Lindsey Lusher Shute is CEO and founder of the Farm Generations Cooperative and co-owner of Hearty Roots Community Farm in Clermont, New York.
Lindsey co-founded the National Young Farmers Coalition and led the organization as Executive Director for a decade. Lindsey grew the organization from a few volunteer farmers to a nationwide network with 40 chapters in 28 states and a grassroots base of over 150,000. Lindsey authored nine policy reports for the coalition, including Building a Future with Farmers: Challenges faced by Young, American Farmers and a Strategy to Help Them Succeed. This report established NYFC’s policy platform and was the first to survey the nation’s young and aspiring farmers. Lindsey also launched and hosted the Young Farmers Podcast for its first season.
Under Lindsey's tenure the organization launched state and national campaigns on affordable farmland; a federal campaign to recognize that "Farming is Public Service" and to add farmers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program; and led multiyear campaigns on two farm bills that increased funding for beginning farmers, farmers of color, land conservation, and sustainable agriculture. The organization also called out pervasive inequities in the food and agriculture, and backed this with anti oppression trainings for staff and farmer leaders across the country.
Lindsey worked closely with USDA, encouraging the agency initially to start a microlending program that has now served tens of thousands of farmers nationwide. Lindsey and her team routinely briefed the agency on the needs of young farmers and collaborated on opportunities to improve how the agency served farmers across the country.
In 2018, Lindsey campaigned with the coalition's five New York chapters, members of the New York State Assembly and Senate to pass the "Working Farms Protection Act". This law, the first of its kind in the country, requires the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to fund conservation easements that keep farmland affordable. This is one of many bills that state chapters of the National Young Farmers Coalition have passed to support future generations of growers through structural change.
National Young Farmers Coalition also distinguished itself in providing services and education for farmers nationwide. Projects Lindsey worked on included a guidebook to help growers understand how USDA lends farmers money; an online calculator for farmers buying land; a guidebook for growers who want to work with land conservancies; and a guidebook on becoming a certified organic farmer.
Listen to Lindsey talk about her work at the National Young Farmers Coalition on the Young Farmers Podcast episode "Looking Back on a Decade at Young Farmers" She is currently serving the organization as a special advisor and member of the board of directors.
Lindsey was recognized as a “Champion of Change” by President Barack Obama and is the recipient of the Glynwood’s “Harvest Award.” EatingWell magazine named Lindsey and “American Food Hero” and she was included among “20 Food Leaders Under 40” by Food Tank. Lindsey has given talks and keynotes on a broad range of topics over the years, including a "distinguished alumni" keynote at Bard College in 2017.
Lindsey holds a M.S. in Environmental Policy from Bard College and a BFA from New York University.
Lindsey is married to Benjamin Shute, the real farmer at Hearty Roots Community Farm, and is mom to Eleanor and Piper who attend school in Red Hook. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio and has lived in New York's Hudson Valley since 2004.