The students filed into our living room and took their places at our big table, all of them sustainable agriculture majors at Unity College in Maine. Some had long dreadlocks, and all were casually dressed, with women slightly outnumbering the men.
Groups like this often visit our household to talk about small-scale farming, and this time I asked them a question that is often asked of my husband and me: “Why do so many young people today want to farm?” Not all of our visitors did, as it turned out, but most intended to work somewhere in “the food system” and were passionately involved in agriculture as a branch of knowledge.
Many said they had been initially drawn to the subject by their mistrust of the nation’s food supply and a desire to be independent from it. “There is no more important work than feeding people,” one said. “It’s meaningful work.”