Urban Farms Taking Root Among Millennials

Linh Ta reported on the front page of Saturday’s Des Moines Register that, “Jenny Quiner’s last day as a high school science teacher was Friday. Next week, she launches her new career as a full-time urban farmer.

Quiner, 31, is one of a growing number of urban millennials establishing roots in Iowa’s most prominent profession.”

The Register article noted that, “Iowa’s population has been shifting from rural to urban for more than 100 years. In 1900, only 25 percent of Iowans lived in an urban area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Today, 64 percent of residents live in a city.

“With more people being born and raised in urban areas, fewer Iowans have a direct connection with the state’s farming community.

“‘A number of individuals that are getting involved with these opportunities might be trying to reconnect’ with a family history in agriculture, [Craig McEnneny, chairman of Des Moines Area Community College’s agribusiness program] said. For others, the pursuit of farm life is a health choice.”

Saturday’s article added that, “Tyler Magnuson, 27, grew his urban farm into a full-fledged commercial operation in just a few years.

“He helped launch Big Muddy Urban Farm in 2010 with some friends on four or five plots in central Omaha. After growing a base of customers for his vegetables at farmers markets, Magnuson moved to rural Hancock, Iowa, just south of Interstate Highway 80 in western Iowa. He leases a 9-acre farm called Botna Burrow, where he grows vegetables and herbs that he sells in Council Bluffs and Omaha.

“‘For us, that (urban farm) was the steppingstone,’ Magnuson said. ‘It’s a good place to start, low risk, and you can kind of feel out where you want to be and how much you want to be involved.'”

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