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Rhode Island’s Young and Beginning Farmers Share About Their Greatest Barrier — Landlessness

Flyer with Landing on the Right Acre: storytelling for and by young farmers event details. Press Release: Young Farmer Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Pawtucket, RI — On January 30th, 6:30 – 9:00 PM the Young Farmer Network of Southeastern New England will be hosting Landing on the Right Acre: a storytelling event for and by farmers at Machines with Magnets.

For the last 10 years, YFN has supported young and beginning farmers in Rhode Island by connecting them to resources and trainings as well as fostering a vibrant agricultural community that meets at least bi-monthly in the summer to collaborate on projects, participate in knowledge-sharing farm tours and build a resilient agricultural community. One such barrier to building this resilience has been farmland access.

“Rhode Island has a vibrant, intelligent, and hardworking young farmer community and farmland steeped in history that needs to be stewarded into the next generation,” said Katie Steere owner of Deep Roots Farm and one of 6 Rhode Island farmers who will be sharing a story regarding their land access journey. “However, there is a deep disconnect between the young generation of farmers and the older generation of farmers. This is an important issue that needs the spotlight as well as resources to save our farms and keep agricultural production in Rhode Island.”

This event was made possible through the support of Land for Good, a regional non-profit whose mission is to ensure the future of farming in New England by putting more farmers more securely on more land.

In 2017, the National Young Farmers Coalition surveyed over 4700 farmers and found that land access was the number one issue facing young farmers and ranchers. In a state like Rhode Island, the challenge is even more acute as farmland is more expensive than in any other state in the country — $13,800 per acre as of 2016 — more than 4 times the national average.

“We have witnessed firsthand the diligence, creativity, grit, and sometimes pure luck it has taken farming members of our community to secure long term leases, let alone purchase land,” said Maggie Nowak, co-organizer of the Young Farmer Network. “We are excited to provide a platform where farmers can share these experiences. It is a first step towards public awareness around land access.”

Join YFN and Land for Good at Machines with Magnets in Pawtucket to enjoy locally sourced food prepared by renowned chef Ben Sukle, drinks from the Machines with Magnets bar, and the company of RI’s farming community as they share some of the successes, pitfalls and takeaways from their journey toward finding land. Come prepared to laugh, sigh and learn more about farmland access in Rhode Island. Suggested donation: $5 – $20. To RSVP, visit youngfarmernetwork.org/event-schedule.

Can’t make the event? Stay tuned for YFN: A New Decade events and programming on our website and social media as we move into 2020!

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Funding was provided in part by the Land Access Project – Phase 3 (LAP3) that is supported by a grant from the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (NIFA # 2018-70017-28531).

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