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Spotlight

RTX714NQ
Young women and non-binary farmers grow diversity in Long Island
Sporting a backwards gray cap, studded earrings and a thin, head-to-toe layer of dirt, Layton Guenther took a break from the day's fieldwork to talk about their path from an upper-middle-class suburb to a Long Island, New York, farm.

"Farming - for where I grew up - was a very unusual career choice," said Guenther, 32, who grew up in a New York City suburb and identifies as gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. But "everybody belongs on the land in their own way. None of us should feel alienated from it."

Guenther grows potatoes, squash, wheat and other crops at Quail Hill, the Amagansett, New York, farm they manage on land donated to the Peconic Land Trust, and is part of a growing cadre of gender-diverse college graduates in their 20s and 30s who are changing the face of organic farming.

In the same town, Amanda Merrow co-runs Amber Waves farm with Katie Baldwin, whom she met during an apprenticeship program. Merrow said she had, quite simply, enrolled in the apprenticeship "with the intention of doing something else after," but she fell in love with farming and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Women and non-binary people are running some of the best-known organic farms on Long Island, in what is a growing, $50 billion industry nationwide. Women make up a slightly larger share of organic farmers than conventional farmers, 37% to 36%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a share that is likely to continue to grow, experts say.

There is no national data on the share of transgender farmers in the United States, but HB Lozito, executive director of Vermont-based Out in the Open, an organization that connects rural LGBTQ people, says it is growing.
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712Q6
July 26, 2019
REFILE - CORRECTING ID Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett
REFILE - CORRECTING ID Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QP
July 26, 2019
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm harvests potatoes on her family farm in Sagaponack, on New York's Long...
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm harvests potatoes on her family farm in Sagaponack
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm harvests potatoes on her family farm in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QE
July 26, 2019
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S. July 11, 2019. Picture...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S. July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712R2
July 26, 2019
Garlic dries in a greenhouse at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 20, 2019. Picture...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Garlic dries in a greenhouse at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett
Garlic dries in a greenhouse at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 20, 2019. Picture taken July 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712R5
July 26, 2019
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QN
July 26, 2019
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm works in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 2, 2019. Picture...
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm works in Sagaponack
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm works in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 2, 2019. Picture taken July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QM
July 26, 2019
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett
Farmers weed and transplant crops at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QW
July 26, 2019
Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain works in Amagansett, New York, U.S. July 2, 2019. Picture taken July...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain works in Amagansett
Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain works in Amagansett, New York, U.S. July 2, 2019. Picture taken July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712Q8
July 26, 2019
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, checks the sky for coming rain in Amagansett, New York,...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, checks the sky for coming rain in Amagansett
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, checks the sky for coming rain in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 19, 2019. Picture taken July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QD
July 26, 2019
Chickens are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 2, 2019. Picture taken July...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Chickens are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett
Chickens are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 2, 2019. Picture taken July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QK
July 26, 2019
Marilee Foster's brother and farming partner, Dean, takes an evening flight over Foster Farm to check...
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Marilee Foster's brother and farming partner, Dean, takes an evening flight over Foster Farm to check...
Marilee Foster's brother and farming partner, Dean, takes an evening flight over Foster Farm to check on crops and the deer population in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 14, 2019. Picture taken July 14, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QQ
July 26, 2019
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, moves irrigation pipe in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, moves irrigation pipe in Amagansett
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, moves irrigation pipe in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 20, 2019. Picture taken July 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QA
July 26, 2019
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, plows the fields in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 19,...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, plows the fields in Amagansett
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, plows the fields in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 19, 2019. Picture taken July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712RT
July 26, 2019
REFILE - CORRECTING ID Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett
REFILE - CORRECTING ID Farmer Isabel Milligan drives a tractor as she weeds and transplants crops on the farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QC
July 26, 2019
A sign is seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
A sign is seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett
A sign is seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QL
July 26, 2019
Potatoes harvested by Marilee Foster of Foster Farm are seen in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island,...
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Potatoes harvested by Marilee Foster of Foster Farm are seen in Sagaponack
Potatoes harvested by Marilee Foster of Foster Farm are seen in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 11, 2019. Picture taken July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712R6
July 26, 2019
Farming equipment is seen on Foster Farm in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 8, 2019....
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Farming equipment is seen on Foster Farm in Sagaponack
Farming equipment is seen on Foster Farm in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 8, 2019. Picture taken July 8, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QO
July 26, 2019
Vegetables are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 4, 2019. Picture taken...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Vegetables are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett
Vegetables are seen at the Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 4, 2019. Picture taken July 4, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QG
July 26, 2019
The chalk board at Quail Hill Farm, revised weekly to guide CSA members as to where to harvest, is seen...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
The chalk board at Quail Hill Farm
The chalk board at Quail Hill Farm, revised weekly to guide CSA members as to where to harvest, is seen in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 19, 2019. Picture taken July 19, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QR
July 26, 2019
Produce, including blueberries and rhubarb, are seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S.,...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Produce, including blueberries and rhubarb, are seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett
Produce, including blueberries and rhubarb, are seen at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 2, 2019. Picture taken July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712Q9
July 26, 2019
Layton Guenther (R), director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Layton Guenther gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett
Layton Guenther (R), director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 20, 2019. Picture taken July 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QZ
July 26, 2019
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack,...
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack...
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 14, 2019. Picture taken July 14, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QY
July 26, 2019
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Layton Guenther gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, gathers with other farmers for a potluck dinner and music in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 20, 2019. Picture taken July 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QB
July 26, 2019
Quail Hill farmers Layton Guenther (L) and Alicia Mountain eat breakfast at home before the day's farm...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Quail Hill farmers Layton Guenther and Alicia Mountain eat breakfast at home before the day's farm work...
Quail Hill farmers Layton Guenther (L) and Alicia Mountain eat breakfast at home before the day's farm work in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 9, 2019. Picture taken July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QF
July 26, 2019
Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain stretches before the day's farm work in Amagansett, New York, U.S.,...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain stretches before the day's farm work in Amagansett
Quail Hill farmer Alicia Mountain stretches before the day's farm work in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 9, 2019. Picture taken July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QX
July 26, 2019
Quail Hill farmer Layton Guenther prepares before the day's farm work in Amagansett, New York, U.S.,...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Quail Hill farmer Layton Guenther (L) prepares before the day's farm work in Amagansett
Quail Hill farmer Layton Guenther prepares before the day's farm work in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 9, 2019. Picture taken July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QV
July 26, 2019
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, jump starts a pick-up truck in Amagansett, New York, U.S.,...
Amagansett, UNITED STATES
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, jump starts a pick-up truck in Amagansett
Layton Guenther, director of Quail Hill Farm, jump starts a pick-up truck in Amagansett, New York, U.S., July 20, 2019. Picture taken July 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
USA-FARMERS/NEW YORK
RTX712QS
July 26, 2019
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack,...
SAGAPONACK, UNITED STATES
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack...
Marilee Foster of Foster Farm relaxes at the end of a long day of farming on her family farm in Sagaponack, on New York's Long Island, U.S., July 14, 2019. Picture taken July 14, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsay Morris
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