Lexicon of Sustainability
Watchword: Growing Farmers

Watchword: Growing Farmers

To draw attention to the best and brightest ideas in sustainability, the Lexicon of Sustainability's Food List project defines the words that are integral to a healthy, transparent, and accountable food system. Each week, we explore a new word through artwork, films, recipes, and written works. See all Food List words here. 

Growing Farmers: The average age of the American farmer is 58. In fact, for every one farmer or rancher under 25, there are five who are over 75. Fortunately, with the growing interest in food and sustainability, many young people are inspired to pursue careers in sustainable farming.

Here are a couple of other future-of-farming terms you should know ...

Greenhorns: A mostly informal collection of young, brainy, energetic world changers. In an effort to enhance the visibility of the Young Farmers Movement, "greenhorns" use self-made tools, including films, books, radio programs, and public events, to engage and inspire their local community.

Farm Fairies: Recognizing the value in healthy, sustainable food systems, "farm fairies" work their magic and structure creative financial agreements that allow farmers to purchase land, set down permanent roots, and do what they love. Specifically, these people help protect farmers from being priced out of the land market by speculators. In return, the local food system is strengthened and a deeper connection between nature and the people is made.

Title: Growing Farmers
Location: Stone Barnes Center for Food and Agriculture, Pacantico Hills, NY
Featuring: Livestock Manager & Educator Craig Haney and Megan Schilling, his apprentice and a self-proclaimed greenhorn

The Growing Farmers Initiative at Stone Barns (pictured above) is designed to increase the number of sustainable small and mid-size farms through internships, workshops and conferences that:

1) Increase technical knowledge of organic and sustainable agriculture production and processing.
2) Show small farmers how to enhance their operations, build qualified staff, and gain access to land and market.
3) Provide opportunities for beginning farmers to build strong networks of personal and professional support.

Short film: "57" by The Lexicon of Sustainability

57 was the average age of the American farmer in 2013. Where will we find the next generation of greenhorns, and how will they be trained for these green collar jobs? Food education isn’t limited to helping the people who grow our food; we also need edible schoolyards like that of Alice Waters in Oakland, California to educate our school children about how to make healthy food choices.

For the past three years, the Lexicon of Sustainability has sought out the foremost practitioners of sustainability in food and farming to gain their insights and experiences on this important subject. What began as a photography project to spread their knowledge has grown to include short films, study guides, traveling shows, a book, and a website where people can add their own terms to this ever-evolving lexicon. See more at www.lexiconofsustainability.com.

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