From coast to coast, 20- and 30- something adults are ditching their power suits and ties for shovels and seeds. From novice upstarts to young farmers carrying on a family legacy, we’ve rounded up some inspiring, young farmers, farming duos, and teams who are leading the charge in sustainable farming.
by Rose Egelhoff
Across the country, sustainable agriculture is growing on college campuses. Carefully nourished soil on old athletic fields and other underutilized areas is becoming darker and richer, and nascent orchards are surviving the trial-and-error pruning of novices to mature and bear fruit. These student-led farms are providing local food, community, and practical agricultural experience to their young caretakers.
Here are 5 farms across the nation where students are working, learning and experimenting in sustainable food production.
When Birke Baehr was 8 years old, he read about the possibility of high-fructose corn syrup containing mercury and grew alarmed, and curious. His curiosity led to further research about the health of foods produced through conventional agriculture. The more Baehr learned, the more he became convinced that he needed to tell others of what he was learning.
Wanting to get his message across to younger readers, Baehr wrote a children’s book titled “Birke on the Farm: The Story of a Boy’s Search for Real Food.”
Situated on the last few acres of a 140-year old family homestead, Everitt Farms hopes to serve as a platform for a local food district, returning a new Denver suburb to its old agricultural roots.
Located in Lakewood, Colorado, the farm is an urban agricultural experiment initiated by husband-and-wife team Derek and Kamise Mullen.
“We both have really wanted to do something like this for honestly, a good portion of our lives,” says Kamise Mullen. “It really wasn’t until we got married about four years ago that we actually started really growing food and trying to farm at all.”
A center of American jazz and African American arts since the Civil War, Tallahassee, Florida’s Frenchtown suffered under the weight of the 1980s street drug culture, notorious for violent crimes and directionless youth.
Today, through the efforts of teachers, volunteers and passionate young people change is most certainly afoot. The Tallahassee Food Network’s urban youth iGrow-Whatever You Like program and its Dunn Street Youth Farm offers character development, healthy food options and sustainable agriculture education, a trifecta that’s transforming lives in this historic neighborhood.