Giving Compass' Take:

• Sammy Blair argues that sustainable farming is a tradition best passed on through mentorship and has the power to transform our food system.

• Where does your food come from? Are there local farmers that you can learn from and support?

• Learn how Washington State is helping to grow the next generation of farmers.

I made the decision to move off the farm after graduating and experiencing life in the city. But once I did I came to the realization that I really wanted to return to the family farm. Farming is a part of who I am and I missed it. I am grateful that I was able to move back to join my family’s farming operation and continue as the next generation. It means the world to me to know that I can carry on my family’s legacy working the land and taking care of the animals, something that my grandfather did his entire life.

Our sustainable farming practices include rotational grazing, cover crops, tree buffer strips, crop rotation, organic practices, and we also maintain wildlife refuge areas. Sustainable farming is important so that future generations can have the resources to continue farming.

The best way to get started farming is to get to know older farmers. Build relationships with farmers who are getting ready to pass on their farm and traditions. The opportunity also involves finding people to help support you to get started. Farming takes support. It takes hard work and a little creative thinking. Niche companies like Niman Ranch are valuable assets to those who want to get started.

Read more about sustainable small farming by Sammy Blair at Food Tank.