Listen: As Amish Leave Farming For Other Work, Some Leave Their Homestead
"This message comes from NPR sponsor. Comcast Business Gig fueled network solutions that help businesses go beyond the expected to do the extraordinary Gary comcast business beyond fast learn more at comcast business dot Com Lancaster County Pennsylvania is home to the biggest settlement of Amish the people in the United States now that community is growing fast and some of its members are leaving farms and moving into towns. Some towns have had to change their zoning laws laws so amish people can bring things like horses along with them. Rachel McDevitt of member station W. I t. f. has a story kids. There feeding chickens and goats outside of busy bees farm market in Lancaster county a Little Open Air Red Barn traditional amish farm stand stocked with fresh produce soft pretzels and handmade crafts every few minutes a horse and buggy passes by Kissel ESPINEL is visiting reading from New York City with her parents had just really fascinated dommage community and how they live my parents grew up in a farm obviously wait different from this but very very similar vibe but most amish people in Lancaster County are no longer working on farms. The price of farmland has risen from about eight thousand dollars an Acre acre a few decades ago to twenty thousand dollars today and fewer and fewer amish farming the majority were outside the home in businesses and construction and so they're moving into towns Strasburg Township Supervisor Michael Weaver is driving a black jeep wrangler on whiny back roads past farms and small clusters of homes spaced well apart. This is a prime example right here. He stops outside one fairly modest beige ranch house with what appears to be a large garage or a small barn. It's a carriage house with room for two horses and a buggy plot of ground butts no more than a half. Acre it used to be needed one acre of land per horse to keep the animal on your property but township zoning board was getting inundated with requests for exceptions from Amish moving onto smaller lots so the supervisors voted to allow up to two horses for the purpose of transportation to be kept on a half Acre Weaver says the rule change was made as a compromise between the Amish and who they call the English or non Amish. I have seen a cultural clash between between the Amish community and the English the religious group nearly doubles in size every two decades and it's starting to feel a little crowded in Lancaster county where Amish are about seven percent of the population to chat lap who has amish changes in township rules aren't enough to help his people continue. Can you their lifestyle. There's just so much more late. The focus is on on okay now. We did half Acre for two horses good for you. It's not gonNA last long. As my point lap describes himself as a mad visionary he got his real estate agents license several Oh years ago and he's been helping families move out of Lancaster County as they look for more space and affordable farmland now. He's actively scouting neighboring counties for new settlements. Let's and finding people interested in moving. He says it's a matter of identity. He wants to see more of his people moving to protect their faith and culture from the mainstream name. That influence comes back into the period. You can't change that but many are tied to the land. A local amish man says though he's had family members move. He's never considered leaving. We're not naming him because most amish don't allow recordings of themselves or religious reasons. This man fears backlash clash from his community if they knew he had allowed it as he sits at the end of his driveway his big white farmhouse just out of view. He says his ancestors have been in the county thiessen eighteen hundred he started this farm in nineteen seventy five richer here. Our ancestors are buried here. We feel attached this. It's part of our heritage but the realtor. Chet lab believes the Amish will evolve by either embracing more of the modern world or safeguarding the traditions of their faith outside of their historic homeland for NPR news. I'm Rachel McDevitt in Lancaster County Pennsylvania This message comes from NPR sponsor. Comcast Business Gig fueled network solutions that help businesses go beyond the expected acted to do the extraordinary comcast business beyond fast learn more at comcast business dot com."