Groups trying to grow next generation of farmers
August 13, 2012By Jenny Callison
As farmers in the United States age out, young people are not stepping up to take their place in the same numbers. That’s a looming problem an area partnership is trying to address.
Brunswick Community College, Brunswick County Cooperative Extension Office and Feast Down East (also known as the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program) have collaborated to raise awareness of the coming drought in farmers that will affect southeastern North Carolina as well as other agricultural regions.
“We’re trying to generate a whole new crop of farmers,” said Jane Steigerwald, director of Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program at University of North Carolina at Wilmington. “A lot of children of farmers go to school and leave to go to other states for jobs. We’re trying to lure them back.”
As part of the initiative, the three organizations will present the area premiere of “The Greenhorns,” a documentary that explores the efforts of young farmers affiliated with America’s Young Farming Community. The screening is 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Brunswick Community College Leland Center, 2050 Enterprise Blvd. in Leland.
A panel discussion following the film will feature Margaret Shelton of Shelton Herb Farm, Morgan Milne of Red Beard Farm and Molly Rousey of Copper Guinea Farm. They will share their experiences and challenges as farmers in southeastern North Carolina. Mark Blevins, director of the Brunswick County Cooperative Extension Office, will moderate.
“As the local food movement grows and takes shape, we are compelled to address the future of the very backbone of our local food system – our farmers,” Steigerwald said in a release. “With the farmer median age currently at 57 years, it seems clear there is a need to help a new generation of farmers carry on the heritage and legacy of farming.”
Feast DownEast was established in 2007 to join public and private agencies together to create a local and regional food system that supports local farmers, increases the sales of local farm products, educates consumers and the public on the importance of buying local and sustains and expands farm employment, profit and ownership.
Registration for the event is required. To register, go to www.feastdowneast.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.