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The Family Farm Of The Future?

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  • The Family Farm Of The Future?

    Let's just hope they leave their city-slicker ways back in the city. We don't need more cidiots!

    A small sign of the times: USA Today this week ran an article about a Michigan family that, under financial pressure, decided to give up credit cards, satellite television, high-tech toys and restaurant dining, to live on a 40-acre farm and become more self-sufficient. The Wojtowicz family—36-year-old Patrick, his wife Melissa, 37, and their 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle—have become, in the words of reporter Judy Keen, "21st century homesteaders," raising pigs and chickens, planning a garden and installing a wood furnace.

    ...To some degree the Wojtowicz story sounded like the future, or the future as a lot of people are hoping it will be: pared down, more natural, more stable, less full of enervating overstimulation, of what Walker Percy called the "trivial magic" of modern times.

    The article offered data suggesting the Wojtowiczes are part of a recent trend. People are gardening more if you go by the sales of vegetable seeds and transplants, up 30% over last year at the country's largest seed company. Sales of canning and preserving products are also up. Companies that make sewing products say more people are learning to sew. I have a friend in Manhattan who took to surfing the Web over the past six months looking for small- and farm towns in which to live. The general manager of a national real-estate company told USA Today that more customers want to "live simply in a less-expensive place."

    ...In New York some signs of that future are obvious: fewer cars, less traffic, less of the old busy hum of the economic beehive. New York will, literally, get dimmer. Its magical bright-light nighttime skyline will glitter less as fewer companies inhabit the skyscrapers and put on the lights that make the city glow.

    A prediction: By 2010 the mayor, in a variation on broken-window theory, will quietly enact a bright-light theory, demanding that developers leave the lights on whether there are tenants in the buildings or not, lest the world stand on a rise in New Jersey and get the impression no one's here and nobody cares...

    ...The new home fashion will be spare. This will be the return of an old WASP style: the good, frayed carpet; dogs that look like dogs and not a hairdo in a teacup, as miniature dogs back from the canine boutique do now.

    A friend, noting what has and will continue to happen with car sales, said America will look like Havana—old cars and faded grandeur. It won't. It will look like 1970, only without the bell-bottoms and excessive hirsuteness. More families will have to live together. More people will drink more regularly. Secret smoking will make a comeback as part of a return to simple pleasures. People will slow down. Mainstream religion will come back. Walker Percy again: Bland affluence breeds fundamentalism. Bland affluence is over.
    COMPLETE ARTICLE:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123992073614326997.html
    Last edited by Frank B; Apr. 18, 2009, 09:58 PM.
    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
    Winston Churchill

  • #2
    Interesting article. I am planning a nice veggie garden myself and seriously considering raising chickens for both meat and eggs and getting a feeder calf or two. There sure have been times, when like those people, I've wanted to "check out" of society. My last electric bill was one such moment! I think before next winter we will have a wood burning stove in the house and new more efficient windows and more ceiling fans so we don't have to run the AC as much. Our heat pumps are driving us broke.

    Funny too is I had a neighbor come over today and get some fresh manure to compost and some older composted manure for a big garden he's planning to put in. I think we are going to see lots more of that!

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm just waiting for all those McMansions to become two and three family homes.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd love it - all those little grandchildren running around and me as the Matriarch.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lolalola View Post
          I'm just waiting for all those McMansions to become two and three family homes.
          That is why I live on a farm, we are also housing my mother and father in law at the moment. We put additions on the house to accomodate them.

          Unfortunately I seem to have a brown thumb in the gardening department, so I guess I might have to hope that my neighbors that can grow things have an over abundance of vegetables. And I could replace some of the manufactured food in the freezer with a neighbor kid's 4-H project.
          There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

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          • #6
            I don't think most people can or want to put the effort in to be self-sufficient.

            The first time their tomatoes rot they'll race off to the grocery store.

            After the first flood, the first fire, going without power for several weeks - they'll sell out and go back to the city.

            Or worse - they'll stay and demand every modern convenience. More roads, more power, nicer schools, fancy shopping centers, bigger houses.

            I say that article sounds nice but it's a bit pie in the sky and overly romantic.

            But I admit I'm a cynic.

            It's just what I've seen around here for the past 10 years - especially after 9-11. Same predictions of people wanting to have a nicer life in the country, feel safer, the comfort food, Mom and Pop stores, etc.

            Now those people - who said they wanted a simpler life - drove up land prices, insist upon 4000sq ft houses on prime agricultural land - and simply MUST have gourmet grocery stores, lattes, and upscale clothing stores. They complain about the smells, the noise, the tractors....
            Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
            Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
            -Rudyard Kipling

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JSwan View Post
              I don't think most people can or want to put the effort in to be self-sufficient.

              The first time their tomatoes rot they'll race off to the grocery store.

              After the first flood, the first fire, going without power for several weeks - they'll sell out and go back to the city.

              Or worse - they'll stay and demand every modern convenience. More roads, more power, nicer schools, fancy shopping centers, bigger houses.

              I say that article sounds nice but it's a bit pie in the sky and overly romantic.

              But I admit I'm a cynic.

              It's just what I've seen around here for the past 10 years - especially after 9-11. Same predictions of people wanting to have a nicer life in the country, feel safer, the comfort food, Mom and Pop stores, etc.

              Now those people - who said they wanted a simpler life - drove up land prices, insist upon 4000sq ft houses on prime agricultural land - and simply MUST have gourmet grocery stores, lattes, and upscale clothing stores. They complain about the smells, the noise, the tractors....
              WOW, you have hit the nail on the head!
              Patty
              www.rivervalefarm.com
              Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

              Comment


              • #8
                And, at the end of the day, they won't really be "self sufficient."

                This is a nice part of the American Farm Life Mythology but even the Amish (who are about as close to real self sufficiency as you might find today) have a vast reliance upon outside sources of supply (not the least of which is cash).

                Even the "self sufficient" will need enough cash to pay their taxes.

                G.
                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                  I don't think most people can or want to put the effort in to be self-sufficient.

                  The first time their tomatoes rot they'll race off to the grocery store.

                  After the first flood, the first fire, going without power for several weeks - they'll sell out and go back to the city.

                  Or worse - they'll stay and demand every modern convenience. More roads, more power, nicer schools, fancy shopping centers, bigger houses.

                  I say that article sounds nice but it's a bit pie in the sky and overly romantic.

                  But I admit I'm a cynic.

                  It's just what I've seen around here for the past 10 years - especially after 9-11. Same predictions of people wanting to have a nicer life in the country, feel safer, the comfort food, Mom and Pop stores, etc.

                  Now those people - who said they wanted a simpler life - drove up land prices, insist upon 4000sq ft houses on prime agricultural land - and simply MUST have gourmet grocery stores, lattes, and upscale clothing stores. They complain about the smells, the noise, the tractors....
                  You pretty much defined the "cidiot"!
                  The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                  Winston Churchill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To some degree the Wojtowicz story sounded like the future, or the future as a lot of people are hoping it will be: pared down, more natural, more stable, less full of enervating overstimulation, of what Walker Percy called the "trivial magic" of modern times.
                    You know, you can have that in the city- a 1/3 acre can yield a lot of food and have space for chickens (not pigs).... I live in the city and enjoy a quiet existence and used to have a great garden. Not so sure why people need to move away to grow food. Except they are afraid of poor people.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So does this mean there will be lots of poorly run farms for sale in the near future?

                      It still doesn't make sense to grow/make your own of some things. I was surprised to hear sewing was up! I still can't make clothes cheaper than I can buy them unless you are talking about a high price item like a wedding dress. I used to sew my own clothes and some time around the late 70s early 80s it just stop making sense to do it anymore.

                      This year may actually be my first year not putting in a garden. I still have veggies put up from last year! I have more demand for my eggs than I can meet and I was contemplating getting more hens but decided against it. Just told a customer this morning I can't get them all the eggs they wanted.

                      Do they know how much work it is??? Good luck to the new homesteaders!
                      No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        More people will drink more regularly.
                        Oh, good. I'm ahead of the curve again.

                        JSwan nailed it, as did a few others.

                        I have land, I would LOVE to have more self-sufficiency... but I kill green things. Tomatoes in cracked muck buckets seem to be my only talent. I don't have the fencing nor the stomach for raising my own beef or meat goats. (I am fine with eating someone ELSE's Bessie, I just can't kill/eat something I've raised and cared for. )

                        My biggest thing is power/heat/water. Can't get wood or pellet stove or I can't get insurance. (mobile home--though you never know it once you're inside.) Don't have water when there's no power (pump.) etc. Plenty of light for solar, but initial cost is WAY prohibitive...
                        InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Speaking of drinking! I wanted to put in some wine grapes this year! That would be a rewarding crop and I bet I wouldn't have any wine left by next year! Of course I am more of a beer drinker... maybe hops!

                          Yup, self sufficient drinking! Thats the way to go.
                          No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I dread the day I have to take over the garden. (No one else to do it besides Mom.) I kill plants. It's taking three of us to try and save my African violet.

                            Also, even though I am a meat eater, who has helped hack up many a deer, I KNOW that will not be able to kill my own chickens or cows or sheep. (Pigs, we'll see.)
                            Author Page
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                            Steampunk Sweethearts

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                            • #15
                              People can learn to do a garden, and can stuff, even if they mess it up a few times.

                              They don't need to do it on a large or complex scale. Every little bit helps.

                              We did. We learned how to do things by reading the more practical books, and we listen to our neighbors, and they teach us stuff.

                              Aside from that, it would be very good if people bought smaller houses, turned the lights off when they weren't using them, and gardened.

                              It would be great if people in the city went to a city garden and grew some vegetables. I've seen people do it. It works. There is even a garden at one of the homeless shelters and they grow food they eat. Urban gardens on abandoned available land are good, not bad.

                              Not everyone is going to 'run to the store and buy tomatoes' if their tomatoes don't grow. Some of the people I know, can't afford to buy tomatoes if theirs don't grow. Tomatoes, lettuce, and all the good food is expensive. So they eat crap. Unless they grow it in a garden.

                              And they don't need some countrified snob turning their noses up at them, either.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                Not everyone is going to 'run to the store and buy tomatoes' if their tomatoes don't grow. Some of the people I know, can't afford to buy tomatoes if theirs don't grow. Tomatoes, lettuce, and all the good food is expensive. So they eat crap. Unless they grow it in a garden.

                                And they don't need some countrified snob turning their noses up at them, either.
                                slc is right. I grew up on a farm, and we depended on our garden for food. I spent many a day helping my mother weed, pick rocks, water, and harvest and we had at least an acre in veggies. My Mother canned and froze the produce. We also hunted game and raised animals...it was very much a family farm in the old fashioned sense of the word. We did not have the money to buy all our food and my mother cooked most of our meals from scratch. You don't know how much I regret sometimes getting so far from my roots over the last 30 years or so. I enjoy putting my hands into the dirt and while everything I try does not turn out 100% every time, I try to figure out another way to do it.

                                I put in some broccoli and brussel sprouts today in a raised bed garden my husband and I built and filled with our own horse manure straw based compost. Those are some happy little plants! I have a few more raised bed planned for more veggies and flowers. I am looking forward to putting up what we can't eat right away so I can save on my grocery bill.

                                It is too bad that more people have not had that experience of living close to the land. It is so rewarding to sit down to a meal that you raised yourself!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                  And they don't need some countrified snob turning their noses up at them, either.
                                  Um - if you were referring to me I'm sorry to disappoint you. I'm very much a person who is the "back to the land type" that knows that lifestyle for what it is.

                                  Freakin' hard work with no guarantee of success. It's also a great deal more than that - which that superficial, shallow article does not address. That article is just fluff designed to inspire and entertain bored urbanites.

                                  It's that when you move out to the country you become part of an existing and deeply integrated community which you, as the outsider, must (to some extent) adapt to and become part of. Not move to the country and start imposing your romantic ideal upon that community.

                                  To move out to the country and complain that there is no Nordstroms is all too common where I live. The newcomers show up, drive up land prices, try to stop us all from farming or hunting, insist upon treating us as third class citizens (especially if we're a minority), then start driving us out with their demands for upscale housing, gated subdivisions (usually "horsey"), and other "snob zoning". They use scarce well water to water their day glo chemically treated lawns, and consider going to Food Lion "slumming" and mixing with "the locals".

                                  Who is the "countrified snob" in that scenario? My food comes from my garden, my coop and my pastures. I'm neither inferior nor superior to any other human being - but I am a realist.

                                  And in my reality - the people that article was designed to entertain are the bane of my existence.
                                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                  -Rudyard Kipling

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You're painting every single person who moves out to the country with the same brush.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Jessie...I did not read that as an attack on you or anyone else on this thread. slc is right in that you can't paint everyone who chooses to move to the country the same. I had the experience of living in a large acreage subdivision in NC for about 9 years. It was very interesting those who did move out there and built their homes and we quickly became acquainted. We did have our snobs in the group but for the most part it was a wonderful eclectic bunch who built their homes in the country to get away from the bustle of the suburbs...from a Manhatten, NY born and bred couple of Italians to New Jersey classy folks who dressed fancy for dinner to a NC redneck who used his land as a hunting camp and lived elsewhere in a golf course neighborhood closer the city. In this case the local guy was the snob! He was horrible and did nothing but annoy everyone in that subdivision for years. I was so glad to get out of there and away from him. Now my neighbors are cows, the Dismal Swamp and peanut fields. I love it!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by slc2 View Post
                                        You're painting every single person who moves out to the country with the same brush.
                                        No - I made it clear that my replies were in the context of my direct experience where I live aka - "my reality". Come to any planning meeting here and see how many developers want to destroy decades of planning designed to protect existing cultural, historical, and archeological areas. Wipe out 200 year old towns to create an instant artificial "village" with little lights in the spindly trees, fancy brick, and 24/7 lattes and sushi.

                                        It's also clear that the folksy cute article is fluff entertainment for a largely urban audience that has no concept of what rural life can really be like.

                                        I don't condemn urban dwellers for the choices they make or their values.

                                        I ask the same consideration and respect in return. If folks want to raise their own food they don't need to destroy my community to do so. Tear up their lawn in the suburbs and plant away.

                                        In parts of the region formerly very "horsey" areas, horse owners are being forced out by the same types. Newcomers who don't give a crap about the easements ensuring access to bridle paths, existing horse facilities, or their horsey neighbors. They want the horse people gone.

                                        And like their more rural or farming neighbors... they eventually disappear.

                                        To make way for lattes and sushi and McMansions. Consolidating agriculture even more. Loss of open space, forcing out farmers and horse owners, making the taxes so high the elderly and lower income people can no longer afford to live here, habitat fragmentation, blockage of wildlife corridors - it's a REAL problem and it's on the rise.

                                        And yes - it bothers me. If it doesn't bother you - then by all means invite them to be YOUR neighbor.
                                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                        -Rudyard Kipling

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