Did you know that according to the American Farm Bureau, in 2002, the average age of a farmer was 55? Sounds like we need to start fostering a next generation of farmers.
Annie's Homegrown, the company that produces Annie's Mac N' Cheese (yum), sent an email last month asking me to help spread the word that they are accepting applications for their new Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship Program. They will award two $10,000 Undergraduate Scholarships, one $10,000 Graduate Scholarship, four $2,500 Undergraduate Scholarships, and four $2,500 Graduate Scholarships to students pursuing studies in sustainable and organic agriculture.
What the heck does "sustainable" mean anyway? Like "green", it is used so much these days it is starting to lose its oomph. Sustainable Table, a project of the nonprofit, GRACE, defines sustainable as:
"A product can be considered sustainable if its production enables the resources from which it was made to continue to be available for future generations."
They define sustainable agriculture as:
"Farming that provides a secure living for farm families; maintains the natural environment and resources; supports the rural community; and offers respect and fair treatment to all involved, from farm workers to consumers to the animals raised for food."
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is part of the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. They fund projects and conduct outreach designed to improve agricultural systems. To celebrate their 20th anniversary, they are sponsoring their first national photo competition. They're looking for photos that depict innovations, people and partnerships in American sustainable agriculture. The top four photos, one from each of SARE’s regions in the United States, will receive grand prizes of free attendance and accommodations at SARE’s 20th anniversary conference, March 25-27, 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Check out SARE's video and audio profiles of "New American Farmers" and their book of the same title.
Photo Credit: Tomatoes by Me.