that wasn’t fresh picked from the garden. It was a staple in our family garden and a wonderful summer treat. We had a very large garden. It was a lot of work but it yielded most of our vegetables for the winter once they were canned. I remember there were lots of tomato plants, cabbage, rows of leafy lettuce, potatoes, carrots, green beans, rhubarb, and strawberries. Unfortunately, I also remember tomato worms. They still creep me out.
In those days my family rarely went to grocery stores, except to get flour, sugar, spices, and coffee. Our hogs, cattle, chickens, geese, goats, sheep, and garden provided everything else.
That is what it was like to live on a small Midwestern family farm in that era. We produced enough to feed ourselves and any extra was shared with neighbors. In the case of eggs and cream, they could be sold for a little extra cash.
The shifting of the U.S. economy from agrarian to industrial meant a lot of changes. Farms were industrialized too with the introduction of corporate farming. Small family farms couldn’t compete. As a result many disappeared and others became part of a corporate farm. A few, with a little help from some pretty big loans, simply became corporate farms.
Our journey to the grocery store yesterday, for the first time since March, was striking because of the absence of many items. As the pandemic wears on, my fear is that we will continue to see a growing shortage of groceries and an escalation in price. Part of the shortage is related to over-production on coroporate farms. The “just in time” corporate supply chain of farm to table is dependent on that chain remaining unbroken. When it breaks, as it did this Spring, the corporate farms can suddenly have too much product on their hands that they can’t move even if they could sell it. As a result, they end up dumping milk, euthanizing animals, and plowing under fields of vegetables and fruit. At the same time, thousands, if not millions, across the country are food insecure and going hungry.
It is unlikely that small family farms could have managed to meet the demand brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic any better than the corporate farms of today. However, small family farming operates under a different spirit that says we’ll not only feed ourselves, but we’ll make sure our neighbors have food too. This “can do” spirit seems absent in corporate farming except in a few exceptional cases.
Can we see a few more of those exceptional corporate farmers step up, please? People, including children, are getting hungry out here.
speaking of creepy things…
TravelFuntu! just appeared in my Twitter feed today with an absolutely irresistible promise, The Most Terrifying Images Captured by A Drone. When you navigate to the site, you find a slightly different title that has a mild calming effect, Scary Images Captured by Drone. Twitter did oversell the images but they are scary, especially as you consider what was happening in may of the photos that people in them just didn’t see. I also found the photos mesmerizing and meditative. You’ll do a lot of scrolling to see each of the photos but it is worth it. Let me know what you think.
Chickenman – Episode 55
Chickenman is duped into joining a protest against the Midland City Library, conveniently located across the street from the Police Commissioner’s office.