I've pretty much always seen small, diverse farms as the answer to a lot of the world's problems. They are the sustainable answer to using less (or no) chemicals and fossil fuels for production and transportation, the answer to freshness and more nutrition; they build community and provide immediate security, in a sense, because we aren't screwed if the store sells out of eggs and bread in a storm.
Lately, though, I'm coming to see them in yet another light. I'm still fairly young and the future of the country, and the world for that matter can sometimes look a little bleak. The young people who are actually paying attention have real concerns about unemployment and the world. Will there be any social security by the time I "retire?" What might happen when oil shortages hit? Will the tiny bit of money I might squirrel away even hold it's value?
I'm coming to see this way of life as a retirement plan, and it's not that I want to spend all my time planning for forty years from now, however, I'll begin reaping the benefits now. Acquiring skills not everyone has and investing in tangible material goods and land means I won't be dependent on someone else to look out for me or feed me when I get older. Not to mention I find few things in life more satisfying than getting dirty and creative, inventing, being resourceful...that and picking food fresh from my backyard for dinner.