Heidi Legg Interviews Urban Farmer and Brandeis Student Jay Feinstein #62

Real food and farming have become an integral part of the millennial voice as a collective. I heard ones sales pitch that Modern Farmer magazine is the new Wired. Cool. GenX peers have been pushing this movement from craft food, to beer, to organic produce, to a return to farmer’s markets when it seemed very alternative (remember the first Whole Foods natural grocers?) and the movement grows stronger every day. Jay Feinstein is not surprised as he points out that we were the first generations to grow up in suburbs with very green lawns. Farming? Barely. And at least a few of us, at any age, likely have a friend who has given up urbanity to live off the land. I might add that many holiday cards last year boasted chicken coops and homemade everything.

So why? The answers are endless and feel free to weigh in with a comment at the end of the interview. One thing we are seeing, from our vantage point at TheEditorial.com, is that visionaries in food are hot topics and continue to be suggested to us as visionary and necessary and their is definitely a social justice component to it brought in by the millennials. (See our other young visionary interview with Josh Trautwein with Fresh Trucks here.)

Feinstein, from Newton, is a Junior at Brandeis University and an Environmental Studies and Economics Major who received along with his peers a $30,000 grant from the school’s sustainable projects fund. Together with his classmates they have created a 1,500 square foot milk-crate rooftop garden and will harvest over 3,500 pounds of produce from this, the first rooftop garden on a campus in the country. They call themselves the Brandeis Farmers Club and with seven student board members, they say they have only just begun.

Why did you initiate a rooftop garden at Brandeis?

Fall semester last year, I took a class called “Greening the Ivory Tower” with Professor Laura Goldin all about sustainability and the different ways that you can be sustainable on a college campus in your community. One of our subjects was sustainable agriculture, and after reading Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a group of us were inspired to ask ‘how can we make change on campus?’

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http://www.theeditorial.com/essay/2015/8/17/jay-feinstein

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