Farmers in North America are in danger of losing their place on the dinner table if they don't change their strategy, says a leader of the "Dirt to Dinner" workshops in Grand Junction this week. Many people across the country are unaware of where their food comes from, and the increasing importation of cheap fruits and produce from China is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of small farm families.
One Palisade fruit grower says selling agriculture needs to start in schools. Event organizer Thomas Cameron says, "I think that would be a great tradition that somebody could look back and say 'hey, yeah, we had special schools, when i was a kid we got these great peaches that grew from where we lived.' i'd like to see that in the whole valley here."
Canadian farmer Brent Warner says farmers need to emphasize the unique qualiites of their products. He says quality, local, fresh, highly nutritious, and different ethnic varieties are what make local produce different from corporate farms.
Using farmer's marketsas a tool can also benefit other small industries as the tie–in between agriculture and cottage industries continues to grow.
The "Dirt to Dinner" workshops are part of the Southwest Marketing Network Annual Conference being held this week at the Doubletree Hotel. Organizers hope to speak to Mesa County School District 51 officials later this week about purchasing more locally-grown produce to use in school menus.