Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Alex Bryan
Director of Agriculture, Greater Lansing Food Bank and Food Field

Category
Location
Lansing, Michigan
Farm Credit Affiliation
GreenStone Farm Credit Services
Alex's Perspective

Alex Bryan is the Director of Agriculture at the Greater Lansing Food Bank and manages the Garden Project community garden and the Lansing Roots farm business incubator, of which he was co-founder. Lansing Roots works to address the aging U.S. farmer population and to approach root causes of hunger from an economic perspective. The group assists lower income families in starting farms by providing infrastructure, reduced-cost land, education support and a cooperative marketing outlet that includes a unique workplace delivery component at his local GreenStone Farm Credit Services branch.

“I’m working to create a future where more of our population is linked to agriculture and all of our community can access the fresh food that farmers grow,” says Alex.

Alex serves on the board of Michigan Food and Farming Systems that focuses on increasing farmers’ ability to earn a living, particularly historically underserved and beginning farmers, with a focus on financial literacy, food safety, partnerships with USDA and connecting farmers to buyers through multiple statewide events.

He is also the board President for National Young Farmers Coalition, an organization focused on helping younger farmers enter and succeed in agriculture. Through 29 regional chapters, the coalition has worked toward federal and state policy changes including micro-credit lending with FSA and the Young Farmer Success Act of 2015. It also provides practical business services for first-career farmers.

“I hope to continue to change policies that prevent good and diversified agriculture,” Alex says. “With nearly two-thirds of U.S. farmland changing management in the next 20 years, I want to make sure there is a viable career path for new farmers, and for there to be a world where children are inspired to farm.”

Also actively involved in farming himself, Alex is co-owner of Food Field, a diversified 4-acre, solar-powered farm in Detroit. Now in its fifth year, Food Field is proving the viability of urban agriculture with two acres of vegetable crops sold through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation, a 1.5-acre orchard, and fish and chicken operation.

“I think the future is full of challenges for agriculture. Farmland prices are going up, rural communities continue to shrink, and food safety continues to challenge and change farming practices,” says Alex. “I think if we, as farmers, let go of the divisions in agriculture and find common ground, together we can achieve a better future where farming is a viable occupation and our food is consumed in our community by all of our community.”

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