Find the Farmer

findthe-farmer2Super interesting article in the NY Times recently about Find the Farmer, a company whose goal is to help us figure out where our food comes from, and who farmed it. Find the Farmer was started by Josh Dorf, a former dotcom entrepreneur who bought the San Francisco-based Stone-Buhr flour company 6 years ago. The new website allows people who buy Stone-Buhr all-purpose whole wheat flour in Wal-mart, Safeway, and other grocery chains to enter a code and get information about where the flour comes from.

Here's what it says on the Find the Farmer site:

Stone-Buhr has created a simple, easy-to-use website for you to locate the family farms that grew the grain that we milled to create your flour. We believe it is important to support these multi-generational family farmers who are producing quality wheat in a responsible and sustainable manner [...] Come support sustainable local agriculture and be a part of this grand American tradition. From the NY Times article: “Is it gimmicky? Sure, but it has value. Consumers have an interest in dealing directly with and supporting the American farmer,” said Mr. Dorf, who said he was inspired to create the site by “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” a book about the damaging effects of a hyperindustrialized food system. findthe-farmer

I agree with the quote wholeheartedly. Totally gimmicky, but not without value. There's no question that consumers like myself have an intense desire to know more about our food, and to connect with the farmers who grow it. But the cynic in me wonders if this will turn into a way for big food companies to put gentle faces on chemical-laden products. For example, I love the idea that Wal-mart is one of the first to carry this new label, especially because it has the potential to impact such a wide customer base immediately. (They are a forward thinking company, there's no doubt.) And yet, it's hard for me to believe that the intention is pure, and not just the latest way to market to a consumer base that already completely confused about what to buy. Y'all can decide for yourselves. Thanks to my friend Chris for the tip.