By Michael Parker
Photos: Courtesy of Ben Dobson
If you’re curious what the forefront of American agriculture will look like in a decade or two, check out whatever Ben Dobson is doing right now. He’s only been foreshadowing farming trends his whole life.
“I was born in the living room of an organic farm,” a homestead where his mother still works the land with a team of horses. At 16 years old, around the turn of the millennium, Dobson started his own first farm, a 40-member vegetable CSA. Later, at 19, Dobson launched an organic coffee business in Haiti, where he met his wife, Nalise. In his twenties, in Maine, Dobson ran the largest organic vegetable farm in the state, alongside a packaged-salad operation that competed directly with California salad giants—a risky proposition, to put it gently, in the earlier years of the local-food movement.
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