Opinion / November 24, 2019

The Great American Leap Forward

The state of the American agricultural landscape is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to collapse if it is not corrected soon. 

Rapid urbanization experienced in the past one hundred years has been an enormous consequence to the social fabric of our nation, the local environments both rural and urban, and has exacerbated the corporate problems we inherited from Yuppies as well as other cosmopolitan elements of society from Boomers and Gen Xers.

​The agribusiness situation that smaller farmers face right now is abysmal, they no longer provide for their local communities (largely because there are no surviving rural communities) rather they are forced into contracts with corporate groceries that routinely screw them over, as most middle men do. These logistical networks that the groceries have propped up are the main arteries that sustain the unrelenting urbanization and suburbanization. While a majority of farms are still classified as “small farms”, this term is mainly loaded when considering the context that they’re not the family farm we all picture; rather, they are farms swarmed with illegal immigrant farm hands with the one family member who decided not to sell the land for development or drilling. The “larger farms” or the corporate farms that are becoming increasingly more prevalent due to consolidation of smaller farms is the next stage of farming in America, where company farms like FairLife hire almost exclusively illegals, abuse farm animals, and douse their produce in pesticides/inject their livestock with antibiotics. Once the majority of farms are in corporate hands, there will be nothing stopping the consolidation of the population into urban centers, as if it isn’t too late already.

​The environmental impact that these “small farms” and corporate farms have had on the environment is devastating. With the demands being placed on the farms to keep yields extremely high by the grocer networks and for the same price, the use of pesticides has altered fauna and flora in not just their locale, but most notably in the Gulf of Mexico where there are massive dead zones miles and miles off the coast. With excesses in the cities and suburbs, the amount of waste being centralized in these concrete and plaster jungles is killing wildlife at an alarming rate. Not to mention that the ever expanding suburbs are encroaching on much needed wilderness and even integral fertile farmland. This environmental toll being placed in the name of convenience and excess is going to affect our nation and world for generations to come.

Now it should go without saying that the biggest threat from this situation we find ourselves in is the corporate consolidation and effective monopolization of agribusiness. With corporate giants like Walmart and Amazon investing in farms and the grocer chains that have those farms by the balls it is quite obvious that they’re planning to control the means of food production from the seed to the plate. Given Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods, the most bourgeois and insufferably urban grocer on the scene, (where you’ll soon be able to get some premium mealworms and crickets I’m sure) you can see that the baby steps being made by these corporations will lead to dire consequences for the soon-to-be mostly urban population of the U.S. who will not have an option with where or how they obtain their food. 

Just imagine, in just a few short decades when 95% (currently 80%) of the population lives within an urban center and there are only a few places you can obtain food, and they’re all owned by the same people. No farmers markets will exist due to the fact that there are rarely any privately held farms left due to corporate overproduction, monopolization, and no locals to sell not competitively priced produce to.

This scenario can still be avoided. Through some growing (or rather *un*growing) pains these grocer networks need to be destroyed, the arteries need to be cut from the toxic heart that is cosmopolitan urbanism. Without these grocer networks to placate suburbanites/urbanites, people will be encouraged to move back into rural communities to start businesses and recreate communities once again. Communities that rely on local farmers for their sustenance, as well as their own gardens/plots of land. Moreover, without the grocer networks strong arming small farms, the need for higher and higher yields as well as illegal labor will go down. The farmers will of course be able to farm more than the local community needs and be allowed to go out to sell the extra harvest. 

The main point of this plan is two-fold: to cut the head off the snake of urbanization being propelled by corporations and their will to control the lives of the populace; and to revive rural communities/bring people back from the fray of a soulless urban existence. This Great American Leap Forward will see the discontinuation of pesticides and antibiotics/growth hormones being used by corporate farms, the revitalization of traditional American living, and a resurgence in personal health, free of the yoke of Capitalist meddling in agricultural products, and finally the end of the oversocialization of the American People.

Don’t shoot the messenger for saying that you’ll regret not wishing for a Great American Leap Forward when you’re enjoying a nice meal worm IMPOSSIBLE burger while watching your transgender daughter (read son) frolic in a plastic astroturfed park outside your PodSkyscraper.