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Urban farming and pricey chops

(article, Culinate staff)

Manuals for DIY urban farming are hot these days. And finally Novella Carpenter, the face of the urban-farming movement, has her own book out: The Essential Urban Farmer. Check out a recent Q&A with Carpenter (and her co-author, Willow Rosenthal) on Grist:

bq. People are like, “You should eat organic food,” but when you go to Whole Foods or the farmers’ market, it’s so expensive. So this was our DIY way to eat organic, healthy food. If you do it right, it can be cost-effective.

Meanwhile, over at Yes magazine's blogs department, rancher Shannon Hayes lays out her argument for why customers should pay more for her grass-fed meat than for the conventionally raised meat available at the supermarket:

bq. The viability of a small farm is dependent not just on garnering a living wage, but on our ability to steward our land in a way that allows it to stay healthy and productive into the future. Industrial food production, in contrast, currently depends on farm subsidies — and on a license to deplete soils and pollute water for immediate profit with no regard for what happens tomorrow. 

So if you aren't cleaning up your backyard soil and doing the dirty work yourself, like Carpenter and Rosenthal, you'd better be prepared to pay a premium for good, clean, and fair food raised by someone else — someone who, as Hayes points out, still makes only about $10 an hour.