Jim and Megan Gerritsen and their four children, Peter, Caleb, Sarah and Amy, organically farm potatoes and other vegetables for seed on Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine. Through farming organically, the Gerritsens strive towards a sustainable food system. When asked to envisage the goals of such a system for Maine, Jim and Megan set out the ultimate goal as being:
“a future of hope, expectation and permanence so that the next generation of farmers and fishers are encouraged and confident in carrying forward their family’s heritage of food production.”
The town of Bridgewater has felt the disappearance of family farming. Fifty years ago on the Gerritsen’s four mile stretch of road there were thirty potato farms, twenty years later the entire town was down to thirty farms and five years ago there were only six potato farmers left in town.
Jim decided to move to The County 35 years ago to farm. Will the current model for farming in America allow Jim and Megan’s children the same opportunity?
This work is the beginning of what will be an ongoing series looking at the institution of the family farm: the vulnerability of the family farm, the next generation of farmers, the disappearance of the multi-generational farms, and new initiatives to keep family farming alive.