New, small farms with young hip operators

At least anecdotally, the local and small farm movement seems to be taking hold.

In New Food Culture, a Young Generation of Farmers Emerges

...Mr. Jones, 30, and his wife, Alicia, 27, are among an emerging group of people in their 20s and 30s who have chosen farming as a career. Many shun industrial, mechanized farming and list punk rock, Karl Marx and the food journalist Michael Pollan as their influences. The Joneses say they and their peers are succeeding because of Oregon’s farmer-foodie culture, which demands grass-fed and pasture-raised meats.
 ...The Grange master, Hank Keogh, is a 26-year-old who, with his multiple piercings and severe sideburns, looks more indie rock star than seed farmer. Mr. Keogh took over the Grange two years ago. 
He increased membership by signing up dozens of young farmers and others in the region. He had the floorboards refinished, introduced weekly yoga classes and reduced the average age of Grange members to 35 from 65. 
The young farmers crowded around a table brimming with food they had produced — delicata squash, beet salad, potato leek soup and sparkling mead. On a separate table were two pony kegs of India pale ale.... 
...“Literally, four years ago, this was not happening,” Ms. Jones said, gesturing to the 30 farmers who congregated at the hall. “Now, everywhere you turn, someone’s a farmer.” 
I think we may have a better idea whether this is real or not when the 2013 census comes out. The numbers from the 2007 census convinced me of nothing.

It's hard for me to imagine how these young farmers will make it.  Some people are willing to pay more for more healthful food that is locally grown.  But my guess is that share of the market is pretty thin.  Even if the movement grows, they will find it ever more difficult to compete with large-scale agriculture donning an organic label.  This doesn't seem like the thing that's going to support very many local farms.

I hope they make it. I really do.  But I'm doubtful.


  1. Fascinating. Here in Austin, the local farm movement is in full effect. It's enough to make you think that something substantial is underfoot.

    But then you realize Austin is a highly self-selected community of well-educated, progressive, and generally well paid (i.e., great market) folks. And to some extent, it may be true that the allure of "local farming" is not just a choice, but an inherent disposition--just as some studies have shown that liberalism/conservatism is partially an inherent tendency.


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