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During this year, declared by the United Nations as the International Year of Family Farming, in recognition of the importance of family farming in global food security, the goal is to “promote new development policies…that will help smallholder and family farmers eradicate hunger, reduce rural poverty and continue to play a major role in global food security through small-scale, sustainable agricultural production.” It sounds fantastic, but in this moment it is still hard for small farmers to make ends meet, even to apply for subsidies because they are…too small! If one outcome of this declared year of FF is that farmers are given a voice, it will be is a step in the right direction. One such voice was heard last weekend in the New York Times, with the title: “Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers” (Aug 9, 2014) arguing that while local food is celebrated widely, those who do the work of growing this food are not making any money. This is not the first and only voice expressing this concern, and more so, my own experience has given me a clearer idea of the challenges in sustainable farming, where many farming families have to tap into supporting income sources to make ends meet.

http://www.ifad.org/events/iyff/

http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/y1669e/y1669e0c.htm

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So what is the importance of smallholders and family farming in global food security and should we care? If I have learned one thing by spending time and energy at organic farms is that you enter a DIFFERENT DIMENSION OF TASTE, inspiring of something bigger. The incredible intensity and variety of flavors is something experienced close to the source, and many of the products cannot be entered into the market because of local, regional and international food policies and guidelines. It is this we should be concerned about, the imminent loss of the FLAVOR of this world, now associated with the care and dedication of small scale and family farming, will be gone if this is no longer possible. Food makes the [human] world go round, great tasting food exalts us. Now that is BIG.

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http://www.punpunthailand.org

see also post July 24