The future starts now
The future of farming will look very different than it does today, just like the farming of today looks drastically different than it did 20, 30 years ago. However, the basic structure of the image of what future farming will be is being sketched and worked through right now. And it’s a good thing too because, let’s face it, Salt Lake City and its surrounding areas aren’t gaining land, we are only losing it to the steady march of development—millennial farmers and farmers of the older traditions have no choice but to adapt.
Jack Wilbur has been a farmer for 20 years; and is keen enough to keep an eye on the trends so he can properly acclimate to the changes coming, whether the changes are wanted or not.
Our need for local food reliance and sustainability is only going to grow as more traditional farms get developed.
Perfectly good farming land is disappearing rapidly. Spaces needed for traditional farming are going to big corporate developments, so what’s to be done? Adapt.
Wilbur, sort of forecasting, has embraced the future of farming, urban-style. “We’re a little different,” he said, talking about his farms, “we’re kind of a hybrid of some of these small urban farms and some of the little bit larger ones.”
What he means by “smaller farms,” are farms in, well, places like backyards, front yards, and other small spaces in and around the city.
“We have a few acres of tree fruit that we grow in Davis county, we lease a couple of fields in salt lake county, and we farm in four yards right in the city— one of which is a front yard.”
Perhaps this will one day become a new kind of business model—yards for rent to farm. Who knows?
The idea of backyard urban farming has grown quite a bit, it’s catching on. “If someone knows what they are doing they can really grow a lot of food in a small space, and that’s kind of been the trend the last 10 15 years,” Wilbur said.
We sat down with farmer Jack Wilbur and talked about the future of farming.
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