In my more than 35 years in the farming and food business, I have never seen the changes in our food system at the pace and scale we are witnessing in recent weeks. It truly is extraordinary.
Many of us are changing our personal food choices and shopping behaviors, and we are taking more time to think about how our food is grown and raised. Our understanding about food safety, preparation, and industry practices is changing us profoundly and permanently.
If you are reading this letter, you have made the decision to connect with us at Farmers To You.
I want to affirm your choice to spend your hard-earned dollars with Farmers To You. This is not meant to sound self-serving. We are appreciative of your decision because buying food from farmers and small producers is better for the animals, better for the farmers and the workers on the farms, better for the environment, and better for eating good-quality, healthy food.
For so long we were told, “don’t worry” about the industrial meat production and packaging system. This system was brought to its breaking point in the pandemic. It was impossible to hide COVID-19’s swift spread in meat packaging factories. The agricultural giants that successfully brought us cheaper food, at the expense of their workers, animals and environment, are causing suffering to their workers, euthanized animals, and plants to close. But the system was broken before the pandemic. The industrial production of meat causes unspeakable animal suffering, and a devastating toll on employees, neighbors, land, water, health, and the planet.
I want to make a fine point here about the importance of your food choices because I know it is difficult to spend more on local, sustainably raised meat, dairy and produce. I want you to take pride in knowing that your choice to purchase from Farmers To You means you are putting ethical considerations ahead of purely economic considerations. We applaud you for that. You are supporting: better farming systems, animal welfare, paying workers a living wage and supporting a safe, caring environment.
Your heightened awareness, your concern, and your choices mean that Farmers To You can pay nearly $0.60 on each dollar of revenue to farmers and producers. Supermarkets pay $0.19 on each dollar. Our 49 employees at Farmers To You make a starting wage of $15/hour and an average of nearly $20. You easily see who grows your food, and how they grow or raise it. The vast majority of the farms we select for our families are best in class and over 80% use organic methods (over 50% are certified organic).
If this unexpected and cataclysmic health event has you changing how you feed your family, we know it is not easy. Change is hard. But on the bright side, you are doing good. Every dollar you spend is supporting farmers and building a resilient food system with healthy food. This is good for you, your neighbors, and our planet, even in a pandemic.
We appreciate your choices and partnership.
Sending good health from Vermont,