Needed: Young Farmers

Please apply.

Evidently, arable land is shrinking and the average age of farmers is about 57 years old, with 1/4 of farmers over 65. That’s not good news for tomorrow’s food.

The Rio Grande Community Farm is an incubator for new farmers. According to Sean Ludden, Executive Director, this year’s batch in the Las Huertas farm training program were women. We mused about this at the last Albuquerque Community Foundation meeting. Why are women coming in droves to shore up farming—a quickly diminishing vocation? The same holds true for beekeepers. More women than ever in this formerly male dominated field.

Perhaps it is because women are generally the gatekeepers for the well being of their children, the family and community. No surprise that they are being drawn into the profession of tending small plots of land and the husbandry of animals. They want a healthy food system.

We need less industrial farming and a war sized effort of expanding small farm — employing boatloads of people, not one or two old men at the helm of massive farm machinery in air conditioned cabs.

We need less square acreage of animal feedlots, dumping methane and the stench of suffering into the air, and foul waste into the water tables of communities.

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Satellite view of a feedlot

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Cows packed in feedlots for miles in Dalhart, Texas

We must vote with our dollars when it comes to food—avoiding the cost of so much environmental, animal  and community suffering. We need to support small farmers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said this, back when they were not villianized by Washington D.C.:

[The] growing scale and concentration of [Animal feeding operations] has contributed to negative environmental and human health impacts. Pollution associated with AFOs degrades the quality of waters, threatens drinking water sources, and may harm air quality.

My friend Deb is a case in point for the new face of farming. Unexpectedly she, as the daughter of a farmer, was the one who took over the family farm. Not a son. Deb’s facebook posts nourish me. I love visiting her farm via facebook! Her place is full of the beauty and the living experience of real food. Village Acres Farm and Foodshed is all color. Robust health. Organic and life affirming. It is full of animal whisperers.

 Here’s a recent post:

Chandler‘s poor sheep are apparently attention starved!

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Or this:
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Lovely morning spent in my pepper sauna!

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See what I mean? This is what #realfood looks like. And everyone on the planet should have access to this. Not the dead stuff, devoid of vitamins and minerals, grown from depleted GMO saturated, fertilizer and chemical ridden soil whence most food hails.
So, if you know an entrepreneur, itching to get their fingers in the soil, but need support and a piece of land, send them to Sean Ludden at Rio Grande Farms.
They aspire to to launch farmers from college to middle age into a new vocation!
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