Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future

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Letters to a Young Farmer is for everyone who appreciates good food grown with respect for the earth, people, animals, and community. Three dozen esteemed writers, farmers, chefs, activists, and visionaries address the highs and lows of farming life--as well as larger questions of how our food is produced and consumed--in vivid and personal detail. Barbara Kingsolver speaks to the tribe of farmers--some born to it, many self-selected--with love, admiration, and regret. Dan Barber traces the rediscovery of lost grains and foodways. Michael Pollan bridges the chasm between agriculture and nature. Bill McKibben connects the early human quest for beer to the modern challenge of farming in a rapidly changing climate. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree probes the politics of being a young farmer today. Farmer Mas Masumoto passes on family secrets to his daughter--and not-soon-forgotten stories to us all. Other contributors include Temple Grandin, Verlyn Klinkenborg, Wendell Berry, Rick Bayless, and Marion Nestle.
Letters to a Young Farmer is both a compelling history and a vital road map--a reckoning of how we eat and farm; how the two can come together to build a more sustainable future; and why now, more than ever before, we need farmers.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture released Letters to a Young Farmer,  a book which compiles insight from some of the most influential farmers, writers, and leaders in the food system in an anthology of essays and letters.

The United States is on the cusp of the largest retirement of farmers in U.S. history, with more farmers over the age of 75 than between the ages of 35 and 44. Letters to a Young Farmer aims to help beginning farmers succeed through advice and encouragement, while inspiring all who work in or care about the food system. Among the 36 contributors to the book are thought leaders Barbara Kingsolver, Bill McKibben, Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, Temple Grandin, Wendell Berry, Rick Bayless, and Marion Nestle. I was honored to contribute to the book as well!

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a nonprofit sustainable agriculture organization with a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system that benefits all. The organization trains farmers, educates food citizens, develops agroecological farming practices, and convenes changemakers through programs such as a Summer Institute for High School Students and a two-day Poultry School conference.

Food Tank spoke with Jill Isenbarger, CEO of Stone Barns Center, about Letters to a Young Farmer, the need to encourage young farmers, and hope in the future of the food system.

Isenbarger says “we created this book to give voice to farmers and illuminate the choices that can lead to a stronger future, for them and for all of us who eat. It reminds us that farming has always been a political act. These young farmers, who choose to farm rather than go into law or medicine or finance—they are taking a stand; they are expressing their commitment to the land, to their communities, to the food movement.”

Read more at FoodTank page