Letters to a Young Farmer is both a compelling history and a vital road map—a reckoning of how we eat and farm; how the two can come together to build a more sustainable future; and why now, more than ever before, we need farmers.
Why young farmers?
We are about to witness the largest retirement of farmers in U.S. history. There are now more farmers over the age of 75 than between the ages of 35 and 44.
Meanwhile, 400 million acres of farmland are slated to change hands in the next two decades—an area roughly four times the size of California. Quite simply: our future hinges on the investments we make today in the next generation of farmers. If we invest in farming that is adaptable and regenerative; that respects the limits of season; that builds soil and economies—we can grow a vibrant way of farming that delivers good food to more Americans while being resilient in the face of a shifting, highly variable climate. Helping beginning farmers succeed is crucial to creating a sustainable food future.
about the book
In Letters to a Young Farmer, the first book from Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, some of the most influential farmers, writers and leaders of our time share their wisdom and insight in an anthology of 36 essays and letters. Barbara Kingsolver speaks to the tribe of farmers—some born to it, many self-selected—with love, admiration, and regret. Bill McKibben connects the early human quest for beer to the modern challenge of farming in a rapidly changing climate. Michael Pollan bridges the chasm between agriculture and nature. Dan Barber, Temple Grandin, Wendell Berry, Rick Bayless, Marion Nestle and more offer advice and inspiration. See a full list of contributors here.
about Stone Barns Center
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is on a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system. A nonprofit organization, Stone Barns Center works to develop a culture of eating based on what farms need to grow to build healthy soil and a resilient ecosystem. In its quest to transform the way America eats and farms, the organization trains farmers, educates food citizens, develops agroecological farming practices, and convenes change makers.