Today at Singing Earth Farm near Boulder Utah I just watched this video on Joel Salatin where he basically summarize today’s situation with these words “when young people can’t get in, old people can’t get out”. The average farmer in the US today is sixty he says and many young people who would like to farm can’t afford to buy land.
I thought it was so interesting that I found this video and heard about his new book Field of Farmers at a time when my wife and I, with our friend Lance, are just in that process of figuring out how to attract people to our farm. Especially a farm that is in a remote area like Boulder, UT.
What is the profile of a person who would be passionate about joining us on the farm. We have learned that practical skills, the kind you need on a farm, which basically are numerous, from gardening, animal husbandry, building, marketing, mechanical skills and so on are essential but not sufficient. What we have learned is how important is the human factor. We may be highly skilled in one specific area or many, but if we don’t have good communication skills, it’s just not going to work. That is a point often neglected, but of crucial importance.
So then the profile becomes a more complex thing. Now not only are we looking for people who are passionate about permaculture, sustainable building, about building a close relationship with the land, people who have a project they’d like to develop, now we are looking for individuals who are also good communicators looking for a situation where they will be contributing not only as a skilled this or that, but as a human being aware of the difficult task at hand: living with others. I would actually say exactly the same to people considering getting married. Now how many people at their wedding ceremony are truly aware of that?