Age of the Farmer: Farming in the Pacific Northwest

In the summer of 2015, Eva Verbeeck asked Spencer MacDonald to join her on a road through the Pacific Northwest to produce a short film on young farmers that would accompany her photo story for a variety of publications. Having spent much time WWOOFing* on organic farms, Spencer knew the importance of this mission.

So they loaded their iPods with old bluegrass music and set off in a 1990 Nissan truck, heading from Portland to British Columbia, offering their labor in exchange for room and board at the farms they visited.

65 is the average age of farmers, and there are not enough young farmers to replace them. How did we get here?

Their film Age of the Farmer expresses some of the thoughts and feelings of the young farmers that they stayed with and, hopefully, a little bit of justice was done for all the young farmers out there. The average age of farmers in Canada is roughly 54, and 57 in the U.S.

Eva and Spencer are grateful to all of the farms and farmers that hosted them through the summer and kept them filled with organic produce and warmth.

This documentary was made for love, not for money. Always for love.

 

Farms Visited:
Earth Candy Farm, Salt Spring Island, BC
Plenty Wild Farms, Pemberton, BC
Hoe Down CSA at Tulaberry Farm, Passmore, BC
Yummy Yards, Vancouver, BC
Skyberry Farm, Portland, OR
Growing Veterans, Lynden, WA
Beacon Food Forest, Seattle WA

Farmers narrating this film (in order of appearance):
Claire Jutras (Earth Candy Farm)
Alyssa Belter (Plenty Wild Farms)
Kate Rustemeyer (Hoe Down CSA at Tulaberry Farm)
Ellis Hroch (Earth Candy Farm)

Music:
Black Twig Pickers and Steve Gunn – “Old Strange” (CC Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Intl License)
Chris Zabriskie – “Another Version of You” (Licensed CC-BY)
Nicolas Jaar/Vera Remember – Essential Mix/Last Night Together

Production:
Directed/Edited by Spencer MacDonald, Half Magic Films
Produced/Masterminded by Eva Verbeeck

* WWOOFing
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is a loose network of national organizations that provides volunteers with first-hand experience in organic and ecologically-sound growing methods, to help the organic movement, and to let volunteers experience life in a rural setting or a different country. WWOOFers generally do not receive financial payment. The host provides food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn, in exchange for assistance with farming or gardening activities.