listen to the old timers
Advice for Young Farmers from Swanton Berry Owners by Vera Chang
In a recent talk for Seattle Arts & Lectures, Wendell Berry told aspiring young farmers to “listen to the old-timers.” I’m taking the revered American poet, philosopher, and farmer up on his recommendation, and I’m especially interested in veteran farmers’ views on farm labor practices, one of agriculture’s more sensitive issues.
Everyone – eaters and businesses included – has a role to play for farmworker rights. Farmers, however, have the added responsibility and challenge of trying to treat workers fairly within a system that demands cheap, industrial food. I do believe, however, that the combination of experienced farmers and the emerging crop of young farmers known as Greenhorns has the potential both to revitalize agriculture and instill fairness in the fields.
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