Groundwork Milwaukee seeks to train new crop

Groundwork Milwaukee seeks to train new crop

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Story by Heather Ray
Photography by Joe Laedtke

If you asked me to draw a picture of an American farmer, I’d start with an elderly white man in weathered denim overalls. He’s leaning up against a tractor, proudly admiring stretched-out rows of corn undulating into the horizon. Behind him is the farmhouse he grew up in, the one his grandfather helped build. This man was raised to be a farmer.

It looks like a stereotype, but let’s face it: American farmers aren’t getting any younger. Quantifying the trend, a 2007 Census of Agriculture report said the number of farm operators age 75 and older grew by 20 percent from 2002 to 2007, while those under the age of 25 dropped 30 percent.

Add to that the nation’s dwindling population in rural towns and an increasing migration to metropolitan areas, and one might start to wonder, Where will tomorrow’s farmers come from? I might be more worried if I didn’t live in Milwaukee. When it comes to our food supply, we don’t mess around. But just to be sure, I seek proof from Groundwork Milwaukee’s Young Farmer Program, an ongoing initiative working to carve out a profitable economic niche while empowering a racially-diverse generation of future farmers.

Read the full story at Edible Milwaukee below:

The mission of Groundwork Milwaukee is to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships that empower people, businesses and organizations to promote environmental, economic and social well-being.