We're a relatively small-scale free-range pig farm, with 10 to 12 producing sows and two boars. Our vehicle is farmer's markets, along with direct bulk sales on the internet. This works quite well for us, and the farmer's markets give us access to a demographic who, for the most part, is already at least half conversant with our ethos.
We get to speak to dozens and dozens of people every weekend, and we make sure we spread a message of ethical stock production. Those same people are also willing to pay a bit more for our product, as they understand that they're paying for the provenance of the animals, not just a superior product.
I, not surprisingly, have a problem with intensive farming techniques. I adore my pigs, and they are the reason I work 7 days a week. In my conversations with like-minding producers, the message always seems to be "Don't attack the intensive farmers. They're just victims of a system that demands high volume due to low margins. It's the system that's to blame". That makes sense to me, and I've actually reached out to a few local intensive farms and have a decent working relationship with them.
However, I recently discovered that a local farmer's market hosts an intensive pork producer. The Barossa Farmer's Market actually hosts a few people who sell pork, but only one breeder, and that breeder is an intensive piggery.
This came to light when that market shared a post from that breeder, holding them up as an example of the ethical practices of stall holders. That post was a blurb written by the breeder, where they basically spun an intensive operation into something that is best for the pig's welfare (apparently sunburn is the reason that ecoshelters are better than free-range). The problem was that it was, almost word-for-word, plagiarised from a flyer we've been using for a couple of years at market. The owners of the piggery had been past our stall a month or two earlier, took a flyer, had a chat, and even bought some sausages. They then copied our flyer.
Anyway, since then questions have been asked of the breeder and the market, asking about the appropriateness of a farmer's market supporting an intensive piggery. Invariably, those questions are deleted. There's an overarching governing body for the farmer's market, but they have no power to intervene.
I'm now conflicted as to what to do. We don't attack intensive farmers as they are also seen as victims. However, these people are using a farmer's market, spinning their operation as ethical growing, and selling to unsuspecting consumers at a higher rate. I really can't explain just how much that bothers me, when I spend every waking hour trying to further our cause, and an intensive farm is using exactly the same vehicle to undermine it.
I'd love to hear the thoughts of others as to how you'd tackle this problem.