We chose to structure our relationship between the farmer and the consumer as a real (legal) partnership in order to meet our common goals:
Why are these goals even needed? Many people do not realize that the regulatory and economic environment of today is geared to prevent the startup and success of small family-run farms. There have been more SWAT-style raids on small farms in the U.S. during the last decade than in the previous century combined. Regulations targeting exemptions for small farms (such as the Federal Poultry Exemption allowing on-farm poultry slaughter in small numbers) have been under attack across the nation and in Indiana (Indiana legislators, at the behest of the Indiana Poultry Growers Association, Beef Producers Association and Indiana Farm Bureau, all lobbyists for industrial-scale ag, recently rolled back the Federal exemption for chicken sold to restaurants, hotels and institutions.) As consumers demand more transparency and choice in their food, entrenched industrial concerns fight upstart competition through lobbying and regulation. Whether it's demanding that heritage pig breeds be destroyed in Michigan, or confiscating fresh unprocessed milk owned by Minnesotans, or outlawing unauthorized photography at Indiana industrial farming operations, there is a circling of the wagons to prevent lost market share to new farms that provide transparency and consumer choice.
At the same time, the big ag players know the value of the old maxim "if you can't beat 'em, join e'm!" As the market value of sustainable, local and naturally produced foods grows by billions, more and more large players are creating "front companies" to sell pretty packages with "Green labels" to well-intentioned but uninformed consumers. Scams such as USDA Organic, Cage-Free, Fair Trade and the ubiquitous "All Natural" are multiplying and becoming more mainstream by the day. The strategy is to allow a perceived change in buying habits from "conventional" to "all natural" or "healthy" without changing the fundamental paradigm of dependency and blind trust in the mainstream food system. Our goal is to change the paradigm of dependence and blind trust to one of self-deterimination and transparency. Partners share a responsibility in determining how their food is raised and produced and producers are bound to run a clean, transparent operation. We believe the partnership model being pioneered by Harvest Partners is the ultimate in consumer choice and economic sustainability.
Phone: (812) 876-5023