I run a small CSA. (community supported agriculture)
I often get questions from people who are interested in participating. I find it interesting that most of the people wanting to join, want food raised in a humane way, without all of the hormones and also want it to be CHEAP. This is quite impossible. It reminds me of the sign you see in lots of small businesses. You can have cheap but not good, good but not fast, and never cheap and fast and good.
The food industry in the last 30 years has really warped our notion of how food is raised, eaten, and most certainly purchased. I would love to provide for my family and raise animals for people cheaply. It is just not possible.
It is heartening to see that there is a movement on the horizon that is getting bigger and louder, that wants better food. It seems that people are even becoming willing to pay for this type of food. This brings me to the conclusion that most people need to stop and really analyze what they eat and what the dollars they spend are paying for in their food budget.
If you have never eaten a chicken raised in the sun on a local farm, please don't compare us to the bland, tasteless stuff on your local grocery store shelf. It doesn't even begin to compare. Most people do not know what pork, beef, chicken, turkey, etc REALLY tastes like.
Unfortunately eating well is going to take spending your food dollars in a very different way. You will have to make choices.
When considering how to spend your food dollars with local farmers, compare local farmers to each other, not to grocery stores and big bulk stores. We cannot compete and most of us do not want to even try to compete.