The New Generation of Farmers and Farming

 

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Image: Thomas Jefferson

http://tinyurl.com/gvc74

I will admit that before I watched Greenhorns I was expecting to be watching another documentary on climate change that was either going to depress me or bore me to death. What I found when I watched the video was quite different though. I was able to see multiple perspectives of modern day environmentally safe farmers, and what their lives were like. Although the hopefulness of this new generation struck a chord with me, it was rather troubling to see those doing things the ecologically conservative way actually had a harder time at making a living. This might be why only 2% of Americans are farmers or farm workers. This is also a result of monoculture farming which places large plantations in the hands of very few people.

800px-Ageratum_at_small_farm_(3797170833)

http://tinyurl.com/k9ntdv5

File:Ageratum at small farm (3797170833).jpg

While farming is a tradition as old as this country itself, monoculture is a phenomenon of the market revolution. We often associate American ideals with consumerism, but if we go back to the origins of our country, we are able to see that it is the small, independent farmer who so central to the American identity. The problem is, although the small farmer has been a respected figure in our community before, they have never thrived. This has only gotten worse with the development of monoculture, which completely dominates the agriculture industry and makes it impossible for small farmers to compete.

800px-Johnnie_Yellow,_a_young_Polish_berry_picker_on_Bottomley_Farm._Says_he_is_10_years_old_and_has_gone_to_Biloxi,_Miss...._-_NARA_-_523208

 Image: Polish Sustenance Farmer

http://tinyurl.com/kx3o3wg

However, there is hope. Recently, there have been more studies displaying the danger of chemical applicants in our food causing birth defects. This has opened doors for smaller farmers to popularize their crops and sell them on standard markets. Urban nurseries are springing up everywhere with the objective of restoring growth and farming culture back into cities. The USDA, which regulates what crops are grown where and who should grow them, is now granting more liberties to small farmers. In fact, things like the Farm Service Agency are being created specifically to fund new farmers. Thus, while farmers are still at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, they are instituting methods such as Biodynamic farming which may in time become a more viable economic option than more traditional farming methods. Biodynamic farming is the fermenting of plants and animals underground in order to protect soil health and in turn increase crop yields. In cities farmers are using rooftop farming and dwarf plants where full-scale plants might not work.

450px-Rockefeller_Center_Rooftop_Gardens_2_by_David_Shankbone

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File:Rockefeller Center Rooftop Gardens 2 by David

The solution lies in making environmentally stable, small farming a profitable career option. It is often true in society that the ones most deserving of recognition do not get it. However, it is paramount that we become benefactors of the environment, not merely for farmers, but for our future. The most feasible way to do this would be to incorporate some aspect of farming into our daily lives. I know that after reading this New Yorkers everywhere will be cringing, but even they have to admit that when the only plants you ever witness are made of plastic, that something must be done. By incorporating farming such as green roofs into cities and tightening restrictions on what we can and cannot sell in grocery stores, we can begin to make it possible for the small farmer to make a living, conserve the environment, and conserve ourselves.

Maggie

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4 thoughts on “The New Generation of Farmers and Farming

  1. This is very informative and interesting to read. I love how you apply all the problems (which are semi-depressing), but add the hopeful solutions in a more positive tone. This really allows the reader to become inspired as to how to help make environmentally stable, small farming a profitable career. This post is perfectly categorized into small and easy to read sections. I am a little confused by the first image. I have been searching for the significance of Thomas Jefferson throughout your post, and unfortunately I’m finding a lack there of.

    Furthermore, I would probably incorporate the link (if there is one) to watching the Greenhorns video. You made it sound pretty interesting, and I would love to look at it myself. Another factor I would add upon is the definition of monoculture and how it applies to this situation. I advise giving specific examples of what it is, and how it can help the current situation you are blogging about.

    One thing I adore about your post, is that regardless current emotion of the situation you are explaining, you tend to add a bit of humor. For example, adding “I know that after reading this New Yorkers everywhere will be cringing, but even they have to admit that when the only plants you ever witness are made of plastic, that something must be done.” was a great choice to really finish up the blog. Overall, this blog was very intriguing and inspiring. I feel if you just add a few extra details in the areas I discussed earlier, your post will be just that much better.

    Great job.

  2. Thank you so much for all the positive feedback! Understandably, I apologize for automatically assuming tha everyone has taken AP US History. In context, Jefferson is really the first to advocate the importance of the small farmer in society and the small farmer’s ability to keep people connected to nature as well being ethically grounded. The Greenhorns video was lent to me by Ms. Beamish. I am sure that Ms. Beamish would also not mind lending you the video if you intend to watch it! Finally, I agree with your comment on monoculture. Again, I think I have assumed a bit too much. Monoculture is the cultivation of one crop on a large plot of land that may or may not be native to that area. Monoculture relates to this topic because this is the current method of farming that is being used all across the Western World. It leads to problems such as soil depletion, deforestation, and chemical pollution. Thus, small, sustainable farming is the solution to this problem in that it will aid the rebirth of the soil and thus create greater yields. It will help bring back agriculture into the everyday lives of such an urban society. I appreciate your comment and thoroughly enjoyed your point of view.

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