The question of the survival of the family farm and the farm family is one version of the question of who will own the country, which is, ultimately, the question of who will own the people. Shall the usable property of our country be democratically be divided, or not? Shall the power of property be a democratic power, or not? If many people do not own the usable property, then they must submit to the few who do own it. They cannot eat or be sheltered or clothed except by submission. They will find themselves entirely dependent on money; they will find costs always higher, and money always harder to get. To renounce the principle of democratic property, which is the only basis of democratic liberty, in exchange for specious notions of efficiency or the economics of the so-called free market is a tragic folly.
(Wendell Berry, Bringing It to the Table p 34)
The wider the gap between us and our food, the more opportunity there is for the industrial food system to exploit our fears and drive us further into its camp.
To build alternatives and assert our independence requires that we rebuild our confidence as both individuals and communities. In effect, the dominance of the industrial food system is related as much to a crisis of confidence in ourselves as it is to that system’s ability to use its amassed power to control policy makers, markets, and consumers. Since a frontal assault on that power would be as futile as it would be foolish, the path to victory is by way of a renaissance of food knowledge and a reemergence of citizen democracy.