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Archive for the ‘Foodshed’ Category

According to  the Washington Post, A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm. 

For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees — significantly higher than the general population.

One of New Jersey’s biggest challenges in farming has been the aging of our farmers with a significant majority over the age of 55. This article raises some interesting issues about transitions to a new agricultural demographic and the speculative possibility (for NJ) of a statewide food shed or food system organized around small farm holdings such as the three acre farm tilled by Liz Whitehurst that is profiled in the article.

The cost of land in NJ remains prohibitive  however for young farmers.

Whitehurst leases a 3 acre farm in Upper Marlboro Maryland and her primary market is Washington D.C. Hudson Valley serve NYC farmers markets and restaurants.

What is needed in NJ is a concerted effort to define a NJ Foodshed that serves NJ, Philly, and NYC  markets.

We would simply be reclaiming a historical legacy in our state by emphasizing an integrated statewide foodshed that serves local and regional markets.

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Have been absent for quite a while as I wrestled with a PhD program, my parents failing health, and field research on the aftermath of Sandy across the greater Metropolitan NYC area.

Lately, however, I have been thinking more and more about the NJ Food and Agriculture sector as I’ve been driving through what remains of the hinterlands of Monmouth County.

NJ Spotlight had a great article last week about the possible development of a food incubator in Northwest NJ as a way of managing remaining farmland in Sussex and Warren counties  and helping new and young farmers to get started and keep farming.

FOOD INCUBATOR IN NORTHERN NJ COULD HELP KEEP FARMERS DOWN ON FARM

The Foodshed Alliance  was incorporated in 2010 as a formal organization dedicated to preserving the rural food systems of Northwest New Jersey and increasing rural resiliency in these same areas. They’ve been operating since 2001.

I was happy to see this article by NJ Spotlight as I’ve been thinking a lot lately about NJ Food and Agricultural systems prompted by some recent visits to Minneapolis that started me wondering again about the feasibility of a NJ-Wide Food System study, similar to the Greater Philadelphia Food System Study commissioned by The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in 2010.

A key part of my academic research covers community resource networks and “The Plural Sector”, the large expanse of ventures and organizations that are neither fully private nor fully public. So I was very excited to see some thought being given to alternative ways of organizing for success in NJ’s dwindling farmlands.

I hope to get a chance to visit and talk with the folks at the Foodshed Alliance this summer as a part of a relaunch of this blog.

 

 

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