According to this essay on the Rodale’s Institute’s website, the state of New Hampshire gets only 6 percent of its food from in-state production. We’ve known since 3rd grade American history that the early settlers had a tough time in New England but by necessity they always seem to be able to scratch out enough to live. (Back before trucks and planes, all farming was “local.”) Young New Hampshirites are trying to reverse the trend but running into a similar problem as their colonial forebears – lack of land. In the present time, this is because what land there is already has owners and those folks are unlikely to sell it anytime soon.
So what’s a young, wannabe farmer to do? Borrow the land.
The essay tells the story of four cases (including the author herself) in which the farmers have worked out innovative and mutually beneficial deals with the land owners to be able to grow crops on their property. For most landowners, it’s not even a matter of getting money out of deal as much as it a sense of satisfaction and pride in seeing their land being used productively and sustainably.
Now, anyone in South Philly have a quarter acre they want to lend me?