Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2015

Abstract

In Maine there is a growing body of statistics pointing to the growth of agriculture in the state. Yet with one of the oldest populations in the country, Maine is always asking: how do we bring young people to the state? Farming may be a start. The number of farmers age 34 and under increased 40 percent between 2007 and 2012. Maine is bucking the trend. While most of the country’s farms are decreasing in number and getting bigger in size, Maine farms are increasing in number while staying small. Behind each of these statistics there is a person, a struggle of failed crops or the success of a new greenhouse. There is love and perseverance but there is also the tough reality of making it all work. These statistics become real in the flesh when we step foot on the farm or engage in agriculture. This thesis is a piece of literary journalism that tells the stories of five young farmers on small diversified organic farms in each region of the state. Using literary journalism to tell stories allows us to dig deeper and look at subjects differently than in conventional news. The five farmers are representative of the greater issues that face Maine’s food system as they struggled to find land, make a livable wage, find markets to sell products in, and stick to their farming ethics. The thesis synthesizes the farmers’ perspectives and sheds light on the source of Maine’s new discussion about agriculture.

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