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Many young farmers are now turning to the land to create positive change.

Cultivating our future farmers

Positive change is happening in agriculture, and organisations such as Young Farmers Connect are there to help, writes Tara Luca.

Young Farmers Connect is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to cultivating networks, resources and community for new, young and aspiring farmers throughout Australia. Co-founder Joel Orchard and chapter co-ordinator of the Northern Rivers Venetia Scott, chat with me about their work.

Why do you think more young people are developing an interest in farming?

VENETIA: I think a lot of the ‘why’ for many is to be an active participant in creating change in the way we grow food, consume food and act as humans on a planet that seems headed towards ecological collapse if we don’t change our practices. It’s a form of practical activism, or ‘practivism’.

How does becoming a farmer make a difference?

JOEL: Farming is turning away from being more of a trade to now being more intellectual, which I think the regenerative farming movement has really highlighted. There’s a high level of scientific information being embedded in the industry and a generation of people who are ready to take on that information and use it wisely. It’s taking a holistic approach to every form of wellness that affects both us and the planet.

What are some of the obstacles new farmers face?

JOEL: Access to land continues to be a significant obstacle for new farmers worldwide. We talk about this and share information about different forms of land access, partnerships, leasing and collaborations.  

VENETIA: I think education is a big thing. There isn’t a lot of ag training out there for small scale growers interested in local food economies. Permaculture courses and workshops are such a great place to start, but I found a real gap when I wanted to take it a step further. Joining YFC really bridged that space for me by fostering a rich environment for peer-to-peer learning and exposure to immersive practical knowledge.

How can Young Farmers Connect help?

JOEL: We are a great place to start for the agricurious. People interested in dipping their toes in are given the opportunity to view a rich variety of different industries and connect with others at various stages of their journeys. We have regular field days where people can see different working farms in action and access lots of resources. We also run programs in partnership with the Young Farmers Business Program to help people look at farming as an entrepreneurial venture and really unpack business skills in practical terms.  


For more information visit Also, see their
book The Changing Face of Farming.


You can read the full article in our Spring 2022 issue (OG 136), which also has our experts top favourite tomatoes and tips for growing heat-tolerant lettuces. There’s a selection of back issues available here — you can also subscribe and get the most recent issues delivered to your door!

OG 136 cover