Hipster Farmer?

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 5, 2010
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A New Generation puts the Sexy Back in Working the Land.

Hipster Farmer: Will a new generation step up to take the baton and get their fingers dirty? It’s the life, even if it’s on an urban rooftop or with a backyard chicken coop:

There’s been plenty of media hype, of late, about young folks returning to work farms—small farms—to grow organic, and sell the fruits of their toil at local farmers’ markets.

Interestingly, however, it’s an online mag (Grist, of course) that gets to the heart of this question, and beneath the hype—and it appears that it’s the generally thoroughly-researched NY Times that went into this story with a preconceived notion. It’s a good read, if only to find more about how to make the transition from PBR and clean Carhartts to lots, and lots of water, and dirty Carhartts.

In any case, the Times article seems to get something right: young folks are finding the sexy in getting away from urban life—speedy, hyper, unhealthy—and back to a life that’s beautiful, peaceful, and chock-ful of hearty, humbling work.

If my local farmers’ market is any indication—where dozens of young men and women work the stands—the sexy is back, and just in time.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


37 Responses to “Hipster Farmer?”

  1. Elle says:

    Farming is totally sexy. If it means the hipsters have to make farming hip and obscure so flocks of other kids follow suit… shit, that sounds good to me.

    But it's not just the hipster kids that are making the shift to sustainability… I stumbled across this last week… http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_15007238

  2. Greg says:

    With this government, the next thing we will see is the old posters from the Soviet Union that celebrate women in bandannas driving tractors.

    The wheel of birth and death of which the Buddha spoke was truly a wheel, round and round we go, repeating karma.

  3. We gottttta get you writing more, Greg. A Buddha-quoting Republican? Pure elephant, we'd have great dialogues!

  4. The above post inspired me to create this page, for our more sexy hipster-friendly readers. http://www.facebook.com/pages/elephant-journal-ge

  5. lighthasmass says:

    You all should come out to Northern California. This farming thing has been going on a long time. We have a garden, horses, goats, and yes we young folks are getting into cows. We are going to start milking and making cheese. Our friends have goat farms, orchards, and fields of tomatoes. It is all about sustainability and caring for the earth. Nothing hip, trendy, or even "green", just sustaining and nourishing. And maybe I will wear some hip boots while I milk our cow.

  6. Send photos of milking with hip boots, we'll post 'em here! Or write something for us! Or both.

  7. ted t says:

    Really enjoyed this. I've written an article about the Japanese version:

  8. Sexy Radish Farm is the latest irresistible stop on the WWOOFer trail. How sexy is that?

  9. Pam Rubin says:

    I enjoy your publication. However, maybe it is time to think about not selling things using women's skin (e.g. lead picture for this article).

  10. lighthasmass says:

    I really should have also mention. This farming is more of a life ….. simple said. Be the change that you want to be.

  11. Blake says:

    My wife and I completed a farm apprenticeship last season and we are looking to open a farm and retreat center in Kansas. I had no idea this was a hipster trend. Cutting edge, bitches!

  12. concerned citizen says:

    Are the articles that are referenced from 2 years ago (2008)?

  13. Ash says:

    I'm with Pam who commented above. I love the idea that local farming is hitting the urban scene. I even own a share in a local farm and receive my produce weekly but the first image is really degrading. Who is being milked there?? I also just read the article about yoga + feminism and the acceptance of ones body which is a huge issue for women mainly contributed by the mainstream medias ads, hence the first one posted here. I love the elephant, I'm just a little sick of women being seen as sex objects.

  14. […] also have a far lower carbon footprint. Be sure you buy local produce from organic and local farms, the farmer’s market or […]

  15. elephantjournal says:

    I hear you, but when we post photos of sexy men not only do we nevvvver get complaints, we get catcalls and whistles in comments…from women. And I find that first photo stylee, lovely, sexy, fun…not degrading at all. I'd be happy to add such a photo of a male farmer, if you want to send one in.

  16. elephantjournal says:

    Thanks, Pam! 1: you go first: readers should learn to read articles that don't have sexy photos, then, take responsibility for changing from bottom, up. 2: when we post photos of sexy men, I get zero complaints, lots of clicks, and plenty of compliments (for the male models) in comments…from women. ~ Waylon

  17. Michelle says:

    It's the shoes that are offensive. Impractical for walking around in cow dung.

  18. Jill Barth says:

    I posted this to the elephant green Facebook page. Thanks for sharing!

    Jill Barth, Green Editor
    Join us! Like elephant green on Facebook

  19. […] wouldn’t expect to transform yourself from a suburban gardener to a full-fledged farmer by reading the “Farmers’ Almanac.” For one thing, it’s a hodgepodge of old […]

  20. Amanda says:

    Waylon–I have two comments to your rebuttal above defending your choice to post a photo of (yet another) scantily clad woman.

    You wrote:
    " Readers should learn to read articles that don't have sexy photos, then, take responsibility for changing from bottom up"

    That is like saying that 'People love hamburgers and french fries! That's why we need factory farms, battery cages, and need to clear the Brazilian rainforest to grow cattle for the hamburgers! Because it's what consumers want.'

    We know that putting the responsibility on demand from the bottom denominator to dictate supply is a one-dimensional argument. It is the challenge and opportunity of innovative organizations to raise the bar higher than this. This goes for the media as well. The media can offer sensationalist content and celebrity gossip, or it can deliver original ideas and compelling imagery that does not rely on tired old stereotypes or reinforce assumptions that the only way to get attention is to put an image of a nearly naked woman on it.

    Your other point: "when we post photos of sexy men, I get zero complaints, lots of clicks, and plenty of compliments (for the male models) in comments…from women. "

    Well, sure, but there is a whole other context here that you are ignoring. Compare, in an average lifetime, the number of commercialized images of sexy women one is exposed to versus the number of commercialized images of sexy men. Compare the amount of sexual harrassment, and violence, of eating disorders, of general poor body image issues, that women have suffered, surely partly due to the conditioning created by the endless stream of images like the one above. Women may welcome a nice-looking guy in his briefs as a refreshing change from the norm, it may be a bit objectifying, sure, but it does not carry anywhere near the level of cultural weight that a nearly naked woman does. Surely you must be able to see that.

  21. yogajanet says:

    "Milk me, baby! " says the pinup hipster girl. "Roll in the hay with me!" says the pinup hipster man on the bottom of the page. You've negated whatever good you had to say with these images. They are comically out-dated. I can see the first picture on the calendar hanging in an old tractor mechanics house.

  22. Holly says:

    Are you implying there's something wrong with old tractor mechanics?

  23. bysamanthaclaire says:

    Really? Half naked heel-clad skinny lady milking a cow? And getting your "fingers dirty?" Aren't there ways to talk about the appeal of working the earth — and even the sexiness of connecting with each other's humanity — without this kind of objectification? I don't want to be bummed about this, but I am.

  24. Kevin says:

    Maybe an EJ experiment where only photos of sexy men are used for a period of time (a few weeks) without any new photos of sexy women might be an interesting thing?

  25. elephantjournal says:

    elephantjournal.com Judy, we're all for discussion–see my comment to Amanda. 99% of our blogs have nothing to do with sexiness and I don't see you commenting upon or supporting those–or contributing. I have no problem with sexuality–I do have a problem with exploitation. This photo, to me, rocks. But to each her own.
    Like · Reply · a few seconds ago
    elephantjournal.com Amanda, we get this knee-jerk reaction and comments whenever we publish a "sexy" photo–of a woman. Ryan Gosling or Adam whatever naked, we get dozens of catcalls, hoots and hollers–from women. Sexuality isn't a problem. The problem (or lack of problem) lies in motivation. This is a stylish, beautiful photo–in my view. Each to his or her own. We here at elephant respect and love sexuality in men, women, and for any sexual persusasion.

    We're here to have fun and celebrate life, and we do not condone sexual harassment, date rape, or exploitation–of course.

    But: it is possible to feature sexiness with respect and style and humor and without exploitation. See ancient Indian or Thai art, etc.
    Like · Reply · about a minute ago
    Rick Gilbert Andrew Zimmern had a TV show in Portland a few weeks ago. The people were a bit precious, but the local beekeeping and the "terroir of honey" was pretty cool.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 15 hours ago via mobile
    Amanda Suutari Yes, I just commented on this photo on their page. It may be stylish and edgy, but I find this out of alignment with Elephant Journal's content and vision of supporting and empowering women to be more than sexualized images in the media.
    Like · Reply · 9 · 14 hours ago
    Brian Kroeker The irony of an article about the resurgence of homesteading accompanied by a picture of a woman with her boob hanging out posted mere hours after a gripe about how people only click on the "sexy" articles is just hilarious. And hypocritical.
    Like · Reply · 13 · 15 hours ago via mobile
    Samantha Updegrave Really? Half naked heel-clad skinny lady milking a cow? And getting your "fingers dirty?" Aren't there ways to talk about the appeal of working the earth — and even the sexiness of connecting with each other's humanity — without this kind of objectification? I don't want to be bummed about this, but I am.
    Like · Reply · 4 · 5 hours ago
    Ami Bowen How precious, we can go back to basics and work the land, but now we can do it in heels and full makeup. eff you – what a bullsh*t image.
    Like · Reply · 3 · 9 hours ago
    Judy Ruth Waylon — are you just TRYING to provoke? If so, toward what end? Is this your idea of walking the talk? The fact that your journal's semi-porn images have been the subject of several discussions in recent days makes this seem all the more like an intentional slap in the face.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 5 hours ago
    Thegreat Martini Porny photo looks like those ads for Snap on tools. but for Amish farmers. "Our milk cans are better" http://hisvorpal.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/snap
    Like · Reply · 1 · 6 hours ago
    Juan Arrmando Moreno "Sácame la leche" – Dijo la vaca.See Translation
    Like · Reply · 4 hours ago
    Roo Whetstone waste of time article. ????? dumb. how's that for being eloquent.
    Like · Reply · 4 hours ago
    Russell Busch Lost irony!
    Like · Reply · 8 hours ago
    Janet Warnock MacFarlane Pinup hipster girl milking a cow?

  26. elephantjournal says:

    Or, you could breathe and have a sense of humor. Both the pinups are stylish and/or fun, and kick-ass. To me. I understand you may have a different view, and unlike you, I don't mind others have other views.

  27. elephantjournal says:

    Amanda–great comment. I'd welcome a friendly debate, if you like, take me up on it and we'll publish it. [email protected]

  28. elephantjournal says:

    Best comment yet.

  29. elephantjournal says:

    I've actually done it before! We've featured ridiculously objectifying photos of men–re PETA, re cancer, many other such–and our 75% female readership loooves it. Not a single complaint, and tons of literally-catcall kinda comments. Hell, I could do it right now–share this article with the man photo at the bottom, and zero complaints.

  30. yogajanet says:

    Or you can breathe and have a sense of humor and see that the picture says, "C'mon and milk me babe!" or "C'mon ands roll in the hay with me!" Take your pick or do both…whatever floats your boat. Udders and boobs together at last. A topless man in a hayloft. Harlequin for the Hipster Farmer set? I mean who cares about what was said when these pictures pretty much dominate? You could have put a title and just those pictures.

  31. yogajanet says:

    LOL. I think I meant to say shop and I also meant something from another era..but no matter. The sentiment is the same. Have you seen the snap on tool ads? http://hisvorpal.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/snap

  32. Amanda says:

    Hello, I just saw this now. Yes, of course, as I'm seeing the various comments on this, I am learning from everyone and starting to articulate a more nuanced evolution about surfing the cultural edge and navigating the polarities with discernment and surrender. Let me know a bit more of what you had in mind.

  33. Amanda says:

    I meant to say, 'a more nuanced position about evolution and surfing the cultural edge, etc….'

  34. judith scott says:

    include the people of color. that is also part of the story..

  35. casper says:

    nice to look your best, but I would like to see the production value (yield per year, or whatever farmers use) next to each hottie farmer. my assumption is that to be profitable and high yield, you look like crap (tired, sunburnt, etc.)

  36. Elizabeth says:

    I am disappointed: I want Elephant Journal to be smarter and more introspective rather than just sexy. I have not seen a comment here from a generational farmer, or a late in life farmer. Every young person reading EJ will be lucky to grow old. It is a privilege we do not have any control over. Life happens. People eat, we became an agrarian society,some want to eat responsibly. and might really understand the undertaking of food production. Farming for a living is incredibly HARD work. What is the deal with this photo?this woman doesn't milk cows to make her income, she models for photos to make her income, that is fine. But don't conflagrate the two concepts. If one is not a generational farmer, that is coming from a family who owned land via whatever means and stayed with it, the new farmers will really need to be supported by consumers to be able to survive. . And you know what? Farming, year after year, is not going to keep them looking pretty! Farming is about the real life cycle. There is a season to sow, to cultivate, to harvest and to put to rest the farm –

    I do want Elephant Journal readers to buy local and support Local farmers, regardless of whether they are rural or urban, young and sexy or withered and old. I didn't feel the point was well made – so BUY LOCAL, know your farmer, and engage in the source of your food!! we all strive on diligently, every day. . .
    Firefly Farm, NC 2006-2013