Organic Valley, America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands, today announced it will launch the Generation Organic™ 2010 “Who’s Your Farmer?” Tour on October 6, starting at the Organic Valley headquarters in La Farge, Wis., and ending in our nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C. on October 21.
The two and a half week road trip, on a bus fueled by sustainably produced biofuels, will be driven by Generation Organic, a group of young farmers who have recently joined the 22-year-old organic farming cooperative. These Organic Valley farmer-owners, aged 18 to 35, represent a new generation of sustainable agriculture leaders who believe in the power of organic to change the world.
The Generation Organic 2010 “Who’s Your Farmer?” Tour will stop at select college campuses to spread the good news about the viability of a career in organic farming, and educate and inspire people about the many benefits of organic through presentations, school garden visits and grilled cheese socials. This determined group of young Organic Valley farmers will urge consumers to own their food—arming them with knowledge about how personal food choices affect the health of our bodies and our planet—and drive their future.
“As we look to the future, it is vitally important that we support the farmers of tomorrow who will carry on the organic tradition,” said George Siemon, C-I-E-I-O and one of the founding farmers of Organic Valley. “Our Generation Organic represents a new crop of farmers and sustainable agriculture leaders. These young people are the new faces of agriculture.”
According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, America has lost approximately 4.5 million farms since 1935, and most of the 2.1 million farms that remain are operated by farmers with an average age of 57. In contrast, the average age of Organic Valley farmers is 44. For more information on Generation Organic, please visit www.organicvalley.coop/GenerationOrganic.
“It’s inspirational to be part of Generation Organic and join other young farmers,” says Casey Knapp, a 21-year-old Organic Valley farmer on the Generation Organic 2010 “Who’s Your Farmer?” Tour. “We’ve chosen organic farming as our career path. Our reasons and stories are diverse, but we all believe in the power of organic to change the world.”
Knapp, a Generation Organic farmer on his family’s 300-acre organic farm in Preble, NY, balances studies at Cornell with morning milking and evening chores. He studied abroad in Argentina and is proficient in Spanish. In May 2009, Knapp was the only young farmer who was invited to participate in the 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, an intense global meeting bringing together more than 1,000 representatives from government, civil society and the UN system to debate and devise green solutions to the world food crisis.
Key stops on the Generation Organic 2010 “Who’s Your Farmer?” Tour include Bennington College, Williams College, Harvard University, Brown University, Yale University, Columbia University, and Barnard College. In Washington, D.C., they hope to make a visit to the First Lady’s Organic Garden at the White House, and will be meeting with key decision makers on sustainable agriculture and other related issues.
“The organic industry is one of the fastest growing, most dynamic sectors in U.S. Agriculture,” said Ken Cook, president of the Washington, D.C., based non-profit Environmental Working Group. “So much so that, even in these stark economic times, young Americans are finding organic farming the ultimate green job. They are forging careers by growing healthy food for millions of families and serving as the next generation of environmental stewards. Engaging more young farmers not only increases the vitality of the agriculture sector today, but it also ensures that tomorrow’s children eat healthier food and live healthier lives. That’s why the Generation Organic campaign is so important.”
For a full schedule of events and to follow the tour, including tales from the road, daily posts, photos and videos, please visit www.organicvalley.coop, Twitter @GenOrganic , and Facebook www.facebook.com/GenerationOrganic .
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,630 farmers in 33 states and four Canadian provinces, and achieved $523 million in 2009 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meats under the Organic Prairie label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop. Organic Valley is also on Twitter @Organic_Valley and Facebook www.facebook.com/OrganicValley .