Art: Nat Damm
Benjamin Shute and Miriam Latzer
Farmers, Hearty Roots Community Farm
In a shallow 2008 New York Times style-section article, Benjamin Shute was portrayed as a hipster farmer. But growing food is no trendy pastime for him and his business partner, Miriam Latzer, 35. Since 2004, they’ve run Hearty Roots Community Farm, which is tackling two big challenges facing sustainable agriculture: 1) the scarcity of affordable land for new farmers; and 2) the need to broaden access to sustainably grown local food. They’ve already had to move their operation once because they couldn’t afford the multi-million-dollar sales price of the land they’d been renting near New York City, but they got up and running again on a new rented 23-acre farm. Their crew of nine people produces food for 400 New York City families through a CSA program, and they work with city agencies and NGOs to get 1,000 pounds of produce each week to five food pantries in Flatbush, Brooklyn—bringing fresh, top-quality food to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it. Shute is also working to organize the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, a new nonprofit that provides support for beginning farm entrepreneurs. Read a Grist article about Shute and other young farmers.
Watch food-pantry reps visit Hearty Roots farm: