Midwestern commodity farmers are dabbling in fruits and vegetables

Most farmers in Kansas and other Great Plains states don’t grow fruits and vegetables. They grow massive tracts of soy, corn and wheat—commodities that are shipped overseas, or fed to farm animals, or processed into oils and sweeteners. There are signs that the Covid-19 pandemic may be changing that. Daphne Miller, a physician and environmentalist, writes in Civil Eats about grain farmers who are planting a few acres of vegetables—a mish-mash of peas, squash, radishes, and other plants that they call “chaos gardens” or Milpa mixes. Each acre, some farmers estimate, can generate thousands of pounds of produce. “Why would you want to grow more when there is such a surplus and revenue is so terrible?” one of them asks. That’s not a new question—but the pandemic is forcing some farmers to finally answer it.

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