Twentysomethings don’t know what to do with their lives. Industrial food can’t be trusted. The public image of farmers is (slowly) improving — but the average age is going up and up. These are perfect conditions for a new generation of farmers, people in their 20s and 30s who are starting small farms and joining networks of like-minded agriculture enthusiasts. The New York Times profiled a few.
Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and list punk rock, Karl Marx and the food journalist Michael Pollan as their influences. The Joneses say they and their peers are succeeding because of Oregon’s farmer-foodie culture, which demands grass-fed and pasture-raised meats.
The average age of farmers has been climbing, not dropping — it’s now nearly 60 — and the Times doesn’t offer any evidence that the “young farmers” thing is a real shift and not another trumped-up trend story. But the Department of Agriculture wants to make it a reality:
In response [to an aging farming population], the 2008 Farm Bill included a program for new farmers and ranchers. Last year, the department distributed $18 million to educate young growers across the country.
“In New Food Culture, a Young Generation of Farmers Emerges,” The New York Times