'Where is Tomorrow's Farmer?' filmed on San Juan Island; explores the issue of bringing younger people into sustainable farming
September 10, 2009 · Updated 11:08 AM
Filmmaker Mike Hurwicz of Orcas Island has produced a 10-minute video, "Where Is Tomorrow's Farmer?", on San Juan Island.
The film includes footage of the Community Garden at Ackley's Corner, Heritage Farm, the Farmers Market, and Thirsty Goose Farm. It explores the issue of bringing younger people into sustainable farming, and features commentary from island farmers and other community members who talk of how important it is that we all look at the value of this kind of work, and how important it is that the age-old knowledge of how to feed ourselves is retained and passed on.
"We'd like as many people in the community as possible to see it," slowfoodlandandsea.blogspot.com reported. "So, send a link to your friends, and when you see Jim Lawrence, Jim Sesby, Bequin (Boreen), and the other farmers and community members who are in this video, strike up a conversation, and see if there's a way you can take part in giving our kids an opportunity to carry on this important and rewarding work in our community."
"Where Is Tomorrow's Farmer?" was funded by a grant from the Raynier Foundation to Irthlingz, a local non-profit devoted to arts-based environmental education.
Hurwicz wrote of the issue of bringing younger people into sustainable farming on his YouTube channel, "Our Little Island":
"If you pay a visit to your local farmers market, in addition a lot of good fresh, locally grown food, you're likely to see something else: a lot of gray hairs. The latest figures we have, which are from the 2007 census, say that the average principal farm operator in the U.S. is 57.1 years old. And that number is rising steadily year by year.
Put simply, today's farmers are aging faster than younger people are, shall we say, coming into the field. In fact, in just the five years from 2000 to 2007, the number of principal farm operators over 75 increased by 20 percent, while the number of those under 25 — already tiny — shrank by another 30 percent. Overall, the number of farmers 55 and up increased significantly, while the number of those under 55 decreased significantly.
Clearly, this is not a trend that can continue forever: If we want to have farmers tomorrow to produce our food, we need to find ways to bring younger people into the profession today."
You can link to the video in high-definition at www.greendept.com/tf/ ; and in low-def at www.youtube.com/ourlittleisland