Sunday, January 20, 2008

being with farmers

i made it back late last night from the southern sustainable agriculture working group conference in louisville. as sherry mentioned, i attended with will, ryan, and david. it was a gathering of over 1000 farmers, would-be-farmers, urban community gardeners, and activists connected with agrarianism and agriculture in one way or another (education, - universities, etc. - training, USDA, etc.)

my lasting impression is just how good it is to be around hundreds of people who love the land and growing food. as a child i grew up in north-east victoria enjoying 'field days' (agriculture shows) where farmers would gather over several days to learn about the latest farming techniques and equipment and share their stories with one another. i witnessed farmers laughing together and sharing tales of farm life. often small, sustainable farming is a lonely journey and one could see the nourishment many of these farmers received by being together.

the highlights for me were hearing wendell berry speak, attending workshops on food justice issues (organizing ways to give the urban poor access to good food), permaculture, and the kentucky-grown meal at the end of the conference paired with an inspiring speech by joel salatin of polyface farms. david, ryan, will, and i were excited to learn more with a specific interest in applying what we learned to seedleaf and some community and school garden projects coming up this year.

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