The demographics of farmers has changed over the years. As the previous generation prepares to retire, younger ones are stepping up. A new wave of food pioneers, mostly from non-farming backgrounds, is turning to farming as a livelihood. This career path doesn’t come easy. Here are five ways to help the next generation of farmers:

1. Join a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) or shop at a local farmers market: These venues take out the middleman and directly help farmers. A CSA is a program in which members purchase a “share” of produce from a local farmer in regular installments over the course of the season. You can also find a good amount of fruits and veggies (and more) at most farmers markets.

2. Be informed and active: Do you know where your food comes from? Read about the sustainable farming moment in books and online. There are a variety of documentaries on the subject, too. Speak up and let government officials know that young farmers are key to the future. Encourage them to support agriculture by backing policies that make farming a viable option for those just starting out.

3. Volunteer: Volunteering time and skills can be invaluable to farmers who are pressed for time and resources. Reach out to a local farmer’s market or county extension office to inquire about opportunities.

4. Spread the word: Social media is a powerful tool to bring awareness and understanding of this issue to an even wider audience.

5. Buy sustainable products. Food isn’t the only consideration. Think twice about your beauty products and home goods. You can rest assured knowing that Kristin and Company soy candles are made from a renewable resource–soy beans.

Farmers have been the backbone of our country for years. With your help, we can ensure they remain part of the fabric for years to come.