MISSION STATEMENT

Food|Waves cultivates food justice and access to healthy food in Clackamas County and the surrounding communities.

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Waves, mostly caused by wind, start small and over time gain enough energy to travel long distances.  No wind, no waves. Food|Waves' "wind" could be you talking to a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor, or inviting them to attend a local farmers' market with you. But, first, you may need to learn why it is so important.

The percentage of the American population employed in agriculture has dropped from 70 - 80% in 1870 to fewer than 2% today.  This is largely due to the re-purposing of machinery after World War II to agricultural pursuits, and the increased use of petro-chemicals to increase yields while reducing labor costs Between 1950 and 1997, the number of farms in the U.S. declined sharply—from 5.4 million to 1.9 million (¹).   These changes have had dramatic effects on the quality of the air we breath, the water that we drink, the soil we grow our food in, and the food we eat, as well as, impacting the oceans that regulate our environment and atmosphere.

The US Government has spent an average of $18,497,700,803 ($18.5 Billion) every year over the last 12 years to subsidize (²) mega-farms. The industrial farms use vast amounts of petro-chemicals polluting our air, fresh water, soil, food, and the oceans, as well as, contributing to climate change.  Conversely, most small, organic, family farms are considered too small by governmental standards, and they do not receive any financial support from the government- even though these sustainable farms are acting as stewards of the land working for a healthier, cleaner future.

Higher prices at farmer's markets reflect a slight closing of the gap between the actual cost of growing clean food versus the subsidized cost of mega-food, but it is still inadequate to justly compensate small farmers as most of them end up working 60 - 90 hours/week to ultimately make very little profit, if any.  Meanwhile, corporate executives are paid millions of dollars oftentimes with no intent on a product that nourishes our bodies, minds, or souls.  Most small farmers do this work because they believe in its core value, and they want to do something good in the world.

The three biggest obstacles that small, sustainable farmers face are land costs, labor costs, and educating consumers as to why they should pay more for a product such as theirs.  Profit margins are generally very low, and farmers often cut costs by using low-paid labor.  This often takes the form of room and board being supplied along with a small stipend, but leaves the workers with no workman's compensation and without insurance.  The result is people who are willing to work hard for what they believe in, but they must suffer as a result of the status quo in our societal agricultural system.

Food|Waves' aim through our programs is to alleviate some of these stresses so that more farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners have an opportunity to learn how to efficiently and effectively make the difference they so passionately believe in while at the same time taking care of themselves- as they deserve.

 

Small Acreage Stewardship or Industrial Farming?

 

“If you do just one thing- make one conscious choice- that can change the world, go organic.” -Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc.

 

“Would you like to reduce air pollution, recycle your money into your community,  support family farmers, and enjoy food that tastes better and is more nutritious than what you can buy at the supermarket? Easy! Eat more locally produced food.” -Barbara Pleasant from “How to Find the Best Food

 

Your help is vital to making that a reality. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!

 


references:

(¹)  USDA Extension:   http://www.csrees.usda.gov/qlinks/extension.html

(²)  Farm Subsidy Database:   http://farm.ewg.org/regionsummary.php

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