Modern Farming Has Lost Its Soul
Family farms have a magic all their own—and can compete
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2009 10:56 AM CDT
Hogs stand in a pen on a farm Tuesday, April 28, 2009, near Perry, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – We know today’s food industry cranks out “unhealthy food, mishandles waste, and overuses antibiotics,” writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, but the heart of the matter is that today’s industrial farms have “no soul.” In a visit back to his old stomping grounds, Kristof reflects that the “kind of diverse, chaotic family farm” he grew up on is now disappearing, replaced by insipid food assembly lines”—leaving us with “food that also lacks soul—but may contain pathogens.”

Sure, “industrial farming is extraordinarily efficient”—but that may not mean that the smaller farms are obsolete, Kristof notes, citing a childhood friend who names all of his 225 cows, but is efficient enough to face off with with 20,000-cow dairies. And on a more personal note, it would be a shame to see the small family farms, the “most soulful” places “imaginable,” disappear, Kristof writes, recalling his boyhood when he managed to trick a chicken into thinking it was a goose.