Short of the Week: Age of the Farmer

By Brooke Bailey

“Sometimes you think ‘oh everyone’s getting into farming, it’s the cool thing to do.’ But that’s actually not true at all, no one is getting into farming!”

Age of the Farmer tackles one of the most prevalent issues in North America, even though you may not realize it. The average age of farmers in the U.S. is 57. Our farmers are rapidly aging and there aren’t people in line to take their place; they’re literally dying faster than we can replace them.

Filmmaker Spencer MacDonald and photographer Eva Verbeeck set out to document young farmers in the Pacific Northwest. They – the farmers – speak about their concerns for the future of farming and what drew them to the lifestyle.

MacDonald’s filmmaking style makes an already short-short film seem to fly by. It leaves you wanting more but is also the exact perfect length; the overhead animations keep things interesting while short clips of life on these farms gives you the context you need. The entire film is narrated between four young farmers, but there are no talking heads. Not seeing the narrator makes it feel introspective; like you’ve taken a trip inside their head and you’re hearing their thoughts and seeing what they see.

Age of the Farmer gives you a look at a lifestyle choice that most of us wouldn't consider to be a lifestyle choice anymore. These farmers advocate for living off the land and producing your own food, becoming nearly self-sustaining while still not totally giving up the pleasures of modern life. And you're a liar if it doesn't make you want to join them, even just a little bit.

You can view Verbeeck’s full photo gallery here.

See more work from MacDonald here.