As TEDxManhattan approaches, we’ve asked this year’s speakers to answer a few questions so we can learn more about them. Today we hear from Lindsey Lusher Shute, Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition.
1) What’s the topic you’ll be speaking about?
I’ll be speaking about the rise of a new generation of farmers in the United States, the big challenges that they’re facing in getting started and what we as a nation can do to help.
2) Why do you feel this is important?
I’m motivated to fight for young and sustainable farmers because I am one of them. My husband and I own Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 600-member Community Supported Agriculture Farm in New York State. Every day, I see the positive impact of our farm on the health of our members, the wealth of our community and the lives of our employees, and I am frustrated by the obstacles that we’ve faced in building our business. With the right support, farms like ours can turn the food system around.
3) Are there other projects you’re also passionate about right now?
Yes. I am so impressed by Food Corps. To rebuild the agricultural economy, we need hundreds of thousands of young people to be excited about growing food — and that’s exactly what Food Corps is addressing. Neither my husband nor I grew up on farms, but we had very positive experiences in community gardening and food system work which led us into farming careers. I know that some of the kids building school gardens with Food Corps today will be growing much bigger plots in the future, farms that will feed their families, friends and communities.
4) Which TEDxManhattan talks from previous years did you particularly enjoy?
I really enjoyed hearing from Kerry McLean in 2012. It’s incredibly encouraging that the NYC Green Cart program is taking off, improving access to good food for residents and offering entrepreneurial opportunity.
5) Where can more information about your project be found?
Lindsey Lusher Shute is the Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, (NYFC) a membership-based organization dedicated to the success of the next generation of sustainable farmers in the United States. NYFC’s supporter network includes thousands of farmers and consumers from all fifty states, who work together to advocate for change in federal policy, develop new farm technology through the Farm Hack project and solve local issues through regional NYFC chapters. Lindsey regularly speaks at conferences and meetings across the nation, advocating for practical and policy solutions that will help beginning farmers build independent and sustainable farms. Lindsey and her husband run Hearty Roots Community Farm, a 600-member CSA farm, in the Hudson River Valley. Lindsey’s first growing experience was at the Red Shed Community Garden in Brooklyn, which she built from the ground up with neighbors.