We believe American agriculture needs reform. We need hundreds of thousands more people to join us in the work of agro-ecology, market gardening, urban forestry, agro-forestry, regenerative ranching, ecological restoration, nurseries, orchards, food justice and rural revival. This work can take many forms—Greenhorns’ mission is to create a welcoming cultural space and a practical professional resource for the incoming generation.
We make books, films, radio, parties, symposia, workshops, networking, and online curriculum. We are based in rural Maine where we farm and host programming and campers, but the work is national and international. 40% of earth’s terrestrial ecosystems are made up of farmed land of which nearly 30% is degraded by unsustainable farming. More than 30% of carbon emissions come from our food system, not to mention pollution, erosion, poison, injustice, habitat destruction and the undermining of earth’s living fabric.
70% of farmland in the US is owned by those over 65 years. 98% of rural land is owned by white people. 17% of US children are food insecure.
Transitioning our farming systems is a huge project. It is physical, it is technical, it is spiritual, it is a reparation for the imperialism, thievery and colonial project.
Land is the basis of all freedom, and land grounds us in a relationship with ecological truth, ecological flux, ecological abundance and mystery. We humans need land, and the food system needs us humans.
Our small towns need new businesses and families, more diversity. Our suburbs need more gardens and orchards, native plantings and runoff mitigation. Our cities need shade and street trees, need drainage basins, need buffering from coastal storms. All of us drink water from the land. All of us eat food from the land. We have a lot of land to heal and a lot of people to feed. Yes, we need your work, your body, your brain, your heart, your talent. The land needs you, the food system needs you. There are jobs here. Let’s get to it.
Greenhorns works to promote, recruit and support the next generation of farmers through grassroots media production. Our role is to explore the context in which new farmers face the world, through publications, films, media, and events - and by promoting the important work being done by so many organizations, alliances, trusts and individuals regionally and around the world.
We create guidebooks for new farmers, from our guide to Cooperative Farming to our newly remade digital guidebook for young farmers. Keep on the lookout for our guides to Bioremediation and Recreative Restoration of Farmland.
We also publish The New Farmer's Almanac: a collection of articles written by new economists, working agrarians, poets, agri-philosophers, and activists, lovingly compiled by the Greenhorns editorial team. Each Almanac focuses on the most fascinating and relevant issues in evolving agricultural technology, food systems, agroecology, politics, and innovations in sustainability. Published biennially, the New Farmer's Almanac is a window into the undercurrents of agrarian thinking.
Film and Radio:
Our feature film, The Greenhorns, has screened over 3,000 times in schools, churches, main street cinemas, farm living rooms and conferences across the U.S. as well as abroad. Much has changed in the 12 years since filming began, but many of the underlying issues and creative solutions have not. Request a screening here! Or see a 20-minute cut on our Youtube Channel.
Our radio show aired weekly for 8 years, interviewing next generation farmers and ranchers to discuss issues critical to their success. Greenhorns’ blog went online in 2010 and is a beloved resource for insightful news, educational offerings and other farmer-oriented opportunities.
We have also released six episodes of shorts called OurLand Films, capturing the important work of land regeneration, grazing, remediation, food distribution, and more. There’s much more to come - from historical cooperative farming in the American South, to Seaweed Farming and over-harvesting in the Northeast.
Starting this summer, Greenhorns has adapted selected workshops into an interactive digital magazine, featuring significant maritime and agricultural resources in Downeast Maine, highlighting the people who tend, conserve, protect and adapt to them. Earth Life, as we’re calling it, will be filled with resources, film, podcasts, and more from all corners of the new farmers movement.
We’ve organized hundreds of events in all kinds of venues from orchards, museums, farm stands and church basements, to repurposed grange halls and maritime museums - even at MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. We continue to bundle and broadcast media for and about the young farmers movement. Our work reaches a national audience via social media, e-newsletters, and the distribution of our print materials at conferences. We hope to see you there - whether online or in person.
The Greenhorns team is geographically widespread and volunteer-driven. Our core team consists of a few part-time staff who coordinate projects with a rotating crew of contributors and seasonal collaborators. Most of us have at least a couple hands or feet in farming, and with the others we coordinate media, events, and civic engagement.
We believe in grassroots community organizing, and in highlighting the voices of farmers in mainstream media. By bundling and broadcasting our down-to-earth messages, we hope to interpret the professional opportunities in agriculture for new entrants, welcome them to our evolving agricultural community, and build cultural solidarity for this new farmers movement.
Greenhorns was founded while Severine von Tscharner Fleming, founder and executive director, was attending UC Berkeley, CA. Severine wanted to study and understand the needs of the incoming generation of young farmers - the better to support a transition to a more regional, diverse and resilient agricultural system. The central question then as now was - what will it take for a new generation to succeed in the land transition that is already underway?
Over the next three years a diverse set of documentarians from many regions collaborated in the filming of the Greenhorns documentary, released in 2011. It was screened in more than 3,000 community screenings around the country and around the world. As we worked on the film we started a weekly podcast called Greenhorns Radio, on the Heritage Radio Network, which ran from 2008 through 2017. While traveling to promote the film and the host community discussions on how to support young farmers, we kept organizing and collaborating, helping to found and launch the National Young Farmers Coalition, a network that pushes for policy changes to support young farmers.
Greenhorns kept growing with panel discussions, mixers, workshops, land access sessions, networking and professional skills workshops - and with it our radio series, our resources collection, the beginning of our collection of guidebooks and the national map of resources called Serve Your Country Food were created. As new films came out about young farmers, we helped distribute these to our growing network via the UP UP Farm Film Festival. With each gathering, we continued to gather and bundle the voices, aspirations, struggles and shared analysis of the young farmers movement, inspiring the creation of Agrarian Trust in 2016, to use well-tested land conservation mechanisms to address land access on a structural level.
Along the way we created our beloved publication, The New Farmer’s Almanac, a biennial literary journal for the new agrarian and the agroecologist. Inspired by traditional Almanacs but acutely focused on broadcasting the narratives and experiences of new farmers and the movement, the NFA is one of our prized projects, and has held the voices of hundreds of practicing farmers, environmentalists, activists, and artists since 2013 - you can find volumes 1-4 here, and stay tuned for volume 5 - The Grand Land Plan- due out in February 2021.
In 2018 Greenhorns relocated from Essex County, New York to Washington County in Downeast Maine - Pembroke, to be precise. We are now farming, writing, creating, and collaborating from Smithereen Farm, on Leighton Point Peninsula, and from Reversing Hall, the old Odd Fellows Hall at the head of the tide. With the move, our grassroots collaborative began a new phase - one defined by our new home region and responsive to the natural resource economies that continue to shape this place. Today, the work of Greenhorns has blossomed into a robust community of young farmers committed to America’s responsible agricultural revival.
The Greenhorns Headquarters is Reversing Hall, a restored Odd Fellows Hall in Pembroke, Maine. We also inhabitat several other buildings in Pembroke, including Grey Lodge, Pembroke Ironworks, Pennamaquan Farm, and Severine’s Smithereen Farm. These dignified spaces and the environment around us serve as a hub for our creative commons.
Reversing Hall houses our 8,000+ volume agricultural library, film screenings, collection of tools and art-making materials, catering equipment, and media lab. Greylodge holds our shop, mycological lab, silk screen studio, gift shop and artist-in-residency program. It's been a big and positive change to have a rural headquarters for living, working, farming, cooking, exploring nature together, while collaborating digitally with a national network. From our rural campus, we coordinate events and tours around the country, edit and produce media projects, and engage in research and networking. Making videos, a literary journal, guidebooks, podcasts, exhibits… this is all much more fun and compelling when centered around a historic small town in coastal Maine.