Hurvitt, C. (2022). Parting With Our Everything: Stories of Farm Succession on the Maine Coast. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2510
My thesis tells the stories of four farms on the peninsula of Blue Hill, Maine who have undergone or are currently undergoing the process of succession. The average age of Maine farmers is 57. In the coming years the transfer of farms to a new generation will have to occur more to ensure the survival of small, sustainable agriculture in the state. Informed by these stories, I suggest that farm succession is an exchange that, while taking place within our capitalist society, possesses many traits that are non or not entirely capitalist. The sharing, gifting, reciprocity, and care involved in farm succession serve as a fruitful point of departure to imagine different ways of occupying land that are less exploitative than conventional agriculture and more resilient in the face of climate change and economic injustice. Simultaneously, relationships of reciprocity between the older generation and the younger sometimes shatter, and the relationship between White farmers and the land is inherently exploitative when it erases the presence of Black and Indigenous stewards. This work operates under the logic that while nothing is pure, there is something of value to be gleaned from the fierce desire of Maine's older farmers to pass down their farms, and the belief amongst a new generation that small, sustainable farming provides a way of life that continues to be meaningful in today's world.