IT STARTED WITH A CONVERSATION…
It’s amazing how an idea emerging from a single interaction can grow into something beautiful when we follow up, network, discuss, and build a team around it.
That’s how Farms for Tomorrow came into being. People talking. People listening and asking questions. People looking for answers and trying things out. People sharing what they’ve learned.
With large numbers of farmers now retiring, an enormous amount of farmland will be changing hands in coming years. Given that the age of the average farmer is over 65, this demographic wave has already begun rolling across the rural landscape.
Here are some of the questions farmers and farm advocates are asking:
- Who will take ownership of that land?
- What will farming look like in the future?
- Might this transition present opportunities to foster practical new models for agriculture, new forms of ownership, new pathways for community participation?
- How can we work toward the best possible outcomes for farmers, farmland, the practice of agriculture, and future generations?
That’s it. That’s what we’re about: raising questions, listening, sharing what we’ve learned. All to protect and enhance the future of farming.
And just as Farms for Tomorrow began with a conversation, our mission is extended whenever someone new – like you – joins and shares.
Dan Vernia has shared his culinary talent and imagination with diners throughout Michigan as well as venues in Montreal, Chicago, Phoenix, and New Orleans. He was raised in North Oakland County and studied visual and culinary arts at The Center for Creative Studies and Wayne State University in Detroit. Dan has a passion for food history, old cookbooks, and advocacy efforts for local food and sustainable food system development.
Jeremy Smith is a director of Tablehurst Farm, a community-owned biodynamic and organic farm in Forest Row, East Sussex, UK, with responsibility for the farm’s care home which provides three residential places for adults with learning disabilities. In his spare time, he organizes a program of talks and workshops for Emerson College, an independent adult education college in Forest Row based upon the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner.
Jean Yeager has been an organic farm owner in Northwest Iowa since 2000, with around 500 acres under management. He has served as vice president of the Biodynamics Board, and from 1992-95 served as managing editor of Biodynamics Journal. Jean and his wife Marietta are very active in restorative justice work through The Rutland County Community Justice Center.
Cooley Ludtke is co-founder of Media Arts, a full-service, Detroit-based production company specializing in video, corporate communications and interactive brand experiences for the automotive industry, including international auto shows for Chevrolet, GMC and Nissan. Other clients include the University of Michigan and The Kresge Foundation. Cooley, a video producer and project manager extraordinaire, keeps the Farms for Tomorrow team humming along.
John Swain is a filmmaker and co-founder of Media Arts, a full-service, Detroit-based production company serving the automotive industry and other Fortune 500 clients. He has worked in the film markets of Los Angeles, New York and London on feature-length films, documentaries and national television commercials. John is a storyteller at heart and a long-time farm advocate. He has been the catalyst for and heartbeat of the Farms for Tomorrow effort.
Cliff Scholz is a consulting editor with The MBA Exchange, a U.S.-based MBA admissions consultancy serving a global clientele. He is also a book coach and communications strategist. After joining Farms for Tomorrow as a writer, Cliff has expanded his role to host podcasts, bringing his longstanding passion for sustainable agriculture, local food and soil education. (And don’t even get him started on molybdenum.)
Cynthia Shaw is a communications strategist, writer and editor. She began her career as a journalist and went on to lead communications efforts at the College of Engineering at Michigan State University, the Ross School and School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan , the Kresge Foundation and the William Davidson Foundation. A long-time environmentalist, Cynthia wholeheartedly believes in the mission of Farms for Tomorrow.
David Sullivan is a principal at Resonant Communications, a Michigan-based digital studio serving clients in the automotive, insurance, and industrial automation industries. His expertise is based on nearly three decades working in the fields of strategic marketing communications and digital development. Dave built the Farms for Tomorrow website. In addition, his many interests include aviation, racing, and culinary pursuits.
Tim studied Music at Central Michigan University and Telecommunications and Film at Michigan State University. Over the past 20 years he has worked in a variety of Audio Production roles in TV, Film, Advertising and Podcasting. In 2002 Tim was “The Fastest Man in Detroit” – being the fastest Detroit Resident in the Detroit Marathon. His hobbies include playing the viola and starting more construction projects around the house than he can handle.
Amy Wolfe, a Graphic Designer and Art Director, has worked for more than 20 years in the Detroit offices of the nation’s top advertising firms, primarily for clients in the automotive, food, finance and sports industries. She has led or contributed to large, complex, multi-platform advertising campaigns and products. Amy designed the Farms for Tomorrow website and readily admits she most enjoys working for the food industry.
Scott Koue is a sound engineer and has worked for 30 years in the theater and film industries as a set designer, lighting designer, sound designer and technician. He has contributed to 300+ productions and his work can be experienced at Oakland Ensemble Theatre, MAGIC Theatre, University of California at Berkeley, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and in Hollywood feature films and advertising spots. Scott edited the Farms for Tomorrow podcasts.