July 16, 2009

Young Farmers

A great piece today in USA Today about an influx of new, young farmers. It's an interesting read and makes me think there is hope yet for a more regional, sustainable system of agriculture in the United States. I liked this quote in particular, from a 27-year-old farmer in upstate New York:

"The America that I want to live in will support people who are willing to work their asses off, who want to do good things for their community. We're patriots of place. Here I am, I'm planting my trees."

This influx of young farmers is needed. As the writer, Elizabeth Weise, explains, the average age of an American farmer is 57.

Not so interesting, and actually rather infuriating (to the point that I want to personally damage a wall with my head, or at least a fist), are some of the thoughts posted in the "comments" section that follows the article. Usually it's easy enough to laugh off such comments:

"We are moving backwards into a peasant existence where you need to grow your own food to survive. This is progress?"


"I wonder how long it will be before the enviromentalists zero in on these common peole like they have the bigger farmers and put them out of buisness?"

OR, my favorite

This article makes me laugh. Urban liberals / progressives constantly berate and belittle any "gun lovin' redneck" any chance they get, yet it is those exact red-state / red-county rural types who live minimalist, organic lives by hunting and farming their own food. Liberals will read about such a lifestyle in $5 glossy magazines but it is that "good 'ole hillbilly" who is actually living the life.

... but in this case I can't even chuckle. These are people who are mired so deeply in their ideology, misconceptions, and grossly distorted view of reality that they can find fault in young adults who are brave enough -- 'cause I'm sure as hell not -- to jump into one of the most difficult trades that exists based on an honest belief that what they are doing will make things better.

These are not people who are trying to get rich, they aren't trying to fleece anybody, and they are willing to work their "asses off" -- at the great risk of failure and economic ruin -- because that belief is so strong. And these commenters read something like this and respond with misinformed cliches about "urban liberals" or those crazy environmentalists who just hate everything and want to do something bad, although what has never been adequately explained.

Then again, these are probably the same people who still believe there are WMDs in Iraq.


marzipanmom said...

I love the first comment you quoted. I suppose to these commenters, progress means unsafe food being distributed across the nation and salmonella scares on a regular basis! Obviously, the "progress" we've made in this country is not working! Hail to young farmers staring small farms!

marzipanmom said...

I mean starting...

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

That's all right. I think I have two typos in this post, which I guess I'll attribute to my anger or something... :D