By Kathleen Weaver
Most consumers believe produce comes shrouded in plastic; perfectly selected apples presented in a pristine package ready to enjoy. And while anyone eating fruits and vegetables excites me for all the obvious reasons; health and commerce related, there is one significant difference between the eater of today and that of the past. Eighty years ago most folks knew how an apple was grown, which is no longer the case.
Eighty years ago a substantial chunk of the workforce was employed in agriculture; 22% of workers representing roughly 27 of 123 million people who called the US home at the time. They farmed on small farms in all regions of the US producing mostly for their own subsistence. However, trends began to shift with electrification, mechanization, and infrastructure and transport improvements, allowing people to seek off-farm work. This is where we see the most substantial change in our food system that until recently remained unchallenged.