‘The bigger the better’ is the current orthodoxy and financial reality in relation to most food production systems, with fewer and fewer farmers, processors, distributors and retailers responsible for an ever greater percentage of food production. Is there such a thing as right scale, and can small be profitable as well as beautiful? How can true cost accounting help address these current imbalances and scale-related issues? Chaired by Ann Thrupp, Executive Director of the Berkeley Food Institute, this session includes speakers working on issues related to urban farms, small and medium farms, food hubs and wholesale food distribution.
John Ikerd, University of Missouri, outlines why large farms are unsustainable: “they’re big because they’re unsustainable”; Mike Hamm, Michigan State University, presents an overview of the 2015 National Food Hub Survey published in May 2016; Doria Robinson, Urban Tilth, outlines the importance of a rights-based approach to food; and Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed, highlights the need to focus on the 99% of food which flows through wholesale channels.
Photograph: Ken Hawkins
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