Tag Archives: landless farmer

The Farm Hand Listening Project:

Farmhand: 1: a farm laborer; especially a hired laborer on a farm
2:  a player on a farm team
farmhand
The Farm Hand Listening Project is a project that has been interviewing new and beginning farmers about their struggles to access land.  There is a whole new generation of farmers, from all different walks of life, committed to the work of feeding their families, their communities, and their country, with incredible passion, energy, and a deep commitment to a more sustainable food system. However, I and many other aspiring farmers and farm workers, have been barred from making our farm dreams a reality due to high land prices, rural gentrification and a cultural lack of support for the importance of farm work, as well as the economic, social, and cultural barriers unique to farmers who don’t hail from economically privileged classes. My personal struggles as a landless farmer and farm worker, and the struggles of my farming friends and loved ones, inspired me to conduct a series of interviews with the farmers I know who are deeply committed to farming, but face significant challenges due to land insecurity, and the activists and organizers who are committed to advocating for equitable land access, sustainable food systems, and economic justice.

soil_hands
I have eleven interviews awaiting transcription for a publication that will be available this spring. I am deeply indebted to those who shared their stories of love, land and loss with me. The hope is that this publication will raise awareness around the issue of land access for beginning farmers and to give voice to landless farmers who might not have been heard otherwise.  The publication will be registered under Creative Commons’ Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) license. (click here to learn what that means)

I’m done recording interviews for now, but I am still excited to accept written submissions for this publication.  Deadlines for submissions is March 1st, 2014.  Any submissions can be kept anonymous.  This project is open to conventional and organic market farmers, migrant workers, farm hands, subsistence farmers and apprentices–anyone for whom your relationship to land constitutes the center of your life or livelihood.  If you’re interested in participating in or supporting this project or have any questions feel free to call 207-716-6441, or send an email to farmhand207@gmail.com.

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This listening project has its roots in Maine; however, I am open to hearing any farmer’s story who wants to tell it and welcome submissions or input from anyone regardless of their location.  This project has been given a small starter grant by an organization called ROSC (Resources for Organizing Social Change) which is dedicated to promoting grassroots organizing in Maine.  However, much of this project is being funded by my own personal resources, which as a small farmer, are greatly limited.  We will be throwing a fundraising event/barn party in either late spring or early summer to help cover publishing costs–check back for details! Any donations can be granted to the project by pressing the pay pal button below and entering the desired donation amount.  Any support you can give is needed, welcomed, and appreciated.


 

“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of the people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. ”

— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath