This post has nothing to do with atheism, and it doesn't fit into any group. So I'll just add it here.

As some of you may know, my daughter and her husband (Emily and Nate) operate an organic vegetable (mostly) farm. Tillable land is about 100 acres, so it's fairly large.

For close to 10 years they've been taking their produce to farmers markets on Saturday mornings. They started with one, then expanded to three. They're back to one, and after this year, there will be none. Zero. Why?

The number one reason is that they're not making any money. Business is not good enough to pay for labor and cost of machinery. It takes time and people (at $10-$12/hour) to grow and harvest vegetables. Fridays are spent loading the trucks (2). They leave the farm at 4:30 AM, unload and set up their booth, sell for 5 hours, take down the stand and reload the truck, drive an hour back to the farm, and unload what they didn't sell, most of which goes to compost.

People don't realize how much time, effort and cost it takes to do a farmers market. Yes, the theory behind it is great: fresh non-sprayed food straight from the farm. The problem is, there are not enough customers to make it worthwhile! "Green" people talk the talk but don't walk the walk. It's very discouraging to do all that hard work and watch people simply walk through without buying anything.

Because of a lack of business, one by one, each market has been dropped. The last and best "big one", in Indianapolis, will soon be history for Silverthorn Farm of Rossville Indiana.

It's not the end of the organic farm business, however. While CSA (community sustainable agriculture) sales are not very large and profitable either, it's another market. (That particular project is another subject of suspect. Deliveries are difficult, customers cheat, etc.)

The "savior" of the whole operation is restaurant sales. Much, if not most, of the vegetables go to Indianapolis restaurants. So indirectly, people are buying tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, etc., by ordering salads and pizzas.

Perhaps it's just Indiana. Unlike Oregon and other "liberal" states, Indiana is pretty backwards and behind times (think VP candidate Mike Pence). Nate and Emily are not giving up on their dream farm. They are only facing reality and,consequently, altering their options.

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Comment by jay H on September 18, 2016 at 6:32pm

Ultimately the cost of things is directly related to the labor involved. Labor intensive production, whether food, clothes, furnishings, whatever will always be a niche market, which gets most of its income from wealthy customers.

To actually feed the billions on the planet who are not rich, we need a different level of productivity.

Comment by Idaho Spud on September 16, 2016 at 6:21am

I think this post would have been appropriate under Godless in the Garden.

Comment by Idaho Spud on September 16, 2016 at 6:20am

Too bad about your kids loosing money at farmer's markets.  Hope they do well with restaurants.

Comment by Donald L. Engel on September 5, 2016 at 11:12pm

I know the feeling,  My wife and I sold produce and plants at our local farmer's market for 7 years.  It was a hobby, because we never did make a profit.  And it was a good market.  The board members would visit each seller's property to make sure it was their produce, and for the very few crafters we allowed in, we would go to their home, or work place to ensure it was they who were making the product.  All products had to be grown, or made, in our county.  We do allow one produce trucker to bring in produce from Yakima, because no one local offers enough product for large sales for canning and freezing.  The market is shrinking, but it is still a good market for local growers.

Comment by Michael Penn on September 4, 2016 at 8:12pm

I see a lot of problems like that in my area and I love a farmers market. We have people set up to sell stuff on the weekend but it has all gotten slower in the last few years.



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