Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hipster farmers

Looks like my Michael Pollan reference wasn't too far afield: this article refers to Pollan as inspiring a generation of small scale farmers. They sound like neo-hippies, like my friend Austin out in Oakland but with access to land.

And who knows? Things may work out for them: if the Slow Food movement actually increases demand for sustainably raised food, then these folks may just be on to something. Certainly the last decade or two have seen the explosion in popularity of the farmer's market: could this be the next wave?


  1. I've produced my own watermelons the last three years, if my parents home had more room I would make strawberries and stuff, my 'farming' techniques and information come from the back of the package of seeds bought at my local Lowe's, but I enjoy eating, and making vodka-melons out of my own grown watermelons.

    I also know of a man who grows his own corn behind his house. It's a plot about 10 feet by 10 feet and has elephant corn in there. It's ridiculous to look at a suburban neighborhood and see corn and watermelon and carrots, but I like eating watermelons that I know has only seen sun and water that I put on it myself.

    -Tyler McCleaf

  2. I thought that this article about local farming was really interesting. I always try to buy my produce from local vendors, hoping to both support the local economy and ensure that the food I am receiving is of the highest possible quality. It was great to read about so many young people becoming interested in growing their own food. Ideally, movements like these will allow our nation to slowly start moving away from the practice of producing most of our food on large farms, farms which are often sprayed with pesticides and produce food in an unsustainable manner.

    I have some experience with the type of farming that was described in the article. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time in the summers in upstate New York, in a town called New Paltz. My best friend lived in this town, and her family was a part of a small farming co-op. Each week, my friend's mother would drive to the farm and pick up the fruits and vegetables that the family needed, as well as things like eggs and milk. This locally-grown food was fresh, sustainable and, most importantly to me at the time, tasted great. I believe that if more communities were able to use a farming system like the one that my friend’s family was a part of in New Paltz, large-scale industrial farming could be reduced significantly.

  3. Local farming is a great way for people to save money and enjoy fresh produce. In my backyard we grow squash, peppers, and tomatoes every summer. The produce tastes better than the food bought in the grocery stores and you know what fertilizers were used to produce the crop. We have been doing this for about five years now and have reeked the benefits. In order for crops to be grown locally produce prices would have to compete with large corporations produce prices in the market. People would have to be willing to lose money to obtain better quality produce. Our economy has a lot of things to change to become more efficient in the future.

  4. My dad grows a small crop every year without fail and when it starts growing, it explodes. I use to help him all the time as a kid with picking tomatoes and green beans. He also grows pumpkins, lettuce, rhubarb, asparagus, peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, squash and more. Though it can vary from year to year I wonder how much money he is saving because I would always see a bowl in the middle of our dinner table full of vegetables. We also have a red and green apple tree in out front yard and NOTHING beats a fresh apple cinnamon pie. When you can grown it fresh, not only does it taste better, you know where it's coming from and is healthy for you to eat. It's hard work to grow a small scale farm, but I think its a step in the right direction.

  5. During the growing season, I don't go to the grocery store. My family converts half of our sizable backyard to a plot and grow the majority of our food. We use minimal fertilizer, and it usually works very well, though, it does take a lot of work to manage it. Small scale farming like this can really reduce the pressures on the ecosystem if it is done well. Especially when farm heavy areas experience a lot of erosion and water system pollution.
    For a while I was involved in something similar, we managed guerrilla gardens in the city and provided food every week free around town. Starting of is a good step, but a general decrease in consumption is what is needed to really get things going.