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METRICS FROM THE FIELD: How Do We Grow New Farmers?
by Ken Meter
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2012.022.015, pp. 3–6
First paragraphs:Often in my travels as a consultant and speaker, I am asked, "How do we grow new farmers?"
Every time I hear this question, I draw a quick breath. This is truly a remarkable question to hear in America, which prides itself on "feeding the world." If the most productive agricultural engine on the planet does not know how to grow new farmers, who does?
To answer this question, one needs to go back 50 years. A 1962 report by the Committee for Economic Development, a Wall Street think tank, concluded that the problem with U.S. agriculture was that it employed too many people. These human resources could be better allocated, the CED argued, by moving people off the farm, to be replaced by larger equipment....
Ken Meter is president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has performed 78 local food-system assessments in 30 states and one Canadian province; this information has promoted effective action in partner communities. He served as coordinator of the review process for USDA Community Food Project grants, and has taught economics at the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Minnesota. He is co-convener of the Community Economic Development Committee of the Community Food Security Coalition. A member of the American Evaluation Association's Systems Technical Interest Group, Meter also serves as an Associate of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute. He serves as a contributing advisor to JAFSCD.
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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