The Big Ag Industry is focused on profit. This is why North America produces nearly a fifth of the world's food, but food insecurity affects more than 1-in-10 inhabitants. In the United States, 11% of the population struggles to get enough food to satisfy their nutritional needs. In Canada, the figure is 12% and in Mexico, it is as high as 17%.
At the same time people go hungry, about half of all new farmers and ranchers in North America go out of business in less than ten years. Their land is acquired by large corporate enterprises, who depending on the sector, now control between 50% and 80% of all food production. And these figures are made much more alarming by corporations that render small farmers and ranchers dependent on them for seeds, fertilizer, equipment, repairs, buying and selling, insurance, and more.
These pressures are forcing smallholders to turn to increasingly intense methods of production to stay in business year-after-year. But those methods are unsustainable. They deplete the soil, force reliance on petrochemicals and pesticides, destroy biodiversity, and contaminate water supplies. Even then, many of these intensive operations are doomed to fail under natural and economic forces beyond their control.
But what if there was a way for smallholders to fight back? And what is the solution wasn't more chemicals, or more intensive labor, but instead quite the opposite? What if the solution is as simple as letting nature take control?
As simple as it sounds, this is the solution. Known as Holistic Management, this natural approach to regenerative agriculture is revitalizing the smallholder operations that attempt it. This method harnesses the power of nature to restore soils, water, biodiversity, and the productive quality of the land.
The economic side of the equation involves turning away from middlemen and large corporate enterprises whose only interest is to buy cheap and sell high. Instead, we must return to selling locally. By departing from monoculture practices and growing a variety of crops, and making these available to local communities, farmers can tap into new and growing streams of revenue that can yield more profit than wholesale offers.
Many farmers feel this is impossible, and working alone it may be too daunting to attempt. But networking with leaders who can help you plan and engineer your transition into sustainable can make the difference. That's why the North American Food Forum is here. Through education and networking, smallholders can breathe new life into their operations and break themselves away from the corporate operations that are depleting the land for profit.
It must be emphasized that the status quo is unsustainable. There's only so much that chemical fertilizers and pesticides can do. There's only so much erosion, water contamination, and loss of biodiversity that nature can handle before the land stops producing. Sustainable and regenerative farming is the future, because it is only a matter of time. There is no other option available to us.