Where We Began
The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) was founded by and for a new generation of farmers in the United States. We work in coalition with farmers, consumers, organizations and government to tackle the many challenges that young, independent and sustainable farmers face in their first years operating a farm business.
The Coalition was co-founded by three farmers in the Hudson Valley of New York State: Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Ben Shute and Lindsey Shute. In late 2009, all three were facing major challenges securing long term and affordable land access to grow their farm businesses. Around a farmhouse table, they decided that they and other young farmers needed to step up and fight for the future of farming as a united, national front.
As Ben, Lindsey and Severine began laying their plans, other young farmers around the nation were also coming to the realization that they needed to work together for their shared success. Groups like the Michigan Young Farmers Coalition, the Connecticut New Farmers Alliance and the Washington Young Farmers Coalition were formed as NYFC was getting started.
Ben and Severine took the idea of forming a national coalition to the leaders of these groups and other young farmers at the first Stone Barns Conference in Tarrytown, NY. There was such excitement in the room that the farmers named the coalition on the spot.
NYFC joined the Open Space Institute in 2010 as part of their Citizen Action fiscal sponsorship program. Our first Advisory Council is pictured above: Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Michelle Hughes, Tierney Creech, Sean Stanton, Lindsey Lusher Shute (back row, L-R); Wes Hannah (staff), Emily Oakley and Ben Shute (front row).