5 Initiatives Cultivating Future Farmers [LIST]

The next generation is growing up to be the world’s future food producers.

Feb 9, 2015
teens farming

Creating a new generation of future farmers. [Shutterstock]

When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, how many of them say ‘farmer’? The answer ‘yes’ is on the rise, with a new crop of initiatives focusing on growing a new generation of farmers. For both city dweller and those who live in rural areas, cultivating food is more than just a relic of the past. Indeed, there is an increasing desire for people to know exactly where their food comes from and how it’s grown.
These five initiatives are part of that farming resurgence, creating new opportunities for young people and returning a future generation to the land.




1. JONES VALLEY TEACHING FARM

A formerly vacant property in the center of downtown Birmingham, Alabama is now an oasis of fresh food, producing over 200 different organic vegetable, fruit and flower crops. Working with local students, the Jones Valley Teaching Farm connects standards-based education to real-world food issues, collaborating with partner schools to provide students with innovative, hands-on programs that improve student learning and increase access to healthy food. It hosts a variety of educational programs for kids to the whole family including: cooking and nutrition coursesstudent farmers market and hands-on farming.

youngsters planting kale

Jones Valley youngsters planting kale. [Screenshot] 

2. FIRST GENERATION FARMERS

Fueled by the statistic that the average age of American farmers is over 58 years-old, the two intrepid twenty-somethings behind First Generation Farmers want to make the experience of farming accessible to millennials. The California-based community farm recently sought funding on Kickstarter for their farm incubator program, which would expose more young people to the ins and outs of agriculture in a supervised environment. While they didn’t make their funding goal, the farm has donated 30,000 lbs. of fresh grown produce to local food banks and serves as a community resource opening their farm to those interested in testing out their agricultural know-how.

First Generation Farmers Allie Cecchini, 26, and Christian Olesen, 24

First Generation Farmers Allie Cecchini, 26, and Christian Olesen, 24  [Screenshot]

3. WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)

For those looking to get their hands dirty, the global network of organizations matches volunteers with organic farms worldwide. While individual farms and volunteers vary widely, the deal is generally a four- to six-hour work day in return for food and accommodation, along with learning about living an eco-lifestyle. Tasks also vary – volunteers help out with anything from sowing seed, composting, gardening and planting to milking, feeding, wine making, cheese making and bread making.

WWOOF volunteers farming in Norway.

WWOOF volunteers farming in Norway. [Screenshot]

4. FUTURE FEEDERS

This Australian movement is looking to engage younger people in the fields of agriculture, land management and food production. The group is driven by ethical land stewardship standards and employs environmentally-sound techniques to cultivate food. The social enterprise is youth-driven, with the goal of creating successful growing models and opportunities for up-and-coming ethical farmers that will result in a solid network of like-minded folks throughout the country – or in their words,” growing young farmers from the ground up.”

Future feeders farmers

Two Future Feeders with the fruits of their labor. [Screenshot]

5. URBAN FARMING

The global nonprofit supports and encourages the establishment of gardens on unused land. With a mission to Create an Abundance of Food For All in Our Generation, Urban Farming educates local communities about growing their own food, and aids with emergency food relief by helping existing Urban Farming Community Gardens produce free food for those in need. Active across the world, the online hub provides educational resources and forums with green job training opportunities, placements and information about green businesses.

A family working on their own plot.

A family working on their own urban gardening plot. [Screenshot]

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