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Home > Feature Articles > Agriculture & Organic Production

The Rise of 'New Agriculture' affects producers and consumers

The 'new agriculture' is being driven by consumer concerns about health and global impact of moving food thousands of miles.

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New Agriculture Divesifies into Off-Farm Occupations and Businesses

Global shifts are happening in how people want to get their food. The New Farm reports that depressed prices for bulk grain commodities, mad cow disease, droughts, pests, and the long food pipeline are casting a long shadow across the farm sector.

A "New Agriculture" is emerging from this farm crisis.

Farm families are changing their approach to farming and have diversified into off-farm occupations and businesses. More than half of farm family income now comes from non-farm sources.

Pension Farmers, Lifestyle Farmers, Second Career Farmers

Pension farmers, lifestyle farmers and second career farmers are on the increase. Food retailers are also changing. A renewed emphasis is being placed on local food and social responsibility. In Canada, the UK, and states across the US, retailers are dedicating more shelf space to local produce.

Organic Farming Trends

Even Wal-Mart is changing. In May, 2005 they announced dedicated shelf space for organic foods. What's next...local food?

Fair trade products are gaining ground. It's part of the social responsibility movement. Even governments are changing how they view the food chain. Environmentalism and sustainable development are entering the equations. The total impact of food miles is more than cost, every transportation mile adds to carbon dioxide loads...whether by car, air, rail, ship or truck.

Local and Organic Food Production and Sourcing

As people eat at restaurants more the pressure is being put on chefs to use local sources for the freshest, most socially sustainable ingredients.

In Southern California, we are blessed with local Farmers' markets and many restaurants that shop these same markets and make arrangements with local (or at least regional) farmers for their ingredients.

Ask. By asking for local and organic foods, you can stir up an interest and awareness that consumers are interested in the food supply chain that is the foundation of health practices. And you might even discover that your favorite restaurant has dishes made with local, organic produce! What a treat!

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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