We Get To Help One New Farming Couple Settle In

Sorghum nearly ready for harvest at Congleton Farm, Woodford County, Kentucky

Sorghum nearly ready for harvest at Congleton Farm, Woodford County, Kentucky

From many, one. Let's wrestle that grand American vision into a new shape and apply it to supporting Hannah Crabtree and Jesse Frost , one young Kentucky farming couple. From many donors, we can do a virtual barn-raising that helps Jesse and Hannah build an off-the-grid cabin for less than the cost of the smallest new car. Visit Back to Bugtussle: Help Us Build an Off-the-Grid Cabin. Offer your $5 or $25 to help raise nearly $5,000 by October 28, 2012.

When we participate in this cabin project, it becomes our cabin, too—our contribution to building a workable, resilient, new local food system in Kentucky. Savoring Kentucky usually has a roundabout way of working toward its main purpose, which is to increase small farm income. We use photos and stories to promote the goodness of Kentucky food and the people who grow it, intending to encourage readers to buy more food from local growers. When enough of us grow our own food and buy most of the rest of it from nearby farms, we regain self-sufficiency, another Savoring Kentucky lodestar. We also get to live in the agricultural paradise Nature intended and equipped our Commonwealth to be.

We can make a tiny step in that direction by helping one promising, multi-skilled farm family settle in. Hannah and Jesse met as interns at Bugtussle Farm in Gamaliel (Monroe County), Kentucky. They married, found some land to farm, and got to work creating their Rough Draft Farmstead. Draft farms I and II ended without offering a sustainable way forward. The couple did not own the land in either case, and had to move after investing all the initial work required to begin producing food. Wonderful Sustainable Kentuckyprofiled Hannah and Jesse and championed and reported their search for land of their own.

Now Draft III begins, this time with more potential. We can help ease the way forward for this farm and farm family.

I have tried farming. Struggling with bushel baskets of tomatoes through a hot summer, for very little income, made me eager to study English and music at college. I preferred the kind of rough drafts that began on lined notebook paper. I am overjoyed that a significant number of college age people today reverse that farm-t0-college direction, heading toward farming after graduating. Majoring in agriculture has notched up noticeably as well. Sustainable Kentucky (I want to call this blog "wonderful" again, or "fine," or "How did we do without it?" but I'll restrain myself) recently launched a special series of posts championing young farmers in south central Kentucky.

Bless them all! Those of us who depend on buying most of our family's food from people we know and trust may not suffer after all, once our current, treasured, aging farmers hang up their hoes. Not if we take opportunities to support and encourage the young farmers eager to take up the work of feeding us and the world. Let's do this Bugtussle cabin.

Bonus: Hannah Crabtree and Jesse Frost, like many of the new farmers, can communicate as well as they cultivate. See, for example, two videos Hannah has produced: Get to Know: Rough Draft Farmstead and Work Day at Bugtussle. In addition, here are two interesting, well-written new farmer memoirs Savoring Kentucky applauds: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter, and The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, by Kristin Kimball.

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