Have you ever considered a career in farming but weren’t completely sure it would be right for you? Or maybe you just didn’t know how to get started. Either way, this video is for you, as working Oregon farmers at differing stages of their careers share their thoughts on what it means to be a farmer, and staff members of an Oregon-based farm training organization explain its structured educational program for future farmers.
Defining a Path to Farming
Historically farming has been passed from one generation to the next through working side-by-side with an experienced farmer. That fundamental process hasn’t changed, but the way the process is being implemented has.
Today, formal internships and apprenticeships on working farms must include structured educational programming to adhere to current employment laws. This approach protects both the farmer and the intern. It also helps to clarify the path for young people to begin building a farming career — which is good, because America needs more farmers and more farm mentors.
The Need for More Farmers
America is experiencing both a crisis and an opportunity in agriculture, as many of our country’s small to midsize family farms are being lost to the monopolization and commoditization of food production. The fact is: We need more farmers to regenerate healthy and robust local and regional food networks and to act as stewards of the lands we all depend on. And for young people who love working outdoors, living with the seasons, and growing food, a more formal career path to farming now exists.
For more information on advancing your farming career, contact these organizations:
1. New Entry Sustainable Farming Project - Tufts University
Production Credits and Thanks: A special thank you goes out to farmers Jack Gray and Chris Overbaugh (Winter Green Farm), Emily Cooper (Full Cellar Farm), Lili Tova (Flying Coyote Farm), Jonny Steiger (By George Farm), and Katie Coppoletta and Tayne Reeve (Fiddlehead Farm); to farm employees and trainees Mary Koppes, Daphne Gill, Stephen Lewis, and Piper Krabbenhoft; to EMSWCD Land Legacy Director Matt Shipkey; and to the staff members of Rogue Farm Corps for their support and participation. Selected video and photo files were provided by Rogue Farm Corps.
The four-part Farming For Life series was produced for MOTHER EARTH NEWS by Farming Is Life Media Services (FILMS), with writing and directing by John Vincent, and videography and editing by Paul Manda.
John Clark Vincent is a writer and author who lives in Portland, Ore. His most recent book, Planting a Future, presents a view of what’s happening within Oregon’s rapidly growing movement toward sustainable farming practices. In an effort to provide a glimpse into the many different aspects of such a surging movement, he uses profiles of 18 different farmers and farm supporters to represent the different elements of Oregon’s farm community. Find John online on his website, and read all of his MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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