Taking the first step into any new career is difficult, because you know it will lead to some genuine challenges. But given time and commitment, those first steps also can lead to substantial rewards. In that sense, farming is no different from any other career, but it does offer unique opportunities to experience the natural world while building a business and a community. Listen as two current farm interns, an apprentice, and a harvest crew leader share their views of what starting a new career on a farm really feels like.
What’s the Best Background for Farming?
Today’s new farmers come from extremely diverse backgrounds. Social workers, cooks, educators, office workers, retail salespeople, landscapers and builders, artists and writers. The list is as endless as any list of different jobs. But all future farmers have several things in common: They appreciate healthy food, they love being outdoors, and they care about the land. And there’s one more important criterion — new farmers can’t be afraid of hard work.
What Types of Challenges and Rewards Exist?
One of the most common refrains of beginning farmers is the need to take care of your body, because of the physical demands of farming. There’s often a need to make a lifestyle adjustment by learning to slow down, live more simply, and learn to flow with the seasons. And then there’s the need to learn so many new things, which can be daunting. But again, learning to manage the many systems involved in farming, like any career, simply takes time and commitment. And the rewards for that commitment are unique and remarkable.
For more information on advancing your farming career, contact these organizations:
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project - Tufts University
National Young Farmers Coalition
Rogue Farm Corps
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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