Films like Food, Inc. and King Corn have alerted some of us to the damage that agribusiness is doing to our food supply and our environment. What they haven't discussed is the damage it is also doing to our rural landscape.
When one huge farm swallows up the land of many smaller farms the agribusiness doesn't necessarily--doesn't usually--keep the exisitng farmhouses occupied with tenants. The original owners move out and the homes sit empty, slowly dying on the vines of our rural history.
It's sad and scary for anyone intersted in our architectural heritage to see how many great old Italianates, Queen Annes and Bungalow farm houses are now empty shells slowly disintegrating. And down the road a piece, sometimes a far piece, sits the brand spanking new agribusiness complex. Spread out and stretched tall across the rural vistas. These big business farming operations always have either a new faux mansion or an old, once beautiful farmhouse, which has been culled of all architectural history and distinction by the replacement of all its windows, doors, siding and context.
I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the business model to produce more of everything by polluting the soil and genetically modifying our food supply would also not give a hoot or a holler about our rich and beautiful rural architectural history. But it's a sad loss for our countryside and for us.