By Jill Brooke
Do you think it’s because Erin Benzakein of Floret Flowers in Washington’s Skagit Valley makes it look so wonderful that so many young people are now shifting jobs and want to be farmers?
CBS News just reported on a study that found that nearly a third of U.S. workers under 40 considered changing careers during the pandemic. Farming appeals as well to those who are environmentally concerned. And many say that they don’t mind the lower pay and longer hours in farming vs. other careers since want to work outdoors.
“We all kind of felt like we’re cogs in the wheel of this larger system that we didn’t really want to be a part of. And this was kind of our way of taking agency back over our lives and just being like, ‘this is what we want to be doing rather than doing something that we felt we had to be doing,” James Marriott told CBS News.
The Boston-based Marriott, 24, has degrees in neuroscience and global health and was working in the lab of a biotech company where he worked developing vaccines.
Others commented that this may be short-term but worth a try. Especially since the pay cuts mean “reevaluating what I choose to spend my money on,” as Cat Steckbeck, a former physical therapist said.
“Now more than ever, people want to know where their food and products come from, so it stands to reason that more people are interested in farming and agriculture,” says Camron King, CEO of Certified American Grown. “In the cut flower and foliage farming community we are seeing increased interest across the country in growing products that are used to beautify our daily lives. More and more we are seeing young farmers taking an interest in growing and adding to the multi-generational community of American grown farms.”
Floret is a success story for sure but one must measure success in many ways. Few find that form of economic return. But the emotional riches are many.
“I want to encourage folks to give any form of farming a try,” adds Chris Beytes, editor of GrowerTalks/Green Profit, Acres Online. “Hey, for a taste of it close to home, get a weekend job at your local garden center. It’s a way to dip your toes in agriculture without stepping too deep into the manure.”
Because the work is hard – and worthwhile – how will you support National Farmer’s Day this week? I will buy food and flowers from local farmers. And continue writing about these heroes who give us both beauty and sustenance.
Photo Credit: Floret Farm