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Over the last 10 years, in my area, there has been an increasing number of young, college educated urbanites that are purposefully seeking to ‘return to the land’. I helped start a program in our county (now covers 2 others) that provides housing and wage while they work and learn various aspects of agricultural and rural living. Once they have completed the course of study and internship we attempt t match them with available opportunities to work on/with or start their own ag or rural skill-based business. Of course the high unemployment in their age group, despite their college degrees, during the last 7 years have made programs like this attractive to more than you might suspect. New England has some very well know programs like this.

The ‘long recession’ coupled with high unemployment for the younger folk – and easy govt tuition/loans unfortunately has many kids going off to college in the last 7/8 years that had no interest in, nor clear desire to really go to school. I think they and their parents just didn’t want them living in their basement. Three (count ‘em!), three people I know that have been professors have quit in the last 2or 3 years because of the swollen class sizes and the poor quality and low motivation of a majority of the students.

I too put myself through school. Not because my family was poor but because my father thought women should go to ‘finishing school’ like his sisters and get married to the wealthiest guy they could find. Certainly not walk a couple of miles to someone’s farm twice a day to muck stalls, feed slop to animals and ride horses before and after school – and not get paid for it. (No one I knew growing up worked for any government/government agency(local/state/federal) I had no interest in being a ‘debutante’ and joining the DAR. It was 69/70’s – the first class in the high school to wear jeans to school. (Previously women wore only skirts or dresses) I originally wanted to become a vet. Graduated h/s at 16. I was so bored by grade/high school I pushed and pushed whenever I could to take advanced classes and always took as many summer classes as I could to get the heck out of there and away from my parents. 16-18 yrs old – AA in Interior Design and completed 1 yr of basic science credits at Carneige Mellon at night during that time then on to BA in International Finance/BS in Organic Chemistry, an attempt at pre-med while waiting for my wait listed opening at Cornell vet – too impatient got my MBA. Somehow ended up managing cargo ships and private venture capital funds for years. Now a small business person and small farmer. Do my friends think I am crazy? Oh yes.

College was my ticket out of a w.a.s.p. expected nightmare life of country club tennis, junior league, bake sales, a Ford Esquire station wagon loaded with a bunch of kids. I wanted to go to college. Was desperate to go and worked my a** off to do it. Was worth every penny even if I shovel sh** now every morning :) and inch to a breath away from 60 on Monday!