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Pictures | Sat Jul 27, 2019 | 4:45am IST

Young women and non-binary farmers grow diversity in Long Island

Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett, New York. Women and non-binary people are part of a growing cadre of gender-diverse college graduates in their 20s and 30s who are changing the face of organic agriculture, running some of the best-known organic farms on Long Island.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett, New York. Women and non-binary people are part of a growing cadre of gender-diverse college graduates in their 20s and 30s who are changing the face...more

Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett, New York. Women and non-binary people are part of a growing cadre of gender-diverse college graduates in their 20s and 30s who are changing the face of organic agriculture, running some of the best-known organic farms on Long Island. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, checks the sky for coming rain in Amagansett. Guenther grows potatoes, squash, wheat and other crops at Quail Hill, the Amagansett, New York, farm they manage on land donated to the Peconic Land Trust. "Farming - for where I grew up - was a very unusual career choice," said Guenther, 32, who grew up in a New York City suburb and identifies as gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. But "everybody belongs on the land in their own way. None of us should feel alienated from it."

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, checks the sky for coming rain in Amagansett. Guenther grows potatoes, squash, wheat and other crops at Quail Hill, the Amagansett, New York, farm they manage on land donated to the Peconic Land Trust....more

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, checks the sky for coming rain in Amagansett. Guenther grows potatoes, squash, wheat and other crops at Quail Hill, the Amagansett, New York, farm they manage on land donated to the Peconic Land Trust. "Farming - for where I grew up - was a very unusual career choice," said Guenther, 32, who grew up in a New York City suburb and identifies as gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. But "everybody belongs on the land in their own way. None of us should feel alienated from it." REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Marilee Foster of Foster Farm harvests potatoes on her family farm in Sagaponack, Long Island. Organic farming is a growing $50 billion industry nationwide. Women make up a slightly larger share of organic farmers than conventional farmers, 37% to 36%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a share that is likely to continue to grow, experts say.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm harvests potatoes on her family farm in Sagaponack, Long Island. Organic farming is a growing $50 billion industry nationwide. Women make up a slightly larger share of organic farmers than conventional farmers, 37% to...more

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm harvests potatoes on her family farm in Sagaponack, Long Island. Organic farming is a growing $50 billion industry nationwide. Women make up a slightly larger share of organic farmers than conventional farmers, 37% to 36%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a share that is likely to continue to grow, experts say. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. Amanda Merrow co-runs Amber Waves farm with Katie Baldwin, whom she met during an apprenticeship program. Merrow said she had, quite simply, enrolled in the apprenticeship "with the intention of doing something else after," but she fell in love with farming and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. Amanda Merrow co-runs Amber Waves farm with Katie Baldwin, whom she met during an apprenticeship program. Merrow said she had, quite simply, enrolled in the apprenticeship "with the...more

Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. Amanda Merrow co-runs Amber Waves farm with Katie Baldwin, whom she met during an apprenticeship program. Merrow said she had, quite simply, enrolled in the apprenticeship "with the intention of doing something else after," but she fell in love with farming and couldn't imagine doing anything else. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Garlic dries in a greenhouse at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. One reason organic farms are more gender-diverse is that their generally smaller size means less up-front investment is needed, making them more accessible to new farmers, said Sophie Ackoff, vice president of policy and campaigns at the National Young Farmers Coalition. The average organic farm, according to a USDA survey from 2016, is about 350 acres - compared to 441 acres for a conventional farm.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Garlic dries in a greenhouse at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. One reason organic farms are more gender-diverse is that their generally smaller size means less up-front investment is needed, making them more accessible to new farmers, said Sophie...more

Garlic dries in a greenhouse at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. One reason organic farms are more gender-diverse is that their generally smaller size means less up-front investment is needed, making them more accessible to new farmers, said Sophie Ackoff, vice president of policy and campaigns at the National Young Farmers Coalition. The average organic farm, according to a USDA survey from 2016, is about 350 acres - compared to 441 acres for a conventional farm. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York. These groups, and young farmers new to agriculture in general, are drawn to organic, sustainable farming because of a desire to do work with a social impact, Ackoff and several farmers said. "They're choosing to go organic because of the reasons they are going into agriculture in the first place: to protect natural resources for future generations, to fight climate change, to feed their community good, healthy food," Ackoff said.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York. These groups, and young farmers new to agriculture in general, are drawn to organic, sustainable farming because of a desire to do work with a social impact, Ackoff and...more

Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York. These groups, and young farmers new to agriculture in general, are drawn to organic, sustainable farming because of a desire to do work with a social impact, Ackoff and several farmers said. "They're choosing to go organic because of the reasons they are going into agriculture in the first place: to protect natural resources for future generations, to fight climate change, to feed their community good, healthy food," Ackoff said. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Marilee Foster of Foster Farm works in Sagaponack. Foster's family has been farming in Sagaponack for generations. An ancestor, a whaler named Josiah, turned to the land in the mid-1800s as overfishing destroyed his prospects at sea. Foster, 48, is the first woman in the family to fully co-manage the farm. She recently transitioned to organic farming not just for environmental reasons, but also because it made business sense: "I farm organically because that's what people want."

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm works in Sagaponack. Foster's family has been farming in Sagaponack for generations. An ancestor, a whaler named Josiah, turned to the land in the mid-1800s as overfishing destroyed his prospects at sea. Foster, 48, is...more

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm works in Sagaponack. Foster's family has been farming in Sagaponack for generations. An ancestor, a whaler named Josiah, turned to the land in the mid-1800s as overfishing destroyed his prospects at sea. Foster, 48, is the first woman in the family to fully co-manage the farm. She recently transitioned to organic farming not just for environmental reasons, but also because it made business sense: "I farm organically because that's what people want." REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. At Amber Waves, Baldwin and Merrow grow vegetables, wheat, and herbs on about 20 acres. And along with Quail Hill, Amber Waves trains apprentices - the next generation of diverse, fledgling farmers, new to agriculture and encouraged by the farms' gender-diverse leadership.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. At Amber Waves, Baldwin and Merrow grow vegetables, wheat, and herbs on about 20 acres. And along with Quail Hill, Amber Waves trains apprentices - the next generation of diverse,...more

Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. At Amber Waves, Baldwin and Merrow grow vegetables, wheat, and herbs on about 20 acres. And along with Quail Hill, Amber Waves trains apprentices - the next generation of diverse, fledgling farmers, new to agriculture and encouraged by the farms' gender-diverse leadership. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Produce, including blueberries and rhubarb, are seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. While organic farming is growing quickly, it comes with high labor costs and potentially lower crop yields than conventional farming, so it can be a tough business for new farmers. "When I look now at the starting of the farm, it seems really audacious," said Katie Baldwin of Amber Waves farm. "But in that environment, in 2008, everybody had lost their jobs and there weren't jobs - so it didn't feel that weird to start something."

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Produce, including blueberries and rhubarb, are seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. While organic farming is growing quickly, it comes with high labor costs and potentially lower crop yields than conventional farming, so it can be a tough...more

Produce, including blueberries and rhubarb, are seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. While organic farming is growing quickly, it comes with high labor costs and potentially lower crop yields than conventional farming, so it can be a tough business for new farmers. "When I look now at the starting of the farm, it seems really audacious," said Katie Baldwin of Amber Waves farm. "But in that environment, in 2008, everybody had lost their jobs and there weren't jobs - so it didn't feel that weird to start something." REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Marilee Foster's brother and farming partner, Dean, takes an evening flight over Foster Farm to check on crops and the deer population in Sagaponack. In New York state, organic farming is growing twice as fast as the national average, the latest USDA agricultural census showed, thanks in part to strong regional demand for organic, locally produced foods.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster's brother and farming partner, Dean, takes an evening flight over Foster Farm to check on crops and the deer population in Sagaponack. In New York state, organic farming is growing twice as fast as the national average, the latest USDA...more

Marilee Foster's brother and farming partner, Dean, takes an evening flight over Foster Farm to check on crops and the deer population in Sagaponack. In New York state, organic farming is growing twice as fast as the national average, the latest USDA agricultural census showed, thanks in part to strong regional demand for organic, locally produced foods. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Chickens are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. New York has over 1,000 certified organic farms, ranking it third in the country, behind California and Wisconsin, the USDA data shows. These farms account for nearly 4% of the state's overall farm acreage, compared with a national average of roughly 0.6%.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Chickens are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. New York has over 1,000 certified organic farms, ranking it third in the country, behind California and Wisconsin, the USDA data shows. These farms account for nearly 4% of the state's overall...more

Chickens are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. New York has over 1,000 certified organic farms, ranking it third in the country, behind California and Wisconsin, the USDA data shows. These farms account for nearly 4% of the state's overall farm acreage, compared with a national average of roughly 0.6%. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain works in Amagansett. 

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain works in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain works in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, plows the fields in Amagansett. There is no national data on the share of transgender farmers in the United States, but HB Lozito, executive director of Vermont-based Out in the Open, an organization that connects rural LGBTQ people, says it is growing.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, plows the fields in Amagansett. There is no national data on the share of transgender farmers in the United States, but HB Lozito, executive director of Vermont-based Out in the Open, an organization that...more

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, plows the fields in Amagansett. There is no national data on the share of transgender farmers in the United States, but HB Lozito, executive director of Vermont-based Out in the Open, an organization that connects rural LGBTQ people, says it is growing. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
Close
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Potatoes harvested by Marilee Foster of Foster Farm are seen in Sagaponack.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Potatoes harvested by Marilee Foster of Foster Farm are seen in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Potatoes harvested by Marilee Foster of Foster Farm are seen in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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The chalk board at Quail Hill Farm, revised weekly to guide CSA members as to where to harvest, is seen in Amagansett.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

The chalk board at Quail Hill Farm, revised weekly to guide CSA members as to where to harvest, is seen in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

The chalk board at Quail Hill Farm, revised weekly to guide CSA members as to where to harvest, is seen in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Vegetables are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Vegetables are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Vegetables are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, moves irrigation pipe in Amagansett.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, moves irrigation pipe in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, moves irrigation pipe in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Farming equipment is seen on Foster Farm in Sagaponack.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Farming equipment is seen on Foster Farm in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Farming equipment is seen on Foster Farm in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Layton Guenther (R), director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther (R), director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther (R), director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Quail Hill farmers Layton Guenther (L) and Alicia Mountain eat breakfast at home before the day's farm work in Amagansett.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Quail Hill farmers Layton Guenther (L) and Alicia Mountain eat breakfast at home before the day's farm work in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Quail Hill farmers Layton Guenther (L) and Alicia Mountain eat breakfast at home before the day's farm work in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack.

REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris

Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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