Local farmer discusses farming in a socially and environmentally changing climate

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Even though the growing season has officially ended, a local farmer shares some of the challenges she’s had to face this past season ranging from supply issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to a changing climate and environment while also empowering young farmers, especially aspiring female farmers along the way.

Wild Hill Farm located in Bloomfield, New York is a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm that grows vegetables, flowers, and melons for roughly 200 families throughout the summer as a way for people to get to know their farmers, and trusting that they’re getting the freshest, most environmentally friendly food possible. 

Erin Bullock, owner/operator of Wild Hill Farm works hard to make sure the organic food they grow is up to par, without using harmful chemicals or pesticides, and has even (accidentally) developed a reputation for empowering young women in the field along the way. 

“A lot of what we’re doing besides feeding the community healthy food is every year I get like from four to seven young people from the community usually women who want to learn how to farm, and I think like empowering them to learn how to drive tractors and operate heavy equipment and use the fertile land around us to feed their community it’s just a really empowering thing.”

While being a woman in the farming industry can be challenging, an even bigger challenge has been adapting to growing organic food in an increasingly unpredictable climate. 

“Like all of these things, ya know frost coming a month early or a month late, and like these are just huge stressors in our business.” 

Homegrown favorites like broccoli, lettuce, and carrots are just some of the crops affected by these climatic changes along with new diseases and sudden arrivals from pests as result of the warmer temperatures and excess rain.

Did you know? The average age of farmers in the U.S. is around 58 years old. The age on average is getting higher with the perception that farming isn’t as up and coming as jobs found in more suburban or urban areas are, and as current farmers continue to age. This also means more land will soon become available for future farmers to utilize.

These challenges often result in major crop loss on the farm, but Erin still finds excitement in exposing more young people including women to the importance of organic farming.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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