America’s Next Top Farmers

The Photo Blog
March 9 2014 11:03 AM

America’s New Generation of Farmers

eliazarov_sustain_005
Mike and Ryan, Phoenix Hill Farm, Boscawen, N.H.

Aliza Eliazarov

All across the country, young people who were not raised in agricultural environments are getting involved in sustainable food production. Aliza Eliazarov, a photographer who has long had an interest in environmental issues, decided to document the various manifestations of this movement in her series, “Sustain.” “I was curious to see what it looked like, to see what was happening with young college graduates starting CSAs and leasing plots of land or starting urban farms and rooftop farms,” she said.

Eliazarov connected with her subjects online. “I posted on Facebook. I joined Meetup.com “chicken enthusiast” groups across the country. I used social media to help me because I felt it had a lot to do with propelling the movement,” she said.

Eliazarov visited urban rooftop farms, backyard farms, nonprofit and for-profit farms, and various permaculture projects across the country, from California to New Hampshire to New York City. “I think everyone was doing it in response to a broken farm system and feeling a need to be a producer rather than a consumer,” she said. “I think a lot of people felt empowered to start because of social media.”

eliazarov_sustain3_13
Wen Chia and Makena, Mar Vista, Calif.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain_003
Deborah, East New York Farms, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain3_11
Yemi, The Youth Farm at Wingate Campus, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain_001
JB, Alex, and October in their backyard, Venice, Calif.

Aliza Eliazarov

Advertisement

Spending time with her subjects made Eliazarov attuned to the difficulties of running any sort of food production business. “I think I knew it was hard, but as the project went on, I realized how hard it actually is. That's probably because of my own naive and romantic idea of what I imagined it to be,” she said.

While Eliazarov does support the work of her subjects, she considers her project more personal than political. “I want my photos to reflect what I gained from spending time with these farmers, which is the satisfaction, the quietness of working on your knees at 6 in the morning, for instance, harvesting carrots for your CSA. It's hard work, but there's also a quietness to it and a beauty,” she said.

That increased appreciation of farming inevitably made Eliazarov want to try farming herself. “I backyard garden at my apartment in Brooklyn. I would have chickens if my landlady allowed it,” she said.

eliazarov_sustain_010
Kat, Two Mountain Farm, Andover, N.H.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain_004
Truman in his backyard, Venice, Calif.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain_009
Paisha and Janet Rae, ranch on Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma, Calif.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain3_12
Brianna, The Youth Farm at Wingate Campus, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain_002
Elli, Wild Rose Ranch, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Aliza Eliazarov

eliazarov_sustain_008
Mike and Ryan, Phoenix Hill Farm, Boscawen, N.H.

Aliza Eliazarov

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.