Taken from The Boston Phoenix

«When I arrived at Rippling Waters Organic Farm in Standish around 8 am last Wednesday, several young women in their 20s were clustered around their farm manager, Julee. They were going over the morning’s tasks, which involved weeding Field D, removing juicy, leaf-devouring caterpillars from tomato plants, harvesting chard, and bagging produce for a Portland food pantry.

«Who wants to do hornworms?» Julee asked, referencing the caterpillars. This is not a particularly popular chore, it seems. I said I’d do it.

So began one of my days volunteering at a local farm, a surprisingly easy gig to set up, and one that increasing numbers of young people, both in New England and nationwide, are pursuing with varying intensity (see further down, «Levels of Commitment»).

Many of this generation’s locavores have read the requisite Michael Pollan tomes, developed relationships with their favorite farmers’ market vendors, and maybe even taught themselves some elementary food-preservation techniques — to keep yummy veggies year-round rather than having to buy produce out of season from some far-off place. What comes next, in the quest for sustainable-food street cred?

For some, it’s working on a farm, planting seeds, cultivating what grows, and pulling ripe produce straight from the ground. How better for this generation’s sustainable-food junkies to put their pitchforks where their principles are, than to actually learn (by doing) on small organic farms?»

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