Announcing: Winners of the Wisdom of the Last Farmer Contest | Civil Eats

Announcing: Winners of the Wisdom of the Last Farmer Contest

Civil Eats is proud to announce the winners of our young farmer’s contest who will receive Mas Masumoto’s new book, Wisdom of the Last Farmer. We hope that this book will inspire you in your work!

We asked our contestants to tell us where they farmed and what kept them going. Check out what they had to say below.

Our first winner is Emilie Schuler who farms at Waltham Fields Community Farm in Waltham, MA. Here is what she had to say about why she farms:

I love farming, and especially eating the fruits of my labor. When you know exactly how many toiling hours went into that carrot, you will never have tasted a better carrot: it will taste like the other farmers you laughed and talked with while weeding between those tiny, feathery shoots. It will taste like all that sweet, musty compost we worked into the soil, and the old Korean lady who came over to teach us the “proper” way to grow carrots, like they do in Korea. This is the kind of world I want my children to grow up in: a world in which everything has a story, and we are part of that story.

Our second winner is Stephen Cochenour, who is an intern for Colorado State University’s Specialty Crops Program on their 8 acre, certified organic farm. Here is what he had to say about why he farms:

My interest in farming always goes back to the fact that I love to eat. To me, food is more than something I have to deal with 3 times a day. I used to work as an assistant chef for a few years and loved being in the kitchen, but our clientele was pretty wealthy and I wanted to find a way to help educate people living at a lower income level about real food. Getting into farming has given me the experience to help people see where their food comes from and how it gets to them.

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Our third winner is Paula Somoza Manalo, who farms in the Redwood Valley in Northern California with Mendocino Organics, where she and her partner raise sheep, cows, meat chickens, Thanksgiving turkeys, pigs and year-round biodynamic produce. Here is what she had to say about why she farms:

I became a farmer because of health issues and I needed a lifestyle change. I wanted to get closer to Nature and offer something to people that would nourish their bodies and souls. I wanted to pursue a personal relationship with a farmer, and farming with him seemed like the best way to do it… What keeps me going: my partner’s humor and energy, the need in the world around us for better food and stronger community around food, watching the Earth’s topsoil disappear due to poor farming techniques, the fight with Big Ag and Industrial Organic, learning about the land everyday, getting stronger every season, the opportunity to play in the dirt.

Thanks for the inspiration from all our young farmer-readers! Be on the look out for more contests for young farmers in the future, and in the mean time, don’t hesitate to be in touch with your thoughts on what you’d like to read in our young farmer’s series here.

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Paula Crossfield is a founder and the Editor-at-large of Civil Eats. She is also a co-founder of the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Her reporting has been featured in The Nation, Gastronomica, Index Magazine, The New York Times and more, and she has been a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. An avid cook and gardener, she currently lives in Oakland. Read more >

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