According to the USDA, it is estimated that half of all current US farmers will retire in the next ten years. Combined with high unemployment rates and limited farmable land, this presents an exciting opportunity for young new farmers looking to use cutting-edge sustainable methods to revolutionize our food system.
Meet Aaron, a new, 23 year old vegetable farmer from Vermont, who just completed his first independent season. His passion for the natural environment and need to make tangible change in the world drew him to farming, which allowed him to produce food for the local community. This series will follow his journey, highlighting the common challenges he faced as a new farmer.
The challenges Aaron confronted often prevent new farmers from starting their own business. But with the experience of a three-year apprenticeship on a successful CSA vegetable farm, as well as support in finding land and purchasing equipment, he was able to run his own small, independent operation this past year.
In response to these common obstacles, CILSFA’s Brickyard Educational Farm project has created the framework for a beginning farmer incubator program they hope to implement in 2015. It would provide the essential foundations that are so often out of reach for new farmers, including access to land and costly equipment, as well as finding a viable market. (Click here for more info.)
Young, beginning local farmers will be playing a vital new role in our communities, and will need our support for their efforts to succeed. This series hopes to bring the two closer together. It will follow parts of Aaron’s story from apprenticeship through his pilot year in Vermont, and highlight common start-up challenges that Brickyard’s program aims to help overcome.
Considering farming? Have questions about starting out? Ask Aaron in the comments below.