Thursday, September 30, 2010

Faires, festivals, and farms. . .

Oh what a month, and here it is already come to a close. Since having changed vocations I have found that the seasons don't seem to last as long as they once did. . . or perhaps I am just getting old.
September has been a wonderfully productive month! As we are preparing things for our winter operations I thought that I would take a minute to share some of the happenings of the last couple of weeks. . .

The Pearson's Town crew, along with some daring students and staff from Saint Joe's made a trek up to the Common Ground Country Faire in Unity. It is always a wonderful event, but this year all the more so (in my not so humble opinion) because we had the opportunity to share a little of what we are doing down here at Saint Joe's. Pearson's Town had a table in the Ag Demo tent and was staffed by volunteers from the farm.
We talked with a lot of folks and tried to challenge as many farms and farmers as we could to develop direct relationships with their local food pantries. Our goal is to see every farm in Maine commit some percentage of their yield to food pantries. Not the seconds or gleaning mind you, but rather some of the first fruits, so to speak. Food is a right not a privilege. Everyone should have equal access to healthy, locally grown food regardless of status or financial ability. Yet it is the folks that find themselves needing to use food pantries who are the same folks that are at the heart of many of the health care issues we are facing. . . So why are we feeding them the dregs and the seconds?? If we continue to expect them to survive on the "left overs" how do we expect to fix some of these national problems?
Bottom line. . . if every farmer commits what they can. 1%, 5%, 50% of their first crop, it doesn't really matter to me so long as we give, we can make real change! But enough ranting.

Among some of the connections that we were able to make were with the likes of Will Bonsall of the Scatterseed Project, and Neil from Medomak High School (check out their seed catalogue. . . they have the most righteous seed saving program I have ever seen. Especially for a high school!).

Is this a good time to mention that with the help of the ever talented Matt O. Pearson's Town took three third place ribbons for tomatoes in our first ever veggie submission?!?

Many thanks to Alyssa, Mike B., Noah E., Annie, and Shani C. from Saint Joe's who came out to help. Also many thanks to Laura, Matt, Devon, Therese, Ryan, Mark and Karrie for coming out and spending part of the weekend with us!
Lastly, many thanks to all of those from the Saint Joe's community who came out to show their support!

Tuesday, the 28th, was our Sustainability Festival and Eat Local Challenge here on campus. The cafe served over 1,000 meals to students, staff, the general public and our very special guests - the seventh graders from Windham Junior High School.

250 very awesome middle school students came over to the farm to take a tour and talk about things like organic growing, agriculture's impact on the environment and how plants and animals work together. The most important lesson that we learned. . . . Poop is cool!!!!! It's natural, it's accessible and it helps to eliminate our need on oil (is this starting to sound like a political blog. .)
Now as we look toward October it is a bitter sweet feeling knowing that winter is just around the corner, but a fabulous breath of fresh air knowing that after such a wonderful season of labor and bounty that we can finally rest a bit.

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