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By Karen Weintraub Published: BBC News, 28 August 2013
Now, a small but – anecdotally – growing group of Americans are leaving the structure and security of an office job for the gruelling, yet rewarding work of earning money from the land.
Some want to be a part of improving the food supply for themselves and their community; others are excited by the prospect of becoming self-sufficient, or simply working outdoors like their ancestors did.
There are no good statistics yet on how many people are moving from desk jobs to field work, but Kimberley Hart, Karen Sommerlad and Erik Jacobs have all made the transition.
Ms Hart gave up making costumes for Broadway productions to grow vegetables on a modest rented farm in upstate New York, while Mr Jacobs left behind his career as a Boston-based freelance news photographer to study as an apprentice farmer.
Meanwhile, Ms Sommerlad left a campus planning post at Harvard University to grow everything “from arugula [rocket] to zucchini [courgettes]”.
The trend seems most noticeable in the north-eastern United States – where all three live – as well as in California, possibly because of the flourishing “eat local” movements and growth of farmers’ markets in both areas.
In the US, there are now 456,000 “beginning farmers”, defined by the government as those with less than a decade’s experience.