Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Growth of Young People Farming Sustainably

May as well keep the feel-good stories flowing.

On the heels of yesterday's discussion about the rebirth of cooking from scratch in school cafeterias, Mark Bittman's column this week in the digital edition of The New York Times ("New Farmers Find Their Footing") touches upon the sustainable farming movement in Maine.

More and more young people are electing to farm by choice. Sure, there's something nostalgic about inheriting a generations-old family farm, but creating a new homestead has an added romantic (some would say quixotic) feel.

This shift is on display at New York City's farmers' markets, where the number of people producing high-quality and chemical-free food (fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese, bread, yogurt, milk, etc.) is growing weekly.

For example, grass-fed beef used to be a specialty item; a lot of the beef for sale was raised (at least partially) on corn and soy. Now, it's difficult to find anything but 100 percent grass-fed, and its availability is widespread. Even the smaller satellite markets—not just gargantuan Union Square—have grass-fed meat for sale.

(To read about the health benefits of grass-fed meat and dairy products, click here.)

And, to paraphrase Bittman, the more farmers growing sustainable food, the better our society will be.

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