The young farmers of Jenny Jack Sun Farm.

The young farmers of Jenny Jack Sun Farm.

With the average age of farmers in our country around 55 to 60, there is a serious question of who will be growing our food in the future as our aging farmers retire or pass on. It seems large-scale, commercial farming holds little interest for upcoming generations, so even in “farming families” the children are not returning to the farm after education as they had in the past.

Behold the new generation of young farmers. True enough, they are not interested in large-scale commercial “factory” farming. They are highly educated, interested in health and environment, and see not only the need – and the opportunity – for small-scale farming, but feel the pull to get personally involved and heed that call. Some are returning to farming or gardening roots, others come to it through health, science, or just feel the pull. By working on smaller, more local farms, they are able to focus on organics and natural methods while learning and growing themselves.

The young farmers of Serenbe Farms.

The young farmers of Serenbe Farms.

Part of what makes small-scale farming possible is CSA’s. CSA stands for Community-Supported Agriculture, and it is just that: community members purchase a share of the upcoming season’s crops, sort of like purchasing a subscription for fresh herbs and vegetables. Their advance money aids the small farm in purchasing the seed, supplies and labor they need for the season, therefore ensuring that it happens at all. It’s a circle of community support and trust that sheds new possibilities on the future of farming.

These new farmers are not only young and educated; they are passionate about bodily health and nutrition, soil and water health and environmental stewardship. They visit and perhaps even intern or apprentice at small farms run by experienced organic gardeners. They’re open to trying or developing new methods while learning and returning to proven methods from previous generations. They’ve created a community of sharing and learning, eager and willing to pass along the knowledge to others wishing to help out or perhaps start their very own small-scale organic farms.

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Growing A Greener World is a national gardening series on Public Television that features organic gardening, green living and farm to table cooking. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening. This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest.

Comments

  1. says

    Great article,

    I run the most popular site for free information and resources for beginning farmers on the web. I make no money off of it. All ad revenue is used to host the site or donated to beginning farmer organizations. Just thought it might be a good resource to share with your viewers.

    http://www.beginningfarmers.org

    Thanks!

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