Roberto Falck Photography, Stone Barns
If there was one job I could wake up tomorrow and do, if would be farming. Along with the know how, I’d wake up with more discipline and the ability to be cheery at 5 am. How romantic it will be. To tend the earth all day, to feel the soil in my hands, the sun on my back, and to reap the overwhelming benefits of all my hard work, throughout the season, and to be able to share what I’ve harvested with many. And then I really wake up and remember I am just an ok backyard gardener, with some succulents, a small cherry tomato vine and much under-harvested basil. Sigh…
But how can we cope with the endless stream of evil food news constantly coming at us, with no end in sight? Thomas Mueller’s new book, Extra Virginity, discussed here in the NY Times, reveals that “50 percent of the olive oil sold in America is, to some degree, fraudulent.” Today I heard a report about illegal honey, which continues to fill our grocery shelves. A while back I did a post about Barry Estabrook’s book Tomatoland which discusses why our tomatoes have lost their taste and nutritional value over the years, as well as contribute to “slave” labor in the US. So, I joined a CSA...what’s next?
TruckFarm, founded by Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney
We’ve talked about this…simple, local, organic. Ok, I’m in. But there has to be more…and I don’t have a pick up truck (like the A-Mazing Truck Farm from Brooklyn, NYC)
photo from me HUNGRY!
Enter the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. The Stone Barns Center’s mission “is to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits us all.” Co-owned by Dan Barber, the center sits on an 80 acre farm just 25 miles north of Manhattan, not far from where I grew up, whose goals are to:
- Increase public awareness of healthy, seasonal and sustainable food.
- Train farmers in resilient, restorative farming techniques.
- Educate children about the sources of their food, and prepare them to steward the land that provides it.
The 2011 Young Farmers Conference took place at The Stone Barns Center on December 1 & 2 and gathered together some 250 young farmers from all over the US and the world.
From the Stone Barns website…
2011 YOUNG FARMERS CONFERENCE: REVIVING THE CULTURE OF AGRICULTURE
Young farmers. Usually they’re defined as under 35. But being a young farmer is really more a state of mind and being part of a movement with shared values about sustainable agriculture than being confined to an age bracket.
Young and beginning farmers are new to the field (some quite literally). They seek experience and hunger for knowledge. They are in need of capital and land and other tangible resources to make their journey practical and successful. They are idealistic, motivated by the desire to create a more equitable, regional, diverse and sustainable food system that fosters community and human and environmental health. They are ambitious and innovative. They are both back-to-the-land and high-tech. Feet on the ground, head in the sky, they live simply but want to change the world.
They are the future of farming.
Check here for more information about innovations in small-scale sustainable agriculture discussed at the conference, including FarmHack and The Slow Tools Project by Eliot Coleman. See a slideshow from the conference and hear the voices of the farmers below. (you can listen to the voices while you watch the slideshow)
And maybe tomorrow I won’t wake up a farmer, but I can support these farmers and their movement. How inspiring.