As we mentioned last week, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) disparaged small and organic farmers yesterday during Secretary of Agriculture-nominee Tom Vilsack’s confirmation hearing, claiming small farmers don’t produce real food. Roberts described the typical small farmer as "about 5′2″…and he's a retired airline pilot and sits on his porch on a glider reading Gentleman's Quarterly — he used to read the Wall Street Journal but that got pretty drab — and his wife works as stock broker downtown. And he has 40 acres, and he has a pond and he has an orchard and he grows organic apples. Sometimes there is a little more protein in those apples than people bargain for, and he's very happy to have that."
The Ethicurean had a brilliant idea, asking folks to contribute photos of small and organic farmers on Flickr and tag them to create a giant photo album of small farmers. Which got us to thinking about our own Farmer Heroes campaign, which asked Farm Aid fans to upload photos and stories about their farmer heroes at www.farmaid.org/farmerheroes. So here’s a note we’re sending to Senator Roberts to let him know that we’ve got plenty of small farmers for him to meet!
Dear Senator Roberts,
Farm Aid thinks that you might be interested in meeting some "small farmers," so we'd like to introduce you to Farm Aid's Farmer Heroes (www.farmaid.org/farmerheroes). The photos you see there are of farmers who were nominated as heroes because they do something even more valuable than growing a few organic apples. These people are rebuilding our food system, bringing good local food with values to their communities, nurturing us--body and soul.
These small farmers are heroes and they're the people we work for every day. We bet a few of them would even invite you out to their farm to show you what a real small farm looks like and how much food (and how many different kinds of food!) a real small farm produces. We'd be happy to help arrange that for you.