PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Margaret Schlass of Marshall is one of six young farmers, and the only woman, profiled in a new documentary called “Farmland.”
The 29-year-old graduate of Bethel Park High School and Delaware University leases farmland in Valencia and two other locations. She’s an American rarity – a first generation farmer.
“It’s definitely difficult when you don’t have the infrastructure of grandpa and great grandpa, and the equipment they bought, and the buildings they put up,” she admits. “So you have to get creative.”
She handles the tractor like a veteran, even though she took up farming just six years ago. Year after year we hear of fourth or fifth generation farm kids leaving the land to pursue 9 to 5 jobs.
Margaret is one of the very few to go in the other direction. Her mother is a lawyer.
“When I was growing up,” she says, “I used to watch my mom work seven days a week, put in ridiculous hours, and I used to say I’m never going to be a lawyer, because I’m not going to work that hard. And then, I just came full circle. I’m on three different farms. So we do, like, 18 acres of vegetables a year.”
Her “one woman farm” delivers fresh produce to various locations for pickup.
“It keeps our food dollars in the local community, creating a stronger local economy,” she says. “Keeps farms in our landscape, and doesn’t turn them into houses. And farms can exist.”
Hard work? Yes. But she says it’s rewarding.
“I love life every day,” she says.
This summer, Schlass’ “One Woman Farm” will sell organic produce in Market Square and East Liberty.
You can learn more about Schlass’ farm at onewomanfarm.com.