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Farming: The new go-to career choice for New England's young, as interest grows in local food

In this Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 photo, farmer Katie Miller, 32, of Providence, R.I., holds freshly harvested zephyr squash at Scratch Farm in Cranston, R.I. Farmers and industry experts say the popularity of the

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In this Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 photo, farmer Katie Miller, 32, of Providence, R.I., holds freshly harvested zephyr squash at Scratch Farm in Cranston, R.I. Farmers and industry experts say the popularity of the "buy local" food movement here has helped create a market for new, small farms and young people are increasingly interested in the origins of their food and in farming. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

CRANSTON, R.I. - Farming is hip in New England.

Across the region, young people are choosing crops over cubicles, new farms are popping up and the local food movement is spreading.

Farmers and industry experts agree New England is bucking a trend toward larger, but fewer, farms because many of its residents want to buy their food locally and its entrepreneurs want to produce it. The region's small size makes it easy for farmers and consumers to connect at farm markets and stands.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent census found 95,000 fewer farms nationally in 2012 than in 2007. New England saw a 5 per cent increase to nearly 35,000 farms, many less than 50 acres.

The number of beginning farmers also climbed in New England.

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