That was this week for me.
Had an amazing visit to Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm as part of my boardmember opportunities for the Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund.
That was the BEST of times!
No context whatsoever, that our land here where I farm costs up to 10 times as much as land where many other farmers farm. Seriously, where Joel lives rent is $50/acre/year and I have to pay $500/acre/year.
This lack of context made for some pretty fantastic hateful comments from across the U.S., including people right here in Oregon!!
Which made me have to pull from my depths and remember that the bigger game I play the more people feel free to call me hateful names, etc.
What no one mentions is the weekly emails I get from local farmers here going out of business. Yes, weekly!!
Last week it was a man about 40 mins. from my farm. Says he has 70 families as customers who will no longer have access to the food that heals them, and he’s going back to work and selling the farm.
No one attacks him for selling his milk so cheaply that he can’t afford to stay in business and now is leaving 70 families empty-handed, their eczema and other illnesses all set to return if they can’t find a replacement farm.
He charged half what I do for his product.
So people applaud him and hold him up as an example to me to charge less – – and then when they look back, he’s gone. But no one notices.
Then, this week, it’s a farm about 15 mins. from me. Again, these farms are quietly going out of business and leaving customers empty handed and people are criticizing ME for running a sustainable farm.
If that’s not already you (being criticized), it soon will be you, too.
Part of running your successful business is to do the hard work of figuring all your costs, including a wage for you so you can pay your mortgage and health insurance and your kids’ expenses and take 2 weeks off a year, and have a big fat emergency fund (you will need it).
You are obligated to do this. If this is your calling, like you have said, and you enjoy educating others on the value of good food, you MUST do this. Be responsible.
When the haters hate on you for what they call extortion your customers will be loving on you so much for offering them the food/products that heal them.
It will all be worth it, because what doesn’t kill you strengthens you and farmers who sell Farm -to- Consumer are some of the strongest people I know.
Be that strong business person and take a look at your prices this week. Will they sustain you?
If not, it is your responsibility and obligation to charge what you need to charge to be here for the people who need you most.
And when the haters call you rapist and elitist and all the other names I’ve been called for being a responsible, ethical business owner, then you and I will commiserate together and build each other up so we can fulfill our calling.
So now it’s your turn – tell me in the comments below if you are charging enough for your product to sustain you in the long run?? And if not, will you be responsible and do so?
Always in service to you,