Why Is Rural America’s ‘Farm Country’ Going Hungry?

farm picture photo

As a nation, we are losing our ability to feed ourselves. One in 5 Americans won’t eat dinner tonight and the greatest percentage of them live in rural America. In fact, 15 percent of rural households use food stamps to survive. How could it be that the places that provide most of our food can’t even feed their own?

Michael Olson of Food Chain Radio explored the issue of hunger in rural America.

“The grandparents farm never did make much money, but it did produce the best kind of food imaginable,” he said. “When the children grew up and left the farm, the grandparents sold out to those who wanted to grow government-subsidized sugar beets, and moved into the little farm town down the road.”

Today rural America looks much different than it did when our grandparents farmed the land. Farmers have been replaced by machinery and pesticides and farm houses are collapsing in disrepair. As a result, the small farmers that worked the land and ran the community have no place to work and no food to grow.

“Today there is little left of grandparents’ farm but a collapsed barn midst acres of government-subsidized crops.  Nor is there much left of the little farm town but boarded up storefronts and residents wondering what to do with their time,” Olson said on Food Chain Radio.

It all started with good intentions. During the Dust Bowl, the Great Plains were ravaged by drought in a country already devastated by the Great Depression. Farmers were going hungry so the government stepped in to subsidize their crops. Who knew that those same subsidies would result in huge factory farms.

This coupled with the fact that the next generation didn’t want to stay on the farm and work. Instead, they wanted to move to the glitz of the big city. With no one left to work the farm, many ended up being sold to mega farmers. And even if there was employment on these huge factory farms, corn, sugar beets, and soy aren’t real food, they have to be processed first.

This all left rural poverty like our country had never seen before. Show your distaste for these factory farms by eating local, unprocessed foods from small farmers as much as possible. Support self sustaining communities so they don’t disappear completely.

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Image: Don Graham