Age of the farmer

original post entitled ‘idealistic young farmers are using small-scale organic farms to save the dying agriculture industry’ was posted at theplaidzebra

In Uganda, young people are not too thrilled about the agriculture sector, and since at some point it was /is used as punishment in schools, most young people tend to look to agriculture as a punishment. This makes it rather difficult to convince them that the future of the country lies in agriculture, and the opportunities are endless along various value chains.

There have been sighted cases where a young person inherits land either from a parent, relative, etc. The land which should be seen as an opportunity, turns into a burden for them. They lack the means and capital to make something of the land, and in some cases, the young person does not know what to  do with the land.  Some young men therefore have sold their land and moved to the city, hereby contributing to the increasing rural-urban migrations in major sub-Sahara African cities. The increased migrations by both young and old are pressing more pressure on family farms, deprived of the labor and knowledge to cultivate the land.

According to the original article by Jonathan Moss, Family farms, which are the foundation of life in North America, are faced with disinterested youth who have been accused of suffocating the industry. Today, the average age of a farmer in America is 57 years. Currently, only six percent of farmers are under the age of 35. We have a greying farming population that, “if left unchecked, could threaten our ability to produce the food we need, and also result in a loss of tens of thousands of acres of working lands that we rely on to clean our air and water” says Secretary Vilsack at The Drake Forum on America’s New Farmers.

The future of agriculture in North America lies with the youth. And it is in this same spirit that  Director Spencer MacDonald and photojournalist Eva Verbeeck travelled from Portland to Vancouver to work and live with young first generation farmers across North America who run small scale organic farms. For the film Age of the Farmer they document the dirty hands, worn boots and sun pressed skin of young farmers in an attempt to help the agriculture sector return to its former power.

Watch a section of the film here

Could this be a way forward in fixing some of the broken links in our food system and being able to make a connection to the food we eat?

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