What is the Average Age of the American Farmer? | Lexicon of Sustainability | PBS Food

57 (The Average Age of the American Farmer)


The average age of the American farmer is 57. Where will we find the next generation of greenhorns (young American farmers) and how will they be trained for these green collar jobs? Food education isn’t limited to helping the people who grow our food; we also need edible schoolyards like that of Alice Waters in Berkeley, California to educate our school children about how to make healthy food choices as well.

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Food Terms

Edible schoolyard
Planting vegetable gardens at local schools, teaching kids how to grow and cook their own meals, and sometimes putting the school garden harvests on the menu in the lunchrooms.
-LOCAL: The New Face of Food and Farming in America, by Douglas Gayeton

Green collar
GREEN COLLAR = CUELLO VERDE workers retrained to work in agriculture = “reconvertido profesionalmente en la agricultura”
-Jose Nunez, Alba Organic Farm

Experiential learning
Education through direct involvement; offering staff-led tours, workshops, internship programs, volunteer opportunities and dinners to help a community engage with local food.
Robbie McClam, City Roots Farm

Growing farmers
An initiative to grow the next generation of farmers, with an ecological consciousness.
– Craig Haney, Stone Barnes Center for Food and Agriculture

A group founded to enhance the visibility of the Young Farmers’ Movement. Event formula = pie + beer + workshops + ice cream + performances + spit roasted pig + dances.
– Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Greenhorns

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Featured in the Film

Alice Waters
Berkeley, California
Alice Waters is a chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Alice started the Edible Schoolyard in 1996 to educate kids about food.

Jose Nunez
ALBA Organic Farm
Las Lomas, California
Jose, a teacher at ALBA (Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association) Organic Farm, helped to provide land and guidance for aspiring farmers and farm workers interested in growing and selling their own organic crops.

Maria Bravo
ALBA Organic Farm
Las Lomas, California
Maria was an office worker at Birdseye Foods for 20 years before the plant closed in 2003. Maria grandfather was a farmer and her father spent part of his life as a sharecropper. After 20 years working in one job, she couldnÂ’t imagine herself embarking on a new career, but then she heard about ALBA. They gave her a half-acre plot. With help from her father-in-law and daughter (she helped seed), Maria Bravo put her faith in Mother Nature and became a farmer.

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