• Kasey Crispin

The Future of Farming is Female {Week 11 CSA}


Purchasing and celebrating locally grown organic produce translates far beyond vibrant flavors and peak nutrition. It is literally fueling a transformation—one that's increasingly being led by women.


It might be surprising to learn that our nation's farming industry faces a serious problem: a lack of farmers. Currently, the average age of the American farmer is 58, with over a third of them beyond 65. While there has been a slight trend of younger farmers getting into the field (ha), this barely scratches the surface of the farmer shortage we're facing.


Despite the economic and food security issues posed by this situation, there lies an opportunity in this great transition. As it stands, less than 1% of farmland in America is organically farmed. Put another way, over 99% of our country's valuable arable land is reliant on petrochemical and biocidal applications. It's what makes agriculture one of the biggest polluters and contributors to climate change on earth. It's a sad kind of ironic, and it doesn't have to be this way.


Enter: small family farms focused on regenerative agriculture. Farms that are connected to their communities and enjoy a mutual exchange of appreciation and support. Farmers who recognize that healthy bodies, minds, and ecosystems begin with healthy soil. And farms that nourish their neighbors while healing the land. What would it take for more farms like this to take over (even just a small fraction of) these retiring mega-farms? What would it look like if thousands of acreage of conventional commodity crops were transformed into diversified vegetable production with a focus on restoration? How would we look (and feel) as a society if our addiction to corn syrup and the endless other derivations of commodity crops was gradually replaced by a celebration of real food and colorful harvests? It would most certainly look beautiful.


Sound idyllic? It's already happening—and your weekly CSA with us makes you an integral part of it. While our tiny farm pales in comparison to the vast majority of giant farms across our nation, it is highly productive per acre, without sacrificing soil fertility in the process. And we're not alone: regenerative farming is on the rise and is being met with fierce enthusiasm in its respective communities. People appreciate clean farming, and they enjoy the rich flavors it fosters. And now, more than ever in the history of western agriculture, women are racing to regenerate the fields.


Farming has long been dominated by white men, but the latest agricultural census confirms the shifts we've been seeing firsthand on our farm: The future is female farmers. In fact, 36 percent of all farmers are currently female, which is 27 percent more than a decade ago. And at least 56 percent of farms have at least one female farmer. When we did our call for interns this past spring, describing it as a "farmer incubation" opportunity, we had 40 applicants— and 38 of them were female.


As a female farmer myself, with small children beside me nearly every hour, I can speak to the benefits of farming as a mother. I see the desire to be mostly outside in my fellow female farming friends, and the long-term goals of raising a family where nature plays a front and central role. There's also a sense of purpose that so many Millenials (and beyond) are yearning for, and the foreboding environmental challenges we've been learning about since childhood feel less ignored and daunting when our hands are tending the earth. While the reasons for women to consider farming are as diverse as the women themselves, it's a refreshing trend at a critcal time. We have a long way to go with our disjointed and corporatized food system, but our momentum is gaining and we're committed to the long haul. Fortunately, we're a well-fed, tenacious bunch. :)


Summer (left) volunteered on our farm this season and Kayla (right) is one of our interns. Both came eager to learn how to grow healthy food.


Inside Your Box This Week


White Kohlrabi

Curly Kale

Cucumber

Radicchio

Salad Mix

Scallions

Parsley

Carrots

Fennel

Garlic

Recipes Worth Trying...

{click images to go to recipe}




For supporting our small organic farm.

For helping pave a way forward for regenerative agriculture.

For investing in young farmers.

For buying local.

We're honored to nourish you!







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