Tarrytown, NY, Dec 27, 2011 — Last summer we produced a series on the new generation of North Country farmers. This week we'll take a second listen to some of the highlights of the series, Farmers Under 40.
Two years ago about a hundred young farmers gathered in Tarrytown, New York and came up with the idea of creating an organization to support young people wanting to work the land and make a living off of it. They named the group the National Young Farmers Coalition. One of its co-founders is Severine von Tscharner Fleming. She manages Smithereen, a 100-acre farm on rented land in the Hudson Valley.
According to the USDA, the average age of the American farmer is 57. Von Tscharner Fleming says young farmers--descendents of traditional farmers, inner-city gardeners, homesteaders, college graduates and ex-suburbanites--face tremendous structural obstacles like access to land, capital, education, and business training. She told Todd Moe that one of the principle ideas behind the coalition is that if the country wants active farms and sustainable food production in fifty years, the next generation needs help.