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  • Jennifer Jewell


Lindsey Lusher Shute Speaking at the Ohio Ecological Farming Association. Image courtesy of OEFA and Cleveland Democrat. All rights reserved.


In our on-going series on ways by which we as natural history loving gardeners keep ourselves informed, and up to date with all manner of life long learning - this week we’re joined by Lindsey Lusher Shute, outgoing (and founding) executive director of the National Young Farmers Coalition - and host of the Young Farmers Podcast - even one listening session of which will teach many people (like me) more about public policy and advocacy along the lines of agriculture in our country than any other source I know.

Increasingly, podcasts are an excellent source of information and engagement and the National Young Farmers Coalition's Young Farmers podcast is an excellent source of information regarding public policy and how it affects the ways that places are cultivated across the country.

Lindsey is here to share more about her life’s work and that of the coalition and the projects she’s involved in, including why she thinks it’s more important than ever that we as gardening creatures are as informed and vocal as we can be on behalf of our shared agricultural future.

Lindsey joins us today from the Young Farmers Podcast studio in Kingston New York.

Agricultural groups – especially smaller, independent farm and foodshed issue groups are often keenly energetic and creative sources of information and innovation within our communities. One example in my community is our local Slow Food chapter – Slow Food North Valley. A group of caring local food growers and advocates, Slow Food North Valley are focused in particular on school gardens and edible education. My local chapter is meeting up for their big spring gathering at Farm Star Pizza on March 10th from 3-5pm. You will have a chance to meet the Slow Food North Valley Team & sign on/join in bringing edible education to local regional schools. Where: Farm Star Pizza 2359 Esplanade in Chico.

Not in my area? Look for a slow food or other local agricultural organization near you. There’s lots to learn.

"Farming is a public service. You have these individuals all across the country

who are taking incredible risk to make sure their communities have food security and that land is stewarded .

We work to provide opportunities to make sure that farmers do well, but also to elevate this profession as something so special and so critical - that is what I’d like our country to see.”

Lindsey Lusher Shute, National Young Farmers Coalition

Lindsey co-founded the National Young Farmers Coalition with her husband Ben from their home farm Hearty Roots Community Farm, and with Severine Fleming of The Greenhorns (creators and publisher of the New Farmer's Almanac among other wonderful work), as a positive way to address some serious structural issues in the way farming is and isn’t made accessible to the next generation of farmers.

Follow along with National Young Farmers Coalition at or on Instagram at: @youngfarmers, or Facebook: The National Young Farmers Coalition

"Gardeners are special and between farmers and gardeners is a

shared understanding and appreciation of what it is to work with the earth,

have your hands in the dirt and grow something from seed…..

gardeners are especially well suited to be the voice of sustainable agriculture,

the voice for ag and independent operators in solving some of these

fundamental structural issues that this next generation - and indeed the future of agriculture - is facing."

Lindsey Lusher Shute, National Young Farmers Coalition

Join us again next week as the conversations on garden variety life-long learning when we’re joined by Pam Penick writer of the garden blog Digging, and founder of The Garden Bloggers Fling, and by Judy Seaborn, co-founder of Botanical Interests Seeds in Denver, CO. The two of them share with us the ways in which garden bloggers gather and grow IRL and about The 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling in Denver. There are so many ways people engage in and grow from the cultivation of their places.




Here are the ideas sticking with me and that have me thinking out loud this week – diversity, security, cultivating as a public service and elevating how we value and center the cultivators in our world.

In the midst of this series on how we grow and further educate ourselves – the realities of what we value – in thought, word, and deed are sometimes hard to sit with. I know I value my garden, my gardening practice. I know it improves everything for me and around me. I think the same is true for you all. I would bet that if you are listening right now, you firmly value other thoughtful land and community stewarding gardeners, farmers, teachers. And yet – yet – how often do we say or think or hear and not respond when we hear language along the lines of Just a gardener, just gardening, just a teacher….just a farmer.

So here’s my task this week – a challenge for us all. Check yourself – hear your own language and self-talk – are your words and actions reflecting the importance of the things you love and value? No matter where they stand in the cultural hierarchy of what’s valued.

Our gardens are not lifestyle commodities or superficial hobbies in our spare time. As Ursula K LeGuin points out, there is no time to spare – and our gardens matter – they are not products of consumerism – they are LIFE itself. I’m at work right now on an episode about kids and gardening (the average US child spends on average 4 -7 minutes a day on unstructured outdoor play and more than 7 hours a day in front of a screen), and also curating a 5 part series on cultivating HABITAT for biodiversity in our gardens – you and I know this practice we share matters. More than ever…’s always a help to know we’re in it together.




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