Generation X: Creating a Positive Change
Generation X, the once lost group of culturally indifferent, are finally making a positive change in our community. This group of people, generally categorized as being born in 1960-1982, is emerging as the next generation of farmers. These young(er) people disagree with the current form of industrialized and mechanical farming. They listen to punk rock, read Karl Marx and food journalist Michael Pollan for inspiration. This food culture is no more present than in Oregon's farmer-foodie culture, where grass/pasture-raised meat is the norm.
Clearly, a large reason this movement is occurring is because people want to connect to their food. They don't sense anything going into a large grocery store and purchasing cellophane covered meats.
The government responded with the 2008 Farm Bill, which "included a program for new farmers and ranchers...distributing $18 million to educate young growers across the country."
Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture said, “It’s great to invest $18 million to reach out to several thousand to get them interested, but the need here is pretty significant. We need to be even more creative than we’ve been to create strategies so that young people can access operations of all sizes.”
With the average age of farmers still being over 60 it is easily understandable why more resources need to be pushed into this new growing business.