How do you get young people to care about growing the food they eat?

The Lempert Report
December 18, 2014

By Creating First Generation Farmers

According to a government census of American agriculture, released earlier this year, the number of U.S. farms is showing a long term trend of declining even as the value of their crops and livestock increase. Also, farmers are getting older — the average age was 58.3 years. So, how do you get young people to care about agriculture and growing the food they eat?  One solution -  by having them learn from other young & inspiring, agripreneurs.  Take for example, the innovative company First Generation Farmers:

Alli Cecchini, Co-Founder, First Generation Farmers
Over 400 million acres of farmland is going to be changing hands over the next 20 years and if we don't actually farm it it's going to go to other purposes like commercial buildings and we're going to have to start relying on imports from other countries when we can grow it ourselves." My families been farming in this area for over 100 years, at what point did people become too good to grow their own food?  We figured out  this was going on everywhere.  So we said we need to get our generation into farming again."

Phil: Their recent kickstarter campaign focuses on propelling their long term goals with the visionary ‘incubator program

Alli: The program is to get young people into farming, we have 50 ares, and we would like to start giving potential future farmers an acre each... what's needed for that is stuff to get them off the ground and running, seeds, supplies, tractor implements, we have a tractor.  Now we need a cultivator, a chopper, irrigation upgrades and we need to put in drip which will help with water conservation and help with weed management.  And we need more than anything the education.

Phil: First Generation Farmers has also donated more than 30,000 pounds of organic produce to local food banks, hosted community harvesting and weeding events and held demonstrations for grade school students and special needs groups.

Alli: We started giving our local food bank food and then paired up with loaves and fishes, maybe for selfish reasons because it makes us feel good about what we're doing, but mainly because we want everyone to have access to fresh organic food. 

A lot of people aren't exposed to vegetables, they see it at their supermarket and there's no connection to where it came from so being part of First Generation Farmers or having First Generation Farmers type model all over the country, we're able directly connect where your food comes from and how it's grown.  At First Generation Farmers we're growing farmers to feed the future.