In conjunction with Cameron University‘s current academic festival “American Identities in the 21st Century”, Cameron University is pleased to present “Farmland and the American Dream: Who Will Farm America and Why It Matters,” a presentation focusing on the dream of land ownership. Cameron alumna Chelsey Simpson, drawing on her experience with the National Young Farmers Coalition and the National Farm to School Network, will explore the topic. The presentation will take place on Thursday, April 12, at 5 p.m. in Room 127 of the Academic Commons. The presentation is open to the public at no charge.
America’s farmland is being developed, consolidated and left fallow at an alarming rate. More food is being produced by fewer people, resulting in a hollowing out of rural communities and a crisis of identity for individuals and, perhaps, America as a whole. As farmland is consolidated and technology allows more land to be worked by fewer people, the result is shrinking small towns and rural communities. As small farms and small towns disappear, will an essential element of American identity dissolve as well, or were those values merely myths to being with? The question of who should own land in America has never been straightforward.
Simpson’s career has focused on the intersection of food systems and storytelling. She has managed communications for two national nonprofit advocacy organizations, the National Young Farmers Coalition and the National Farm to School Network, and her writing has appeared in New Food Economy, Yes! Magazine, The Huffington Post, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn. She is the former executive editor of Oklahoma Living magazine and a past president of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. She is the co-owner of Urban Agrarian, a small grocery and food hub in Oklahoma City that serves as an economic driver in Oklahoma’s food and agriculture economy by sourcing from local farms and expanding the marketplace for local products. Simpson received Cameron University’s PLUS scholarship and graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is a fifth-generation Oklahoman whose family originally obtained their land as part of a settlement lottery.
April 10, 2018