Consider some grim statistics. In 1930 there were over thirty million farmers in this country and 6.2 million farms. By 1950 there were still twenty-five million farmers on 5.3 million farms. But then the post-war mischief set in, and the government turned against its farmers. By the turn of the century there were fewer than three million farmers on 2.1 million farms. The difference between 1930 and 2000 is a reduction of five farmers to slightly more than one farmer per farm—which is to say, far fewer eyes observing fertility losses on much larger farms. And today, for every one farmer and rancher under the age of 25, there are five who are 75 or older.
One, we need more people on the land. We need a better eyes-to-acre ratio. ... we need young people in local and regional governments who are liberally educated, which means they are familiar with, among other things, the philosophical and political theories that led to our current living arrangements. It also means they must be trained in both physical and cultural geography, urban planning, farming, gardening, environmental studies, and the courses in English and American literature that I teach.
And then from the comment box of this article, an idea close to my heart:
While Deep Springs is a two-year nontraditional college built around an operating ranch out in the desert, I find myself wondering if it might be worth founding and funding small two year post-10th Grade Institutes in varied contexts (urban, rural, seaside, mountains, plains) along the Deep Springs model in various parts of the USA to train “…young people in …the philosophical and political theories that led to our current living arrangements…physical and cultural geography, urban planning, farming, gardening, environmental studies, [as well as] courses in English and American literature…” and applied technology, health and nutrition, and rudimentary business skills added in? - See more at: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2013/10/lucks-a-chance-but-troubles-sure-2/#sthash.q68hJvdg.dpuf
Interesting about Deep Springs, I never heard of it, but it is an all-male school. Unfortunately the Board of Trustees are trying to break the trust and go co-ed. But that is an aside. I think there is a need for schools which educate the whole man, but which also encourage traditional rural living.
Oremus pro invicem!