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Fast Company – an online publication that documents innovations in the world of business, recently published a list of the “10 Best Green Jobs for the Next Decade.”
Job #1? Farmer!
America has only two million farmers, and their average age is 55. Since sustainable agriculture requires small-scale, local, organic methods rather than petroleum-based machines and fertilizers, there is a huge need for more farmers — up to tens of millions of them, according to food guru Michael Pollan. Modern farmers are small businesspeople who must be as skilled in heirloom genetics as marketing.
Related careers: urban gardener; farmers market and CSA coordinator; artisanal cheesemakers; and other food producers.
A recent article in the New York Times – In New Food Culture, A Young Generation of Farmers Emerges profiles some of these new farmers and identifies some of the challenges they face, including access to land, capital and mentoring.
Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, said he hoped some beginning farmers would graduate to midsize and large farms as older farmers retired. “I think there needs to be more work in this area,” he said. “It’s great to invest $18 million to reach out to several thousand to get them interested, but the need here is pretty significant. We need to be even more creative than we’ve been to create strategies so that young people can access operations of all sizes.”
The article finishes with a quote by one young farmer – “Literally, four years ago, this was not happening, now, everywhere you turn, someone’s a farmer.”
Well… even if that isn’t quite yet the case, we’re definitely moving in the right direction!