Minnesota Cottage Producers ‘Are Not “Getting Rich” Selling Their Food & Crafts’
I've mentioned it before, I belong to a group on Facebook called Farm Direct Minnesota. It's a great group if you are looking for locally-sourced food. It might be beef, pork, chicken, eggs, greens, mushrooms, etc. The group is also a great place for people to ask questions, or find answers to questions they might have regarding growing or raising certain products. Recently a Southern Minnesota woman posted to the group a reminder to those using the page/group who aren't producers that many cottage producers aren't "getting rich" by selling their goods, they are simply trying to survive.
I messaged the author of the post, Naomi T, to see if I could share what she wrote in the group, and she gave me her blessing to share.
Naomi T from Southern Minnesota wrote on January 31st:
I would like to remind the people on this page that the farmers here are not large corporations. We are not “getting rich” selling our food and crafts. We are asking for a fair price for the things we raise and make. Please remember we do not get any bulk discounts. We work rain, shine, -13* or 100* by hand and for you the customers. We don’t have any fancy equipment. Our electric bill just went up $15 a month. While that may not seem like much, we run our electric just to get eggs all winter. Every piece adds up. Food isn’t priced solely on the cost of feed. It is merely one piece. Food is priced by all of the expenses that go into raising the animals. Even a grass fed cow has other expenses. If a fence breaks, it needs repairs. One fence panel can run $100 and up and that is used, if you can find it.
If you came to this page, you agreed to the rules, right? That you came to buy direct from the farmer, not harass the farmer. Do you dicker prices with the big corps? Do you tell them their prices are gouging? Maybe you do. Most farmers are just trying to break even to continue to bring healthy, hormone and cruelty free food to your table. So remember to be kind. If you don’t like a price, if you don’t like how they sell their food or what they are selling that’s cool. But do not comment. You don’t need to. Keep scrolling and find what is here for you. If there isn’t a thing here for you then why did you join? We are all just doing our best so please remember to be kind. Thank you.
One of the reasons that I wanted to share what Naomi wrote was that area small farmers are going to struggle this year again. Everything seems to be costing more, including the input costs for farmers to get started this spring.
The next time you are at a Farmers Market think about the amount of work and care that went into that cut of meat, or that dozen eggs, and like Naomi pointed out in her post, "we are all just doing our best so please remember to be kind"