Rebecca and Louisa often tell people that the most important and satisfying crop we raise on the farm is our annual group of apprentices. Way back in March when we started this blog we introduced this year’s group to you. We’ll have more input from them soon. But we are also proud of our former apprentices, some of whom are now running their own microfarms around the U.S. and just about all of whom are still actively involved in farming.
So in the spirit of fellowship we’d like to post this press release by one of our former apprentices, Chandler Briggs. He’s been farming for a couple of years now on Vashon Island, a few miles down Puget Sound, and he’s becoming a nexus for other young farmers through The Greenhorns, a national young farmers’ group. You can learn more about the group here and if you are in the area why not head to Vashon Oct. 4 for their Seattle-area gathering.
Here’s the press release:
Washington’s Young Farmers to Convene on Vashon Island
Grassroots Event Signals the Emergence of New Agricultural Leaders
SEATTLE – The Greenhorns, a national nonprofit organization led by a raucous posse of America’s new generation of farmers, will host a mixer for young and beginning farmers at the Vashon Island Grange Hall on Monday, October 4th at 5pm. An inaugural grassroots gathering, this event is co-sponsored by Northwest regional leaders in sustainable food and agriculture.
The Washington Young Farmer Mixer & Spit Roast is a multi-purpose event for networking and co-inspiration that will boost next generation entrepreneurs in a state where agriculture has long been the largest employer. These young farmers need and deserve support. Professional resources will be on-hand for over 100 young, aspiring and beginning farmers, rural & urban, from PCC Farmland Trust, Cascade Harvest Coalition and Farmlink. Attendees will mingle, swap seeds and learn while enjoying free farm-fresh food from local sponsors and listening to live music by The Tallboys and Polka Dot Dot Dot. The Washington Mixer is unique in hosting the preview screening of “The Greenhorns” documentary film about America’s young farmers movement, slated for wide release in 2011.
As in many other areas of the country, Washington’s young farmers are quietly leading a shift in agricultural demographics. USDA statistics show that Washington’s and the nation’s farmers are aging overall, with an average of 57 years old for principal operators in the most recent survey of 2007. However, Washington experienced a 32% increase in the number of principal farm operators 34 years-old and younger, between 2002 and 2007. During this same period, the number of all farmers under 25 – principal operators or not – more than tripled nationally. Those aged 34 or under more than doubled. These and other data describe a situation in which the prevalence of very old veteran farmers (65 years-old and older) dims the statistical reality and potential of a wave of new entrants. Events such as the Vashon Island mixer demonstrate that the crisis of aging is in fact being met by a movement of tenacious newcomers. This is a party with purpose.
WHO: The Greenhorns (http://www.thegreenhorns.net/)
The National Young Farmer Coalition (http://www.youngfarmers.org/)
WHAT: Washington Young Farmer Mixer & Spit Roast
WHEN: Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 5pm
WHERE Vashon Island Grange Hall, North End Park & Ride Parking lot, Upper lot
Walking distance from the Vashon Ferry, a pedestrian/bus/bike accessible event
10365 S.W. Cowan Road Vashon, WA 98070 Google Map
Contact for more information: Chandler Briggs (206) 463-0341 firstname.lastname@example.org