Shining a spotlight on the innovative ideas and work of family farmers is something we do every month in our Farmer Heroes stories. We’ve profiled farmers young and old, from Maine to Hawaii, and almost everywhere in between. There are 2 million farmers in this country and we don’t know them all — we need your help! Earlier this month, we launched a new page on our site allowing visitors to nominate Farmer Heroes in their own lives.
The farmer stories you’re submitting are inspiring and help highlight the diversity of the people growing our food (and the readers of our site). So far, we’ve learned about Mac Arnold, a noted blues bassist who is also a farmer, farmers selling heirloom seeds as part of the Open Source Seed Initiative, and many more.
Here are three farmers that you introduced us to. We hope you enjoy learning about them as much as we did. Stay tuned for more, and keep the nominations coming!
Chuck was nominated by his daughter, Karen B. She wrote:
Born in 1933 to a long line of farmers on both sides of his family, Chuck Schultz has lived and loved farming all of his long life. In October 2016, he brought in his final harvest and, a few weeks later, sold all of his tractors and loaders. He is finally retiring at age 83!
He grew up on his family’s farm in Butteville, Oregon, where they grew hops and raised pigs, cattle and horses. After a short stint in the U.S. Army, he purchased 180 acres outside of Woodburn, Oregon, and began raising cattle and sheep and growing hay, various grains, sugar beets (for seed) and filberts. He instilled in his three children, a love and respect for nature and a strong work ethic. He is my father, and I am proud to say that he is my hero.
Evelyn R. nominated Greg, writing:
Greg is director of the Thanksgiving Farm CSA [at The Center for Discovery] in Harris, NY. This unique farm is part of the life of developmentally disabled and challenged people. Greg encourages and teaches each of these people to be farmers, take care of the animals, and grow amazing organic vegetables for the members of the CSA. Running a farm is hard – to do it while teaching people with disabilities is remarkable! It is a wonderful experience and you would love what Greg and his crew do.
Here’s what Diane W. had to say about Henry:
Henry is a 3rd generation farmer in central Illinois. He grows the most delicious vegetables I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten a lot of veggies in my 70 years) using innovative techniques to extend the growing season in his area and planting for deliciousness, not shipping. He renews the soil with cover crops and a mixture of traditional and innovative methods. After a yearlong sabbatical in Japan, he returned to his farm and started growing rice using “waste water” in an area long known for soybeans and corn only. He sells produce through CSAs and several farmers’ markets.
Henry is articulate and knowledgeable about his work and about agriculture in general and he is a true farm hero. His parents and siblings and wife and children all farm and participate in the adventure. His sister, Terra, writes extensively about farming in central Illinois, including about Henry’s farm (THE SEASONS ON HENRY’S FARM).
I know Henry from the Evanston, IL, Farmers Market and even though I now live in Tacoma, WA, the taste of his produce is the standard by which I measure all produce. Nothing surpasses Henry’s produce.
If you know someone you think deserves recognition as a Farmer Hero, please tell us about them.