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Guest Thinkers

Greenhorns Unite: National Young Farmer Coalition Emerging

Exciting news for Gen-Y back-to-the-landers this month. If you went upstate after college instead of to Wall Street, if you’re growing carrots and raising beef to sell at local farmers’ markets, if you think urban rooftops are for growing lettuce, if you’re helping to hold up the farm end of a farm-to-schoolyard relationship, you are not alone. And soon you might have a national coalition to prove it. A Young Farmer’s Conference held last week at the Stone Barns Center in upstate NY (you may know the center by its offshoot, an upscale sustainable restaurant in Manhattan called Blue Hill) has given birth to the idea of a National Young Farmer Coalition. This is big for young people taking on a lifestyle/career choice that can be as isolating and grueling as it is satisfying and rewarding.

Of course, any national coalition worth its salt needs a newspaper, too, or at least a very newspaper-like newsletter. Introducing: the Greenhorn Circular. The Greenhorns is a Hudson Valley-based grassroots nonprofit whose mission is to get young people to start growing things in soil, and to take pride in that important work.

Issue I of the Circular explains of the Stone Barns conference: “By the end of the workshop, there was a tangible excitement and a clear, collective message: We need to develop a National Young Farmer Coalition to give our movement a coordinated, powerful political voice. In doing so, we can work strategically with established policy groups in the sustainable agriculture field, both to address the specific concerns of our generation, and to inject our creativity and passion into the broader sustainable agriculture movement.”

Also featured in the Circular’s first issue, penned mostly by echo-boomer farmers:

  • A butchery workshop (titled “It Takes a Village To Make a Sausage”) recently held by Greenhorns in Mead Orchard, Tivoli, NY. “Butchers, poets, pastry chefs, writers, photographers, interns, activists and many hungry friends pitched in to pull off this glorious bacchanal,” the old-timey-looking paper reads.
  • Greenhorns Radio, which brings on guests like “upstate organic grain man who thinks beans are sexy.”
  • Terrifying ag facts: “The average age of the American farmer is 60.”
  • Healthcare for the underinsured farmers putting sustainable food on your plate.

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