Modern Farmer and the Hipster Goat

[responsive]leadsheep[/responsive]Food is hip, especially organic, home-grown down-on-the-farm food. That vibe is apparent in Modern Farmer, a farm magazine with some serious (and hilarious) attitude.

“What self-respecting farm magazine would come up with headlines like ‘Inside the Mind of a Turkey,’ or ‘Farmer Claims Someone Drove a Combine Into His Field and Stole $18,000 Worth of Soybeans,’” asks Dan Charles and Allison Aubrey on NPR’s The Salt blog.

“We’d laugh, then wonder whether Modern Farmer was a kind agricultural version of The Onion. But it has serious reporting, too. And the photos exude Manhattan style, even the portraits of pigs.”

They couldn’t quite get a handle on it, so they talked to CEO and editor-in-chief Ann Marie Gardner from her office in Hudson, New York.

“It turns out that our sense of Modern Farmer is exactly how Gardner conceived of this magazine,” they write. “It’s a cultural mashup, a melding of agrarianism and urban sophistication that’s emerged from the millennial zeitgeist.”

Gardner notes that the hipsters in Brooklyn are all dressing like farmers now, so the connection is real. And the 16,000 print subscribers and 60,000 followers on Facebook are proving to be what she calls “a very engaged demographic” that has solid appeal to their advertisers.

Charles and Aubrey note that you won’t find a lot of “moral indignation” about current issues in agrarian business and life, because other magazines cover that quite well. What you will find is a fresh look at an established industry, with stories told in ways that connect the consumer more closely with the producer.

As to the goats, Gardner is coy.

“Goats are kind of the ‘cats of Buzzfeed’ for us,” she says. “They’re just always a winner.”

The next issue of the magazine, though, could change all that, she says. “Goats could actually be replaced by something cuter. It’s possible.”

We’ll be watching.