Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The newest green-collar job

Farming is hard work, but it's one of the most important sectors in the world. No farms = no food. Period. Food production is in great danger these days, as climate change affects traditionally understood farming conditions and the increasing demand for biofuels has led to less spinach and melons to make room for fields of corn and soybeans. The current push to reduce the illegal immigrant population has left many fields full of fresh soil or produce and no one to actually do the planting and harvesting. Good thing Grist is on top of things, with some really interesting solutions for the farm worker shortage. Check them out here and here. I really like the Farm for America idea. There are a number of smaller opportunities for people to spend time working on farms, but a strongly funded program with metrics for success and avenues for professional development could really draw young people back to the land and perhaps even provide immigrants with the opportunity to get better or more consistent wages, formalized training, and possibly American citizenship, if they commit to such a program.