Event Summary: Ken Meter on Economy of Food & Farm

by Catherine Haug

I took lots of notes at this presentation last week by Ken Meter, but have not yet had a chance to write them up. What follows is a very short synopsis of the event. I will update this with more detail soon, and send the update with the next newsletter.

Short Synopsis of Ken’s presentation:

Ken is from Minnesota, but has studdied several agricultural areas including the 5 counties of western Montana along the Hwy 93 corridor.

Small farmers are at a disadvantage (compared to large corporate farms) in that for small farms, expenses far exceed sales, so they have a net loss year after year. And this is also true in the Flathead. He gave statistics and a couple examples to illustrate this.

On the other hand, if local businesses and farmers form networks and interdependencies, they will have the advantage over out-of-the-area businesses and will find that together they can come out ahead, rather than a loss. He cited several examples of successes, mostly from MN and WI.

Following his presentation were several short items:

  • Pam Gerwe introduced several Montana college students working on a spring break project at Purple Frog Gardens, to learn what they can do to bring back to their own communities. Each student gave a brief summary of what they learned from their work on the project.
  • Paul Hubbard asked all of the attendees to contact Sen Jon Sonju regarding HB542, which deletes the word “agriculture” from subdivision criteria), to ask him to stop this bill in the Senate Local Government Committee. We could ask the questions: “What problem are you trying to fix.”
  • Q&A between audience and Ken Meter

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