We are so proud of Lindsey Luscher Shute after her outstanding performance before the senate committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. She did a fantastic job of representing the struggles facing young farmers, from land access and affordability, student loan debt, health care affordability to the bias against women and people of color in the existing agricultural framework. She went on to outline the progress needed going forward and the issues that need to be addressed in the next Farm Bill in order to support a new generation of farmers who face different challenges and require different support mechanisms.
Lindsey also submitted a full written testimony that goes into much more detail about the young farmers movement. To read the full testimony click HERE
The success of the next generation of farmers and ranchers is crucially dependant on whether they can secure suitable land to start and expand their operations. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the number of new farmers and ranchers in the United States decreased 20 percent from 2007 and hit a 30-year low. In acknowledgement of this barrier for young farmers, the American Farmland Trust have just recently announced that 24 experienced educators will serve as Land Access Trainers to help beginning farmers and ranchers secure agricultural land. This will be part of a nationwide, four-year-long project and the chosen trainers are located in each of the 10 U.S. farm production regions. The American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization that works to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land.
International Conference on Agrarian Reform
La Via Campesino, The Peasant’s Movement
Marabá, 15 April 2016
From 13 to 17 April 2016, in Marabá, Pará, Brazil, more than 130 delegates from 28 countries around the world were brought together as part of La Vía Campesina and allied movements, as part of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform, a symbol of the fight for freedom for men and women in the fields, the mangroves and on the sea. The aim of the conference was to draw up a much-needed proposal for Popular Agrarian Reform to override capitalist and neoliberal expansion.
At this time of struggle and resistance for peoples of the world, we debated thecriminalisation, persecution and judicialization of the struggle for the defense of life, rights, land, water, seeds and mother earth, promoted by capitalist interests imposing political, economic, military and social terrorism. This all occurs with the consent of State Governments by means of their lethal projects such as extraction-based infrastructure projects, or capitalist ‘development’ (tourism, carbon markets, mining, hydroelectricity, monoculture, agribusiness, industrial agriculture and mariculture), as well as the militarisation of our lands. Deprivation, social instability and repression are widespread as a result of systematic assassinations, massacres, forced disappearances, high rates of femicide, imprisonment and arbitrary detention, intimidation, harassment and threats, prosecution of leaders, forced migration and wars against ordinary people.
On top of this there is political instability with the purpose of maintaining an imbalance among populations over the world, as well as frequent coups on the US government’s radar, a state which begins by creating unstable, failed states, as is the case in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bolivia, South Africa, and the current attempted coup against the Brazilian people and the systematic meddling in the Venezuelan process.
We see collusion between the State, private companies, corporations and elites who create a culture of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape unpunished.
Faced with this wave of unbridled criminalisation of those of us who defend water, land, mangroves, sea, territory and life, we denounce and call for the punishment of those responsible for thousands of assassinations of social leaders, we denounce the legal prosecution of thousands of campaigners, we call for the liberation of thousands of political prisoners, we denounce the extreme case of the assassination of Berta Cáceres, one of the most symbolic leaders in the fight against capital plundering and a campaigner for peace in Honduras. We urgently need an end to the criminalization of the fight for land, mangroves and sea, and the social struggle.
Today, more than ever, we reaffirm that our fight is part of the defence of human rights and life. For life we give everything, for death we give nothing.
Throughout our lifelong struggle, not one moment of silence for our dead!
La Via Campesino is an international movement that seeks to unite peasants, landless, woman farmers, and rural youth to fight to defend and promote small-scale sustainable agriculture as a lifestyle and livelihood. Read more about their work here! And check out our 2011 blog post about their food sovereignty youth training program.
Pardon us while we sound a trumpet. The young farmer movement is taking root–roots deepening everyday in healthy soil and healthy communities. Young farmers are in the public sphere–the NY TIMES and LA TIMES and KPFA Radio. They are bridging the generational gap, farming in cities and suburbs, squatting land to farm, and negotiating partnerships to farm–farming by any means possible. This might be the gateway impulse that leads others down the garden path–along the personal and professional trajectories of sustainability. This brings us to our very good friend Zoe Ida Bradbury.
Zoe is an ally and multi-level hero. She is a greenhorns collaborator and young farmer out in Oregon. She is documenting her experiences in Diary of a Young Farmer over at Edible Portland. Her stories are wonderful springtime reading–if only there were time in the spring!
Oh grand emergence–little sprout, without doubt. Thanks for your simple, purposeful, lucky little gesture.