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Young Farmers – Voices of the Future

October 12, 2010

By Rebecca Briggs

The influx and energy of young farmers and gardeners from all over the U.S. — not to mention Canada and countries even further away — was a major source of inspiration for those of us at the 2010 Biodynamic National Conference. These young people gifted us all with their amazing enthusiasm and idealism. They are brimming with ideas and have the will to make their visions become reality.

The youthful mood started with the Biodynamic Youth Gathering on Thursday morning. Approximately 50 people came together to address some very big questions: Is there a need for a biodynamic youth movement? Is there a role for youth in the future of agriculture? Indeed, what is the future of agriculture?

During introductions at this gathering, we learned that people were attending from all over — from Maine to California, from Florida to New Mexico, from British Columbia to Puerto Rico, from South Africa to Singapore. The Biodynamic Association had endeavored to make this conference as accessible as possible by offering an unprecedent number of conference scholarships, but I nonetheless found myself blown away by the broad geographic diversity of these young folks, who, despite scholarship help, still had to find ways to travel to New York for the event. Stories of all-night rides in the rain, of shared car trips from halfway across the country, really brought home the reality of the devotion and energy of the young farmers in the biodynamic movement. And of course, once on site, many of these same people had to endure the pounding rain and high winds of the tropical storm that hit the campground for several days. They not only endured, they emerged with unflagging good humor.

As part of their introductions, participants also were asked to finish the sentence: “If I were a beehive, I would be….” This simple fill-in-the-blank provided a picture of the incredible diversity and motivations represented at the gathering. Answers ranged from “on my farm, in my own backyard” to “within the embrace of a chestnut grove” to “in a swarm carrying the colony to new frontiers” to “in New York City, because they have a lot of re-education work to do.”

As Robert Karp said in his introduction to Thursday evening’s young farmer panel, these are the individuals who are truly “the tone of the future.”

Look forward to a much more in-depth overview of the burgeoning biodynamic youth movement from core organizers in a future installment.

Rebecca Briggs is the Communications Director for the Biodynamic Association and Editor of the Biodynamics magazine.

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