Modern Farmer Magazine

Modern Farmer


My mom works for a company that does fulfillment for a ton of magazine publishers and Modern Farmer was recently added as a client.   One of her coworkers thought that I would be interested in it so they took out a subscription for me, which was nice.   I just received the inaugural issue and looked it over.

When I was told about the magazine, I looked at the webpage and figured it would be interesting enough and I expected something like Grit Magazine (a sister publication of Mother Earth News that’s a little more geared towards farming and I subscribe to both).   I’ve seen a few magazines on the newsstand that seemed like they were modeled after Mother Earth News or whatever and figured this would more or less be one of them.

My first impression was a little off.   The other magazines are more “how-to” and Modern Farmer is more “about”, if that makes sense.  I’d also say that it’s geared towards urbanites, “foodies” and/or people who are more “supporters” than “do-ers” of sustainable agriculture.  It seems like it’s more for people who daydream about an agrarian life on an organic farm, rather than the people who actually do it.

This description sounds kind of condescending and negative, but it’s really not.    I love Mother Earth News, Grit and Backwoods Home Magazine, but a lot of what they write about isn’t geared towards those of us that live in cities.   Modern Farmer seems to cater to the type of person that wants to support true sustainable agriculture and possibly dabbles in things like gardening, backyard chickens, etc and I think there’s a lot of potential for them within this niche.    More and more urban people are looking at local/sustainable food systems, taking up traditional basic skills and so on.

As far as the content goes, there were some impressive articles in this first issue.   I’ll rattle off a few:   One about organic farming in China, the issue of wild boars, mango farming in Malawi, building a seed bank (even talking about post-SHTF bartering with comments from James Wesley Rawles), humane slaughterhouses, an interview with Brazil’s agriculture minister (I might write about Brazil’s position in the world later),  rice growing in India, a write-up about different breeds of chickens and something about growing a certain herbs and vegetables for use in cocktails.     So it has a very broad and global view on sustainable agriculture.    The closest thing I can compare the content to would be Indiana Public Radio’s “Earth Eats” program.

One really strong point of the magazine is the photography.   It’s great.  I’ve never seen photography this impressive in a magazine that wasn’t a well-established one with a huge budget.   Lots of cool photos from all around the world.  As far as the layout goes, it’s very sleek and stylish – definitely geared towards a sophisticated reader.   It kind of looks like Mother Earth News meets GQ.

The downsides:  The name might be a little misleading and I could see someone more in the Mother Earth News/Backwoods Home target demographic scoffing at this for being a little too polished or to call in a phrase from the subculture world, being for “posers”.    The how-to articles seemed phoned in.   I think as long as you understand what you’re getting with Modern Farmer, you won’t regret it.

I already have a year subscription, but if I didn’t I’d go ahead and subscribe for the year.   It comes out quarterly and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of this.

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