Sunday, December 3, 2023

SFA: Losing Farms, Adding Veterans

Mike Lewis, courtesy of Farm Flavors
Mike Lewis, courtesy of Farm Flavors

This is the story of two soldiers who found their way into farming after war. But it’s also the story of two brothers whose experience in uniform and in the fields has been very different from one another. Producer Alix Blair takes us to rural Kentucky to learn what agriculture holds for men who’ve been soldiers.

When radio producer Alix Blair wanted to find out how many farms the South had lost in recent years, she had to resort to some old-fashioned arithmetic.

Alix Blair's math
Alix Blair’s math

The USDA Farmland Census provided numbers of farms by state, but if you wanted a bigger regional picture—you had to do the numbers. What Alix found after her calculations is astonishing: the South lost close to 50,000 farms in the five years between 2007 and 2012. That amounts to a mass exodus.

But the reason Alix was hunting for these numbers might hold a potential solution. The story she tells on the new episode of Gravy is about a pair of veterans who found agriculture after war. And they have a vision of what returning soldiers could mean for farming that, if it proves successful, could change the South.


Listen here.

Article by Tina Antolini at Southern Foodways Alliance.