A Nation of Farmers ??

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Author Message

Wendy Brown

I read a very interesting article today (found here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_the...e-labor-crisis-for-american-farmers). It talks about the fact that without migrant workers, many of whom are undocumented, farmers will have trouble harvesting their crops.

The article intimates that Americans don't want to do farm labor, because the work is too hard. I think there are a lot of other, much more complex reasons as to why it's so hard for American farmers to get American workers to help them.

Eventually, as was discussed in a previous post, we may see a mass migration of migrant farm workers, but according to the above article, we don't have time to wait for "eventually" to happen, and we need to find ways to make the migrant farm worker life look a bit more attractive.

I suggest promoting an RV-lifestyle for migrant workers, including having farmers set-up RV parks on their land, or coordinating with local RV parks or State and Federal parks for low-cost/free parking while the worker is at the farm. I also think we could offer tax-exempt gasoline for registered migrant workers and the government could develop a rebate program for RV purchases for those interested in being migrant farm workers.

What do you think? Would being a perpetual RV camper and paying for your lifestyle with intermittent work on a farm be an attractive lifestyle to you?

Tuesday 07 June 2011 08:52:35 am

Anna Gurol

Sounds like a great book happy
One of the differences between agriculture and horticulture (i.e. between grains grown with tractors and gardens grown with hand tools) is the uniformity factor. Anything involving machines forces uniformity, because the machines cannot adjust to variables the way human hands and eyes can. That's why we may be able to get higher productivity out of farmland using manual labor, why gardens and permaculture may may be able to feed more people better at the local community level than industrial farming.
Nature never repeats itself exactly (I have to pick that bone with the Einstein quote.) To do the same thing over and expect different results is actually rational when dealing with anything living or intelligent. Only math and physics are repeatable. Organic life is full of variables. (Still a good quote though--- like E's colleague Neils Bohr said, the converse of one great truth is another great truth!)
Variety and unpredictability is precisely why skill and experience matter, and will matter even more post Peak Oil. One thing that world will not be is, "fool proof" or "for Dummies."
In fact the questions that scare me about the future are not technical but ethical....

Saturday 11 June 2011 07:11:22 pm

Anna Gurol

I like the RV idea--- we will need WWOOOFers by the millions. There are relics of this arrangement in certain farm areas still, where laws on the books once let farmers build low- cost housing exempt from building codes. I think its a great idea, but it's really difficult to get new codes past the building industries, and rental RV parks are most county's worst nightmares. Shanty towns will be illegal wherever they can be legislated against. Its tough.
However for most small organic farms, it would be ideal.

Saturday 11 June 2011 07:20:27 pm