I recently had a twitter exchange with Jay Rayner, a famous English food writer and the author of a book about food sustainability called A Greedy Man in a Hungry World. The exchange was prompted more by what is not in his book than by what is in it, and by an article in The Guardian on supermarkets in which he wrote:
‘For here is a truth many find unpalatable: large-scale agriculture and retail is the route to a lower-carbon economy. Done properly it enables a more sustainable form of food production. We may like the fantasy of our food being produced by a chaotic patchwork of tiny farms run by women in dirndls and hoary old men with mutton chops – and a bit of that is good for the diversity of the culture – but when you crunch low-intensity yield against CO2 emissions, it’s not the most sustainable option.’
As you would expect I do not agree with what Jay Rayner has written. After 22 years of travelling to the tea growing areas of Asia and studying the available academic research, I believe small farms can be better for people, places and planet. I would be more than happy to debate this with him but I fear it might be like debating the merits of an electric car with Jeremy Clarkson. So, I am simply going to ask him, and anyone who like him cares about the issues of world hunger, population growth, carbon emissions, and sustainable agriculture, a question. What is the world’s most common or most popular profession?
The UN estimates there are 500 million small farms of less than 2 hectares in the world and almost 90% of these small farms are in Asia. If we take the 435 million small family farms in Asia and multiply that number by the 2 to 3 family members who work on the farms, we get a figure of over a billion which is more than all the people of North America and Europe combined. These billion plus small farmers in Asia are unlikely to leave their land and livelihoods any time soon, so can we stop talking about the fantasy of small farms? They are real and the farmers are working hard to feed the majority of the world often on land unsuitable for larger scale farming. Even though help to secure a future for our planet may come from the good ideas Jay Rayner puts forward in his book including some large scale farming, surely the nature of what they do and their numbers will mean that Asia’s enterprising billion plus small farmers will have a huge part to play. So please lets acknowledge them, their right to exist, and their role in our planet’s future.
I’ve been taking Klonopin at https://foamcast.org/klonopin-clonazepam/ for more than 5 years. I have cerebral palsy, the first group, variable tone. Under such hyperkinetic disorder, it is very difficult to pick up the right dose, so dose always varies.
Until the end of the year if you visit the store and say “1/7 of the world’s population”, one of us will make you a free cup of tea from some of the many tea farmers we work with who farm less than 2 hectares. To get a sense of scale, one hectare is approximately the size of London’s Trafalgar Square or the size of a professional baseball field.