Some of you may remember back in the spring I was watching the fields across the road from our house and noted they were hilled up for potatoes.
I was pretty excited as I had been told that any leftover potatoes after harvest were free for the taking. I haven't planted any potatoes in my own garden as they take up a large amount of space. So I watched as the plants grew tall, flowered and began to wither.
Finally at the end of October the tractors and trucks showed up. Late into the night they rolled back and forth and by the next day it was all over. I told Jody to go load up while I was at work before we had a freeze.
So off he went with a bucket. But when I came home that evening I was surprised to see only a few potatoes for dinner. Jody said he didn't want to take much as it didn't look like the work was done. There were potatoes all over the ground and he thought they couldn't possibly be all waste so we decided to go back when the farmers were finished.
We waited and no trucks showed up. Curious I went over the road to investigate. This is what I saw.
I have to tell you I was more than a little shocked. This is just one field. There are many more just like it in the near vicinity and they all look like this. Despite all I know about farming and farms I had not anticipated this amount of waste and it made me a little ill.
There is enough food here to feed our entire village for a winter. Laying on the ground and rotting.
During these tough economic times I am hearing constantly about shortages at food banks, the rising cost of food, and the stresses of families faced with feeding many mouths. All while potatoes are rotting in fields all around us. I'm struggling with reconciling how this could be possible.
Mechanization and efficiency has changed farming in many ways. Fields and farms have become larger, the equipment bigger. Potatoes too small to be handled by machinery fall through the cracks, literally, and stay in the field. It is too costly and inefficient to handpick this crop where machines cannot reach it. Food has become big business and what doesn't provide quick monetary gains falls to the side but still - this is food we are talking about.
What sort of world is this when we throw food away by the truckload while there are lines at the foodbank hoping for whatever can be spared?