We had the opportunity to give a farm tour to some young farmers the other day. This passionate group is developing community gardens in under-served communities otherwise known as “food deserts.” They also glean fruit from farms and backyard trees to help supply the local food banks.
They were full of questions about organic farming and Mike shared his wisdom and expertise with them. Our dog, Penney, enjoyed all the attention, too. It is great to know that there are young people interested in using their own time and resources to meet the needs of others. This next generation has many more tools when it comes to networking and finding resources than the previous one. They can use technology to farm more efficiently and research topics to gain knowledge. Still, it’s nice to know us old farts have something to contribute, too.
Mike loves sharing the knowledge he’s gained in his 33 years of farming with others, young and old. Some things about farming will never change, though. For one, it is just plain hard work. It’s hot and dirty, too, especially here in the central San Joaquin Valley. Also, it is unpredictable as I wrote about in another post. No matter how much technology or science you have, the weather cannot be controlled. There is an element of faith needed to farm.
Us old fart farmers are doers. This new generation are doers and thinkers. When things go south on the farm, we tighten our belts, pull up our bootstraps and work even harder the next year. Young farmers may do all this, but they also reach out to each other for support and look for remedies beyond the farm. They do not isolate themselves which can lead to discouragement. Rather they seek solutions so that they can continually improve their practices and products in the future.
Having said that, we, too, are always looking for ways to improve and we do reach out to others, but we sometimes lack the energy and abilities of youth to implement our ideas. Kudos to young farmers! By the way, our door is always open, if you have any questions you think us old fart farmers can help you with.