we like the sound of hundreds

posted November 4, 2010

Hundreds of young farmers expected at ‘Greenhorns’ screening tonight By Jennifer Pittman

PESCADERO – Hundreds of young farmers are expected to leave their wet fields early today to gather for some local food, music, workshops and a preview screening of “The Greenhorns,” a documentary about a burgeoning new generation of American farmers.

The Greenhorns is a 3-year-old nonprofit organization focused on rallying young farmer entrepreneurs into an agricultural movement. It has grown out of a film project of the same name by Severine von Tscharner Fleming, a UC Berkeley graduate who is screening her documentary at regional farm events across the country before its public release in 2011.

The film includes interviews from several local young people for the project including farmers from Freewheelin’ Farm in Santa Cruz and Pie Ranch and Blue House Farm in Pescadero. Pie Ranch is hosting the event starting at 3 p.m.

“It’s a really powerful and fascinating world to be involved in,” said Jessica Beckett, a UC Davis graduate student and “market gardener” who toils part-time in a 1-acre parcel on Ocean Street Extension in Santa Cruz. “It’s a cultural movement.”

Beckett, who sells flowers and avocados as La Semenza Farm, plans to attend the event to socialize and gather more information for her thesis on land access and the viability of farming. The harsh economic reality of the business can be daunting for young farmers.

“I see people going into it and they’re not making money,” Beckett said. “A lot of them are getting spit out the other side.”

The organization has already hosted 37 similar mixers across the nation “to create a space for young farmer entrepreneurs and up-and-comers from the nation’s leading agricultural state to hang out, network, share skills and connect with statewide support organizations.” A couple of the events in the Pacific Northwest drew more than 300 people, according to von Tscharner Fleming, who expects an equally good turnout in Pescadero because the area is home to many teaching farms.

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