As I've discussed with several of the potential founding members of middle Tennessee F.L.A.G. - Farmers for Local Animals and Grain - an important principle for such an organization is open accounting. By opening our ledgers to farmers and eaters alike, we encourage a measure of transparency that is often obscured by the sheer scale and norms of privacy that typically govern "business" endeavors.
In fact, from my perspective, it is precisely this conception of a farm as a business - of every family farm a profit-maximizing corporation unto itself - that I want to question. From the ancient Greeks to the current seal of the State of Tennessee, agriculture and commerce have long been representative of two distinct realms of human activity. Yet lately that's all agriculture is taken to be. If you can't make money at it, it's not worth doing. And maybe that is indeed the case.
But in any case, such a question certainly is not one that can be answered in the abstract and according to "theory alone," whatever that may mean. This question of agrarian economics, in other words, remains for me an open question, open to further inquiry and experimentation. In such a spirit, in the next post I will present the facts and figures for Ecotone in 2010. To spice it up a bit, I'll present these numbers in a format similar to the Harper's Index. Finally, to get a better understanding of the sentiment behind my approach to accounting, I cannot but recommend that you watch the wonderful short-film The Accountant (2001) as soon as possible. Then you will also understand that, as with all accounting, with mine there is inevitably a 4.5% margin of error, plus or minus.