Food resiliency is everything. Together, we are building a better food future.
November 18, 2022
Food security and food resiliency are similar, but the differences are marked. One focuses on the now, and one focuses on the future.
Food security is the state of having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food that meets all dietary needs.
As a crude example, if I were to stockpile enough cheese to feed my family for a year, then I would have food security for a year.
Food resiliency builds on that. It is having food security plus the ability to prepare for, withstand, and recover from a crisis or disruption.
So, my pile of cheese would last a year. But, what happens after my family eats all of that cheese or if there was a disaster that destroyed all of the cheese? With food resiliency, I would need to have a plan to constantly replenish that cheese stockpile no matter what the world throws at me.
At Miller’s Bio Farm, we are constantly working on better food resiliency. It’s a food revolution that we think will create a better food future.
It’s important to note that nothing we’re doing is that “new”. In fact, it’s (mostly) radically traditional. We are taking the best farming practices and food preparation techniques from the past and bringing it into the modern day.
Here are 6 big things we are doing:
1- Resiliency of the soil with regenerative farming.
This might be the most important one on the list. Modern research shows that, if conventional farming continues and topsoil continues to degrade, we may have just 60 harvests left.
In order to keep regrowing crops, farmers need to fertilize their fields. Whether they use petroleum-based or more natural fertilizers, making and getting fertilizer to a farm uses a LOT of energy. It’s simply not a sustainable farming practice. And, even if a farm needs fertilizer to grow the next round of crops every year, how much topsoil are they losing in the process? You need topsoil to put fertilizer on.
Enter regenerative farming. With animal-based regenerative farming, we naturally replenish and build the topsoil every year with minimal external inputs, with the goal of making the land better and more productive than the year before.
2- Resiliency because we work with a family of local small farms and processors.
99% of our products are grown or produced by our farm and other local Amish farms and processors that hold the same standards. I mean, that’s pretty incredible. Lancaster County is becoming a natural food mecca.
So, if one of our farmer’s properties is destroyed by a flood or one of our processors needs to close or who knows what else, we have a network that we can rely on to fill in the gaps.
We don’t want to vertically integrate and produce everything ourselves. We believe that resiliency requires a community, different businesses working together and supporting each other.
3- Resiliency of food quantity with nutrient dense foods.
I’ve heard people say that, when they eat nutrient-dense farm-direct foods, they feel full more quickly and eat less. Why is this?
Let’s say you eat a bag of conventional potato chips with basically no nutritional value. You will still feel hungry, because your body is telling you that it doesn’t have what it needs. It’s not getting the right combination of the basic building blocks of life from those potato chips. You can eat all the extra potato chips you want, but you’ll still feel hungry. This is called “hidden hunger”.
You can say the same thing when you compare our nutrient-dense milk, eggs, meats, produce, etc to their conventional counterparts. The calories from properly produced foods have more value.
Miller’s Bio Farm aims to produce the most nutrient-dense foods possible. No empty calories here. When you eat our foods, your body is satisfied more quickly, and you end up consuming less. That means that there’s more food to go around.
4- Resiliency of our hardworking staff and a close knit Amish community.
When there’s a crisis, the food supply is almost always affected. Let’s take the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many grocery store shelves were empty and shopping was difficult. People transitioned to online shopping, and our farm was… well… overwhelmed.
How did we produce and pack double what we were used to overnight? Farmer Aaron pulled in his community. He had former staff and others in his Amish community come to lend a hand. It was beautiful (and stressful), but the farm endured and made it through.
Right now, it's the Amish wedding season. We have staff taking off basically every Tuesday and Thursday. Do we cancel deliveries and pickups? No way. We rearrange our schedules and work hard.
5- Resiliency because we are off the grid.
Did you know that our farm is off the grid? That’s right. There’s no power lines connected to our facility. Our internet runs on hot spots. We would have no idea if there’s a power outage.
But, everything is not hunky dory. Our facility (the milking machines, cooler, freezer, etc) run off of diesel generators. We are reliant on oil. This is something that I would love the farm to work on. Wouldn’t it be neat if one day we could announce that our facility was 100% solar or wind powered!?
6- Resiliency because of our loyal customers.
You make all of the above possible. Without you purchasing our food, whether it’s regularly or every once in a while, we wouldn’t be able to continue on. You vote with your fork every time you purchase food. Thank you for your support and for being part of this food revolution with us!
Do you worry about food security or food resiliency? Are you making any efforts at home? Do these ideas impact what you choose to eat or where you buy it from?
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below (no account required - just start typing for the guest option to appear) or contact us.
PS: Our way is not the only way. Just like with any problem, there are many different ways of working towards better food resiliency. Thank you to everyone who is thinking about this and taking steps towards a better food future, wherever you are on your food journey.