The plain truth is that the economics of food are no different now than they were 100, 200, or 2,000 years ago. Unsustainable farms are unsustainable no matter how fashionable the food or how hyper-aggressive the industry trade groups are in buying media coverage in Mother Jones. And young people who take over farms, taught to believe their idealism trumps their business sense, put themselves at risk by not delivering on their agreements, thinking food is the art they saw in Whole Foods advertisements, and food will be delivered when it's delivered. When supermarkets don't get orders filled, they move on to other suppliers.
When small farms start failing, they get sold to more successful farms. Presto, organic farming has become conglomerates.
“There are basically no small-scale farmers who have been in the business more than six years or are over 40,” Matthew Linehan, founder of the Hudson Valley’s Sparrow Arc Farm, told Cara Parks at Refinery 29. “Small-scale farming isn’t new; people were doing it in the '90s, and those people quit. Because your body can’t take that kind of abuse into your 40s..."
So as Big Organic becomes Big Ag, look for more industrial farms. The small-scale fad will fade quickly when the reality of food production sets in.