January 9, 2015

Our Predictions for 2015's Top Food and Farming Trends - Photo by iStock/Thinkstock (HobbyFarms.com)

An exciting year lies ahead on the farming front. Long gone are the days when growing food was reserved for folks living in the country, managing acreages that reached in the triple digits. Nowadays, it seems that every person who meanders through a farmers’ market has an opinion on how you—our nation’s farmers—do your jobs. With ongoing buzz about backyard chickens, GMO labeling, saving the bees and sustainable land use, the food and farming world is certainly evolving into a new kind of beast.

To kick off 2015, we asked our farming experts their predictions on the biggest agricultural trends lying ahead of us this year. Here’s what they had to say:

Melissa Griffiths

Melissa Griffiths
Farmer and Blogger at Bless This Mess

“Gourmet popcorn! I’ve been growing organic heirloom popcorn that my late grandfather cultivated over 50 years ago. People can’t get enough of it, and it makes the best gifts. I’m pretty sure good popcorn is where it’s at this year. People can’t believe how many different varieties there are.”

Grace Hensley

Grace Hensley
Horticultural Entrepreneur and Blogger at eTilth

“Now that the economy is improving, we will move beyond the ‘Grow Your Own’ and ‘Local/Slow Food’ movements to nourish our soul with Slow Flowers. Cutting gardens, especially those in the front yard, will sprout up and brighten our neighborhoods.We will celebrate American Grown Flowers with delicate and fragrant blooms.”

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist

John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirst
Owners of Inn Serendipity Farm and Bed-and-Breakfast; Co-Authors of Homemade for Sale 

“2015 will be all about a return to home-based food businesses, as more fledgling food entrepreneurs launch directly from their home kitchens thanks to expanding cottage food laws across the country. Finally, ‘homemade’ and ‘fresh from the oven’ on the package will mean exactly what it says.”

Cherie Langlois

Cherie Langlois
Farmer and Freelance Writer/Photographer

“I think—and hope!—we’ll continue to see increasing consumer demand for organic and/or locally grown food lead to the proliferation and prominent display of these products on mainstream supermarket shelves, as well as grow more organic/local farms and farmers to meet this demand. I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t have to hunt through the store with a GPS and magnifying glass to find organic and local offerings!”

Kathy Shea Mormino

Kathy Shea Mormino
Blogger at The Chicken Chick

“There will be a chicken on every plot of land! With the ability to supply families with a fresh, homegrown source of nutritious food with very little space required, backyard chickens are the new family dog—but don’t call them a fad. While fresh eggs may be the draw, their quirky personalities quickly endear them to their urban, suburban and rural-dwelling humans by providing endless entertainment, companionship and stress relief that rivals the most zen yoga class.”

Lisa Munniksma

Lisa Munniksma
Freelance Writer and Farmer

“2015 will be a year of continued polarization throughout the food and farm community. As more people become educated about, passionate about and empowered by their particular stance on food and farm issues, the farther apart different sides of each issue will become. Just a few hot-button issues I think we’ll hear a lot about are energy production—in the forms of fracking and alternative sources, in particular; genetically modified food labeling; animal-welfare initiatives; and pollinator protection, especially in the form of neonicotinoid pesticide regulations. While all aspects of the agricultural community should be coming together to provide truthful, unbiased education to the public about food production and its effects on the world, I think the divide between those identifying as conventional farmers and those identifying as sustainable farmers will get larger before it gets smaller.”

Audrey Pavia

Audrey Pavia
Author of Horses for Dummies
“This year will see an even greater awareness in humane farming. As more people learn about the practices of big agribusiness, they will demand more humane treatment of farm animals.”

 

James and Eileen Ray

James and Eileen Ray
Owners of Little Seed Farm 

“It’s the year of the goat, and goats are currently all the rage, so I’d say raising goats for fun, for meat and for dairy will be the biggest farm trend of 2015.”

 

Lisa Steele

Lisa Steele
Author and Founder of Fresh Eggs Daily

“I predict that in 2015 backyard ducks will be the new ‘it’ hobby-farm animal, as people realize they are hardier than chickens and out-produce them, laying larger, more delicious eggs year-round.”

Erica Strauss

Erica Strauss
Head Weeder at Northwest Edible Life

“With more widespread acceptance of high-saturated fat foods, people will be looking for local and sustainable options for beef, pork, poultry, butter and other animal products. The local and slow food movements’ natural next stop is in heirloom breed meats, and we’ll see more restaurants advertising heritage meats that are higher-fat and higher-flavor.”

Kristina Mercedes Urquhart

Kristina Mercedes Urquhart
Freelance Writer, Author and Founder of The Humble Honey Bee Facebook Page

“It is my hope that 2015 will be the year the U.S. bans neonicotinoids, the deadly class of pesticides that pose a threat to wildlife and has put our pollinators in peril. I see a trend moving towards more small-scale organic farming and individuals choosing to eat locally grown, pesticide-free food; as a result, the demand for crops grown without the use of these deadly pesticides will continue to grow.”

Cory Hershberger

Cory Hershberger
Associate Editor of Hobby Farms Magazine

“I think a major 2015 food trend will (hopefully) be embracing less-than-perfect produce. Supermarkets in France are already on board, and with continued nationwide emphasis on avoiding food waste and root-to-tip cooking, 2015 might just be the year American consumers stop judging the apple by its skin, to mangle a metaphor.”

Rachael Bruger

Rachael Brugger
Managing Web Editor, HobbyFarms.com

“This year everyone’s going to be talking about their soil and all the microbes that live (or at least should live) inside it. Farmers will give more attention to how they cultivate and amend their land, embracing soil practices that encourage the production of nutritionally healthier and more flavorful fruits and vegetables, as well as native plants that can be foraged for food. I predict that it won’t be long before biodynamic agriculture and other systems of chemical-free farming will soon eclipse even organic methods.”

 

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