I had the pleasure of going to the Delaware County fair yesterday. I am always struck by how authentic and seemingly uncorrupted it is. It is small, and because so many of the farmer’s camp out with their animals it gives you a glimpse into a bygone era when farming was a way of life that sustained rural communities. Today, it is clear that the farming families look forward to this rare time when they can interact with their neighbors: they shampoo their cows, cook chili in slow cookers, and greet the community with pride.
Delaware County Fair Walton, NY
For me, the fair is bittersweet. Granted, it is wonderful that farming families can share their best animals but when can they express their troubles? There are so few public avenues for farmers to share their struggles and because of this disconnect corporate agriculture has benefited, profited and grown. NPR did an enlightening piece on how powerful middlemen have in effect created a milk cartel. The desperately low milk prices that are forcing thousands of dairies across the country to close—have been engineered by a monopoly that discourages family farming. These 13 minutes really tell the story well… wish this could be told in every town and at every fair. We go to the fair for rural culture—a culture and heritage that is lost if family farms can not farm.