Several young farmers say they are the wave of the future by going back to the very basics of farming—before pesticides and herbicides.
Tom Miller begins to irrigate his Kyle farm by pumping recently collected rain from a barrel at his house out to where he needs it. The collected rainwater is the only water Miller uses on his four-acre farm, first planted more than 20 years ago.
"My philosophy was really being staged back then where I wanted to farm this as a low-income farmer," Miller said.
Miller now provides produce to about 240 families within a few miles of his house.
His methods were the topics of conversations at this mixer in Central Austin Saturday evening.
Every plant has a purpose; every piece of his rain collection system is recycled.
Organic gardening drew in Lorig Hawkins about three years ago.
"Whatever you do now is not necessarily going to affect you, but it is going to affect those seven generations behind you," Hawkins said.
"You see very few new, young couples going into chemical vegetable growing. That's going to be unheard of in less than 20 years," Miller said.
Which is why Miller says you will see a lot more community gardens and backyard plots sprout. He says the push for sustainability and a return to the basics of gardening without pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals are all factors.
"You have this community gardening movement that has been going on strongly now for 15 to 20 years in Central Texas. School gardens are all enthused about teaching gardening," Miller said.
Saturday was the first ever mixer for the Texas Young Farmers Coalition. However, they do help each other out often with so-called “crop mobs,” an event where a group of members volunteer at a local farm.