The New Family Farmer (VIDEO) | Civil Eats

The New Family Farmer (VIDEO)

A New Family Farmer Inside His Greenhouse

According to the latest 2007 USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service, roughly 4 million family farms have been lost since the 1930’s, though it should be noted that small farms (50 acres in size, or less) have increased about 13% compared to the earlier USDA 2002 census data). As the population of family farmers continues to age, there is also a critical shortage of young farmers to take their place. Michael Paine is a rare breed; he doesn’t come from a farming family, and he’s relatively young. His story is a good example of the unique challenges facing those who wish to take up farming.

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Rebecca Gerendasy is an award-winning filmmaker and veteran television journalist. After 20 years at KTVU in San Francisco, Rebecca, and her partner, Fred, formed their own film company, Potter Productions, Inc., producing critically acclaimed work that emphasizes story at the heart of each project. In May of 2006 they launched Cooking Up a Story, one of the first online television shows dedicated to the subject of people, food, and sustainable living. Rebecca continues to bring the people behind our food to life, through stories and information that focus on agriculture, ecology, and the environment. Rebecca's work has been seen on Fox, CBS, NBC, Food Network, CNN, and other networks. Her current project, Food.Farmer.Earth is part of YouTube's Original Programming Initiative, a weekly series that examines the many different aspects of our food system. Rebecca and Fred live in Portland, Oregon. Read more >

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  1. Hello,
    Yes, we are seeing the same thing, farming today is very difficult, when Jane and I first started living off the grid we did market gardening to make a living, and found success there. It's not all about energy production anymore either, food has become a real focus for us, and it is good to see people like Michael taking it on. We might suggest he switch to soil block technology, I see all of those plastic growing containers in the background... it worked great for us.
  2. Recently Mike was talking to a group of young farmers (and others interested in the subject) and he suggested not to be so married to the idea of owning land - consider leasing as an option.

    I think these days it helps to be open to new ideas and be very creative at how you go about it.
  3. Bobg
    I'm not a farmer but I was raised on my grandfather's farm (26 acres.) My thoughts here might be totally wrong and I welcome comments. I'm wondering if the 50 acre farms mentioned in the article might be ideal rather than the mega-thousand acre factory farms which require extensive applications of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The 50 acre farm might be much more manageable for a farm family.

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