The New Farmers
The new farmers are young, in their late twenties and early thirties. They don't come from farm families, and most spent years traveling before deciding to try to make their livings on the land. But stirred by the same combination of romance and idealism that's always fired the young, they share a passionate love of the farming life, coupled with the ardent faith that local food is a pure good.
A central figure in the local farming revival is Jeff McCabe. "My grandparents were hobby farmers," says the lanky former building contractor. "And I had a garden in Ann Arbor until Zion [Lutheran Church] expanded in 2007 and we lost the Project Grow garden there. But I like to think that while the city lost a gardener, it gained an activist."
After attending the first Local Food Summit in 2009, McCabe and his wife, Lisa Gottlieb, were inspired to start a weekly breakfast open to the public in their west side home featuring local food prepared by local chefs. McCabe describes the Selma Cafe as "a center, a gathering place, and a party with good food and fun. But it was also a place to make things happen. I introduced people who should know each other. And [with its $12-$15 suggested donation, Selma] had an easy cash flow into local food economy."