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Monday, 6 February 2012

Where Did Everyone Go?


We went to an auction last week and while we didn't find anything to purchase I took this photo along the way. These old falling down houses are everywhere around here and are such a picture of sadness and neglect. I often wonder what happened to the residents. Where did they go? Is there still some family around? Why did they leave?

I spoke to one of the residents in my area about it one day and here is what she told me. When she was a little girl the town near her farm was a busy and bustling place. It had three gas stations, two grocery stores and numerous other businesses along with a few hundred residents. Every quarter of land (160 acres) surrounding the town had a family on it. Most people were fairly poor but grew all their own food and sold grain or animals or something off the farm for money. Slowly, as it became more difficult to make money farming they moved away and those who were doing better with farming bought them out. Farms had to become bigger and bigger to survive. Eventually the town died. Today there is nothing there but a post office and a rural governmental office which manages the farm area around it. The rest of the town is abandoned and empty. It has become a ghost town.

This story is not unique around here. My mind has a hard time wrapping itself around it. Why couldn't they make a living? The answer came to me in a round about way while listening to other farmers chatting about their harvests and next years crops. It seems that each of these farmers has multiple sections of land (a section is one mile long and one mile wide) but are still considered to have fairly small farms and are having a hard time making a go of it. This baffled me! But as their conversation continued it became fairly clear.

Everyone of these farmers pays exorbitant amounts of money to the seed company. They are not allowed to save seeds from their plantings for the next year as farmers used to do but due to one company (Monsanto) owning about 40% of the worlds seed they must purchase it from them every year. As this company owns the patent on the seed! How can someone own a patent on seed? How could we have allowed this to happen? I still shake my head at it. Not only that but this same company also owns the patent on the chemicals (Round up etc.) used by the farmers. When I think about it, these farmers aren't really working for themselves they are working for Monsanto!

This whole thing blows me away and I wonder where it will all end. I do know that as long as I am able I will only use heritage seeds in my garden. I also found a wonderful site where people from around the world share and swap heritage seeds. It's not much, but its what I can do.

6 comments:

  1. Wow! That is really eye opening! How horrible that the farmers can't keep seed and have to buy it each year. Also, Monsanto can do any genetic engeneering on their seeds that they wish to do and the public has no say. Makes me sad and mad.

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  2. How sad. We have a lot of houses like that in our area, too. I have never dug deep to find out why, but I can guess it is similar to the story you've told. I live in a farming community as well, and these days it seems like all there is left is large farming operations.

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  3. I see places like that too. I look at them and try to picture the people that built the house and imagine they were so excited. I make up stories about them in my mind. The smaller houses I picture a young couple or maybe just a single guy just striking out and trying to make a go of it. If it's a larger home, I imagine generations of a family and I wonder what their lives were like and what unique stories they would have to tell. Then it hits me, that I am sure they never pictured their home looking the way it does now. And that is sad.
    The Anonymous Homesteader

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  4. Monsanto is also responsible for the problems arising with genetically modified foods, which, contrary to their claims, has health risks. Time will only tell how much the health of future generations will be compromised by the ever growing GMOs in our food. It's now nearly impossible to buy anything on the shelf at the grocery store with no GMOs.

    Not to mention the control one has when they control a population's food, which is exactly what is happening right under our noses. They are getting more and more control, and now their own people are in government positions making the policies (here in the US)! Scary!!

    ReplyDelete
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