What is good for young farmers is good for all new farmers (young or old). We talk here about a young farmers movement, both because we are young farmers, but also because we have the bold aspiration to live in a country where young people CAN become farmers– not only those with existing capital in “second careers.” The crisis of attrition in American agriculture means that we have room in the field for young farmers, for middle age farmers, for hobby farmers and certainly for more sustainable producers to serve the food to our tables. Those who choose to serve their country food-need our nation’s support. They need our support, so that they can feed us into the future. The Farm Bill just passed with quite significant dollars dedicated to programming for New+ Beginning Farmer support- those monies are much needed by the organizations who help young, new, immigrant and women farmers get launched as independent farm operators. It isn’t a question of age-discrimination, its about creating a system that embraces the practitioners of agriculture-wherever they are, with whatever cultural preference or educational background. We need more farmers, and if we want to reduce the ‘oft cited’ average age-recruiting more young ones seems a logical tactic. Please understand: we love old farmers and middle age farmers (They are our parents, mentors and landlords)–but our needs as young farmers are slightly different, and we’d like to be heard too!
Remember this film (below) from Participant Media? How about more young farmer apprentices instead of young fast food workers?
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