Baza Novic tending trees before planting

The next generation of organic farmers are hitting the road on an Organic Valley sponsored 3-week tour of the Pacific Northwest in the Generation Organic 2011 “Who’s Your Farmer?” campaign aimed at connecting people with their food, their local growers and to discuss how personal diet choices affect not just our own health, but the health of the planet and of future generations.

Traveling on a biofuel bus, the farmers, ranging in age from 18 to 35, are sustainable agriculture leaders with a strong commitment and belief in the ability of organic food to change the world. The tour will visit college campuses, farmers markets, grocery stores and food co-ops in states including Montana, Oregon and California.

The announcement comes just a week after a new organization was formed by 50 of the biggest giants in industrial farming, called the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. On the heels of the second largest meat recall in history, the Alliance will hit the road in a series of town-hall meetings aimed at dispelling myths about large-scale industrial farming. In contrast, “Who’s Your Farmer?” sheds an important light on the growing movement of small-scale farmers, working with organic crops to nurture the soil, grow healthier food and reduce the number of pesticides entering the air and water supplies.

“Generation Organic gives these young organic farmers an opportunity to share with other youth their vision for a better world,” said George Siemon, C-E-I-E-I-O and a founding farmer of Organic Valley, the nation’s largest organic cooperative of organic farmers and a top selling brand of organic foods.

According to the USDA, half of all farmers are likely to retire within the next ten years, and rising global food costs may make it necessary for Americans to become resilient and self-sufficient when it comes to securing food sources. In addition to a growing movement of young farmers, there’s also been a rise in urban farming and returning veterans trading in their guns for shovels. Ex-marine and certified master gardener in Los Angeles, Baza Novic, 33, says that it’s a trend that will continue, “We want to heal ourselves and our land. We don’t want to rely on giant corporations to feed us when what we can grow on our own is healthier for the planet, for our wallets, and tastes far better than anything in a supermarket.”

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image: Jill Ettinger