Hipster Farmers Work For Food
Working the fields at Tantre Farm
In much of North America, our small towns are depopulated and all of the young people leave for the cities. The average age of farmers is about 52 and only about two percent of North Americans are farmers. But this may be changing; Christine Muhlke reports in the New York Times that the hottest internship going is on the farm. She visits Tantre Farms in Michigan and finds it full of young people working for $ 500 a month plus room and board to learn about farming.
Young farmers at Tantre, from their website
She learns from Intern Evan the reasons:
I need to find something that can act to support all these other things that I'm interested in, something that's real and solid and is not just going to evaporate," he says, referring to Michigan's misfortunes as well as to the stock-market meltdown. "And you don't get a lot more fundamental than farming. So really I'm hoping it'll be almost like a vehicle: I've got farming, I've got food, I've got shelter, I've got people, and then I can incorporate things into that as I go forward. It's not easy, because there's a lot of time that goes just into the farming.
Tantré is not your usual farm, relying on interns and growing organic food for CSA boxes, but it is an interesting model. With the internet, farm life is not as isolated as it used to be; with the local food movement, there is a whole new market; perhaps young people will come back to the farm, even after they've seen Paree. More in the New York Times