We wrote a few weeks ago about NYFC’s report on how current farmland conservation practices are failing working farmers. The report was based on a survey of over 200 land trusts on how they work with beginning farmers. What we saw was land going fallow as non-farmers push prices up to astronomical levels and farmers being pushed further and further from urban markets in the search for affordable land.
This isn’t just an intellectual question – it’s a real problem, affecting real farmers, and having a real impact on our food systems. And we’re seeing the effects again and again. We see it at Good Humus Produce in Capay, CA, where Jeff and Annie Main have been struggling to ensure their family farm’s future in California’s Central Valley.
We’re thrilled to be in touch with Chuck Schultz, a filmmaker just finishing a five-year project documenting Jeff and Annie’s fight. The film, The Last Crop, addresses the critical issues facing farmers and our nation’s food system today: the affordability of farmland, the fragile balance of farm succession, and, ultimately, the preservation of small family-run farms.
Now in their late 60’s, the Mains, like many farmers, are being confronted with the future of their working family farm. It’s a story being echoed around the nation. The Mains are now creating an alternative for their farm’s succession that ensures its productive future. The film captures the intractable nature of sustaining a small local farm, and it challenges food consumers, conservation groups, local communities, and some of the half million aging U.S. farmers to think about what actions they are willing to undertake in order to transfer their land to a new generation of family farmers.
The Last Crop is in the final stages of filming, but there’s a lot to be done before the film is ready. If this issue is important to you, consider donating to The Last Crop’s Indiegogo campaign to rise money to complete production. The film is not an NYFC project, but it’s continuing the same work of raising a call to action around farmland affordability that NYFC is. We’re looking forward to watching it on the big screen!