Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Time's up. Food is the most important thing in the world.

With dimming light and cooling air, we listened to the soulful strains of Mayfly outside of one of Sterling's residence halls and reflected on a very full day of events. I am honestly awed by the energy of our 50 or so participants and the interactions and conversations among us all.

Some highlights this afternoon and evening (other than the delicious Local Foods Banquet!):

From a session on Saint Lawrence University's blossoming farm program, in response to concerns about farmers resorting to food stamps--and not eating the food they produce themselves--Saint Lawrence's Sustainability Coordinator, Louise Gava, said, "Sometimes I think we should pay farmers more than they are asking" in order to maintain and support vibrant local economic and food networks.

In a talk on religion's influence on food choices, Kate Holbrook, a Ph.D. candidate at BU, offered that "People have been going back to the land since before they left it."

Ulla Kjarval and Annie Connolle highlighted strategies for farmers to use social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs to communicate, collaborate and monetize their operations with little to no overhead (except time). I'd have to agree with Annie's candid assertion that, well, "blogging is awesome!"

Some key moments from Clark Wolf's keynote:

"Time's up. Food is the most important thing in the world."

"I don't believe in training. I believe in education."

"Calling food 'conventionally grown' is lying -- it's industrially grown."

Growing quality healthy food "is not brain surgery. It's common sense."

"It takes a village. It takes a zucchini. It takes a third grade class. It takes dirt."

"All Earth is public trust."

"It's great for food to be a metaphor. It's more important for it to be lunch."

"Men and women in their early 20s want to *do* something. I suggest farming."

There are no "producers" and "consumers" in a healthy food system. There are just people in a relationship with one another.

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