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[Report] Words and Their Stories 2019-08-11

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[Report] Words and Their Stories 2019-08-11


Words and Their Stories

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[Homework]Words and Their Stories 2019-08-11

On a recent day, x took a break from work to talk about moving from a wealthy neighborhood near New York City to a farm on Long Island. Farming, for where I grew up, was a very unusual career choise, said the 32-year-old American. But everybody belongs on the land in their own way. None of us should feel alienated from it. x, who is non-binary, identifies with the pronouns they, their and them, instead of he or she. x was raised in a upper-middle class town outside New York, where most people never think of working on a farm. Today, x grows potatoes, squash, wheat and other crops at x Hill, a property in x, New York. x is part of a growing number of non-binary college-educated Americans in their 20s and 30s who are changing the face of organic farming. In the same town, x and x operate another farm called Amber Waves. The two met at an apprenticeship program. x said she had registered for the training with the intention of doing something else after. But she fell in love with farming and says she could not imagine doing anything else. In the United States, organic farming is a growing 55-billion-dollar industry. Organically-grown food is made and processed with no man-made fertilizers or pesticide products. Women and non-binary people operate some of the best-known farms on Long Island. Women make up a little more than 37% of all organic farmers nationwide. They represent 36% of all commercial farmers. That information comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Experts predict women's share in farming is likely to continue to grow. There is no information on the share of transgender farmers across the country. x says the number of transgender farmers is growing. x is Executive Director of Out in the Open, an organization that connects rural LGBTQ people. One reason organic farmers are more diverse on gender is that their smaller size means less money is needed to support them. This makes some popular new farmers, said x. She is Vice President of Policy and Campaigns for the National Young Farmers Coalition. The average organic farm is about 141 hectares compared 178 hectares for a commercial farm. That information also comes from the USDA. These groups and new young farmers choose organic farming because of their desire to have an influence on the society, x and several farmers said. She said that they are choosing it to protect natural resources for future generations to fight climate change, to feed their community good and healthy food. Many are working in New York State where organic farming is growing two times as fast as the national average. New York has more than 1,000 certified organic farms, making it the third largest in the country. California and Wisconsin are first and second, the USDA says. These farms make up nearly 4% of the states' farmland, compared with a national average of around 0.6%. Although organic farming is growing quickly, it comes with high labor costs and sometimes smaller harvests than commercial farming, so it can be a difficult business for new farmers. When I look now at the starting of the farm, it seems really audacious, x said. But in that environment in 2008, everybody has lost their jobs and there weren't jobs. So it didn't feel strange to start something, she said. At Amber Waves, x and x grow vegetables, wheat and herbs on about eight hectares of farmland. And just like x, Amber Waves trains people in farming. They are the next generation of diverse farmers, new to agriculture and happy about the farm's gender-diverse leadership.

I'm x.
                                                   

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