27 min

Can farmers survive‪?‬ The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman

    • News

Why would a woman walk away from a successful career as a journalist and professor, a comfortable home and a good life to become a struggling farmer?That’s exactly what Beth Hoffman did. She had spent decades as a reporter covering food and agriculture for outlets including NPR and The Guardian and taught at the University of San Francisco. Then in 2019, she and her new husband moved from their home in San Francisco back to his family’s 530-acre farm in Iowa to try their hands at farming. The experience has been spiritually rewarding but financially sobering.Half of America’s 2 million farms made less than $300 in 2019, according to Hoffman. That’s a recipe for poverty, not success.Hoffman tells her story in a new book, Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America. She explores issues from how the changing climate is affecting farms, to the financial and emotional toll of farming, to the obstacles confronting farmers of color. She advocates for a new narrative about farming that includes an honest reckoning with the harsh realities that farmers face while feeding the country.

Why would a woman walk away from a successful career as a journalist and professor, a comfortable home and a good life to become a struggling farmer?That’s exactly what Beth Hoffman did. She had spent decades as a reporter covering food and agriculture for outlets including NPR and The Guardian and taught at the University of San Francisco. Then in 2019, she and her new husband moved from their home in San Francisco back to his family’s 530-acre farm in Iowa to try their hands at farming. The experience has been spiritually rewarding but financially sobering.Half of America’s 2 million farms made less than $300 in 2019, according to Hoffman. That’s a recipe for poverty, not success.Hoffman tells her story in a new book, Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America. She explores issues from how the changing climate is affecting farms, to the financial and emotional toll of farming, to the obstacles confronting farmers of color. She advocates for a new narrative about farming that includes an honest reckoning with the harsh realities that farmers face while feeding the country.

27 min

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