Young Farmer Finds Inspiration Right at Home in Indiana
The interest among young people in farming has declined significantly in recent decades. The reasons are varied. Farmland ownership in fewer hands, with many thousands of small farmers squeezed out. The stresses and uncertainties of a career so highly dependent on the whims of nature. The lure of a more exciting life in the big city. These and more prompted many young people to decide there was a better way to make a living.
But the longterm impact of this trend has become sharply evident, and it is putting our entire food system at risk. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the average age of farmers in America is roughly 60.
There is thus an urgent need to cultivate a new generation of farmers, and organizations in the Good Food sector such as FamilyFarmed devote much of their energies toward this goal.
Fortunately, there is significant evidence that more young people are interested in staying on the farm, or going into this area even without previous farming background. Many of them are motivated by a desire to bring the goals of the Good Food movement — for a healthier, more environmentally sustainable and more economically dynamic U.S. food system — to life.
That is why FamilyFarmed’s Good Food on Every Table website is launching a new series titled “Growing Young Farmers.” This series will provide a platform for members of this new generation to discuss why they have chosen farming, the opportunities that motivate them, and the challenges as well.
We could not be happier to kick off the series with the following piece written by Kara Gunthorp of Indiana’s Gunthorp Farms. Kara, who is 22 years old, returned to her family’s farm following her recent graduation from Purdue University to work with her father Greg Gunthorp. Since the 1990s, he has been an innovator and advocate in the area of sustainable livestock production. His leadership has made Gunthorp Farms a major supplier of sustainably produced meat for restaurants in Chicago, such as Rick Bayless’ Frontera group, and in Indianapolis.
Read this article and you will see why we look forward to a number of contributions from Kara Gunthorp. And if you are a young farmer with a story to tell, or you know one, please let us know in the comments section! — Bob Benenson, Good Food on Every Table