How many times have I heard - during my years as a self- employed entrepreneur - "Can you actually make a living doing that?"
As a small business owner publishing and marketing maps, I often heard the question: " Are you still doing those... er ... maps?" as if the poser were flabbergasted that there was, indeed, any possibility of ongoing income from one's chosen business model. When I moved into the even more ethereal sphere of organic farming, I was seen as even more ripe for the picking. " Can you actually make a living at that?", "Do you do that full-time?", " How do compete with conventional methods?" came the derisory dismissals. Aware that I was expected to fail at ay time, how many times have I wanted to scream: "Sure. How about you as a banker? Are you proud of your living"? "Do you exercise any principles or follow any morals in making *your* living?"
As an independent organic farmer, I receive zero government support, no disability or sickness benefits. If I get injured or ill or break a leg, take time off, I receive no compensation for down-time. I receive no subsidies for stewarding the land, preserving the health of the soil, or growing nutrient-dense food. On the contrary, I have to pay, as a organic farm, to verify - annually - that my farm passes all tests for organic practice, environmental stewardship. In eighteen years this has cost around $15,000. All the while, unverified claims see farms passing themselves off, scot-free, as "organic", whilst big industrial "conventional" farms are grossly subsidized by the government to grow herbicibe- and pesticide-laden corn, soybeans, and wheat, largely to feed their industrial antibiotic-addled livestock under the guise of "Farmers Feeding Cities".
What are the morals of those "making a living" or simply earning their pay from corporate monolihs like banks, law firms, mining companies, pharmaceutical companies, the military, Big Agriculture, the Government? Is money, a steady income sacrosanct, all-consuming? Where is their conscience? How does their organization promote well-being? How do they view the future? Do they care about the future of the planet?
May the *campesinos* of the world be left alone to tend the land, grow nourishing food, and sustain families and communities, all the while making a "healthy" living.
Happy Labour Day, all.