Sustainable agriculture leaders urge consumers to choose organic today through a “Who’s Your Farmer?” tour, says executive editor Marina Mayer.




On Sept. 26, several organic farmers departed Organic Valley's headquarters in La Farge, Wis., to embark on the Generation Organic 2011 “Who’s Your Farmer?” tour, a three-week journey focused on arming consumers with the knowledge to make smart personal food choices. These young farmers are traveling in a bus fueled by sustainably produced biofuels and will stop at select farmers markets, grocery stores, food co-ops and select college campuses, including Montana State University, Portland Farmers Market, The Evergreen State College, University of Portland, Oregon Culinary Institute, Oregon State University, University of California-Chico, University of California-Davis and the 2011 Bioneers Conference, and will wrap up Oct. 17 at Stanford University.

Organic Valley’s Generation Organic is made up of a group of farmers aged 18-35, representing a new generation, dubbed “Gen-O,” of sustainable agriculture leaders who believe in the power of organic to change the world and the future.

Along the way, they will urge shoppers to own their food and arm them with knowledge about how personal food choices affect the health of our bodies and our planet-and drive their future.

This year’s crew includes young organic farmers hailing from the West Coast, from towns such as Coos Bay and Scio, Ore., and Modesto, Calif. Other “Gen-O” farmers are from Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin. While many of these young farmers were born into organic farming - weeding gardens and tending calves as part of their daily chores - today, they are helping run their family’s organic farms by choice, from creating intensive rotational grazing systems to applying best practices of sustainability to overseeing virtually all aspects of production.

“Generation Organic gives these young organic farmers an opportunity to share with other youth their vision for a better world,” says George Siemon, C-E-I-E-I-O and a founding farmer of Organic Valley. “These young people are the future of sustainable agriculture - their hard work and enthusiasm is inspirational to us all.”

Organic Valley currently has 51 farmer-owners and six processing plants in the Pacific Northwest, and was Dairy Foods magazine’s 2010 Processor of the Year.

For a full schedule of events and to follow the tour, please visit us at http://ov.coop/GenOtour, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GenerationOrganic or on Twitter @GenOrganic.