Purdue Study Identifies Hot Spots for New American Farmers

Purdue University environmental anthropologist Andrew Flachs has published a paper in Rural Sociology that identifies hot spots where younger people new to agricultural work are taking up farming. Many of these hot spots are on the peripheries of hip cities on the West Coast, in central Texas and Oklahoma, in central Florida, and in the Great Lakes region. Flachs also notes that east Texas and the southern Midwest are becoming increasingly important for this kind of agriculture. According to this paper, New American farmers occupy an important intersection of niche marketing strategies, environmental politics, and rural demographic change that could have a significant impact on food production and social life in agrarian landscapes. Flachs also collaborated with Matthew Abel, an anthropologist at Washington University, in modeling counties with traits associated with new American agrarianism. The findings of this effort show that newer farmers appear to thrive on the outskirts of cities that provide high demand and purchasing power, a large population, and a healthy number of farmers markets.