Mitchell Zuckoff is a professor at Boston University and the author of Lost in Shangri-La.
I taught my last class of the semester the other day. Inevitably, my students — all of them journalism majors and most of them seniors — hijacked the lesson plan to vent their hopes and fears about what awaits them after graduation.
This happens every December, and each year I do my best to calm and encourage them, to let them know it's OK to be worried but it's not OK to despair. I give them what I've come to consider my pre-commencement address.
Maryland farmer Josie Johnson listens to a lecture on extending the farming season using caterpillar tunnels. The lesson was part of a conference for young farmers held in Tarrytown N.Y., in early December.
Credit All photos by Maggie Starbard / NPR
Maryland farmer Josie Johnson learns about extending the farming season by growing crops under caterpillar tunnels. The lecture was part of a conference for young farmers held in Tarrytown N.Y., in early December.
Credit Maggie Starbard / NPR
Steven "Shepsi" Eaton and Liz Moran are expecting a baby and say they hope to start their own farm soon. "[Farming] isn't to make a living," Moran says. "It's to create a certain lifestyle for myself and for the people around me".
For decades, as young people have been leaving farms behind, the average age of the American farmer has been rising. The last time the government counted farmers, in 2002, the average farmer was 55-years-old.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shakes hands with President Obama in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. The two leaders met as the U.S. prepares to withdraw the last of its combat troops from Iraq.
President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House on Monday and pledged to maintain strong ties after the U.S. withdraws the last of its troops, but nagging concerns remain about Iraq's security and neighboring Iran.