Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers' Movement

Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers' Movement

Zoe Ida Bradbury, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Paula Manalo

Language: English

Pages: 183


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A community of more than 5000 young farmers and activists, the Greenhorns are committed to producing and advocating for food grown with vision and respect for the earth. This book, edited by three of the group's leading members, comprises 50 original essays by new farmers who write about their experiences in the field from a wide range of angles, both practical and inspirational. Funny, sad, serious, and light-hearted, these essays touch on everything from financing and machinery to family, community building, and social change.

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hours and material and property costs that went into helping this soil produce these carrots. I ought to shellac the carrots and hang them on the wall. For us, the value of our produce can be measured — at least imprecisely — by how hard we and our crew work to grow it. But what if the workers were just slow weeding the carrots that day? Or what if the farmer himself is a hack? What if it takes him three seedings over that many weeks before he even manages to get a row of carrots to germinate?

one, finding land to farm can occupy most of your twenties and thirties. Some people spend their working lives in another career and then retire into farming. Usually, there’s a combination of farm loans, savings, off-farm jobs, mortgages, investors, family support, partnership, and hustle. Usually, it is attended by lots of paper-work and committee meetings, endless schmoozing, and essays for the land-trust newsletter. It always requires patience. In buying that land, we’re in competition with

about keeping people employed over the winter, we can stretch our off-season to fit our schedules. Being a two-person farm certainly has its limitations, though. If anything’s going to get done, we have to do it. No sick days on our farm! Got a sore throat? Suck on some Ricolas. Without plenty of extra hands to rely on, it’s easy to get overextended. There’s also an automatic cap on our income — we can earn only what we can earn without relying on help. And at times, it gets lonely out there in

staring at a beast covered in dust and grease. No, I’m not looking in a mirror. I’ve got my hands in the belly of our beast, a John Deere 4020. Lucky for us, there are just a few old, cracking hydraulic hoses in need of replacement. It’s going to set us back only a couple of hours of wrenching, straining, and cussing to find the problem, and a hundred dollars to solve the problem. That’s a pretty cheap way to appease the diesel-burning gods these days. Growing up, I never thought to be a

have taken us weeks to harvest, our community had done in an hour. * * * Barnard is a rural town that reached its cultural peak in the late 1800s, then declined with the broadening of a globalized economy. The population of nineteenth-century Barnard was double what it is today, and everyone had a hand in the production of goods, whether by farm or factory. The lack of mechanization required people to work together in order to reap the harvests, thresh the grain, and bale the hay. Their

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