Creating Resources for First-Time Farmers
Taylor Reid at the MSU Student Organic Farm.
As food systems become increasingly globalized and consolidated, Michigan has experienced a decline in traditional family farms.
MSU Ph.D. student Taylor Reid noticed a reaction to this decline in the form of an increase in demand for locally-grown organic foods and the growth of small, new farms on the urban fringe to meet that demand.
Reid's research focuses on these first-time farmers, their motivations, and the unique obstacles they face. Their dilemmas often include a lack of resources, knowledge, and experience. While this is not always a detriment—lack of traditional knowledge often leads to creative problem-solving—Reid hopes to support first-time farmers in their efforts.
In 2008, Reid launched the Beginning Farmers Web site (beginningfarmers.org) as a resource for new farmers. Reid explained, "By bringing together information and individuals we hope to provide a forum for sharing ideas that facilitate discussion and resources related to the process of starting new farms."