The 10th Annual Focus on Farming event brought together 600+ food and farming advocates and practitioners for a daylong immersion in six areas of focus on farming. Especially inspiring and motivating was Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power, not only gave a rousing keynote presentation, he led four hour-long workshops.
Wendell Berry, a quiet and humble man, has become an outspoken advocate for revolution. He urges immediate action as he mourns how America has turned its back on the land and rejected Jeffersonian principles of respect for the environment and sustainable agriculture.
The story goes that Will Allen, son of South Carolina sharecroppers, never intended to become a farmer. In reality, Allen began growing and selling food at the age of 10. Today, he is leading a revolution to bring people back to the soil – urban, suburban, or rural soil – to grow their own food and discover the taste and connections that have been lost over the last 75 years of industrial agriculture.
While we want kids to know what nutritious foods look and taste like, and how to use and prepare them properly, the best place to start to give them the fundamentals is to teach them how to GROW their own food. Readers to Eaters’ new book, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, shows how a one man – a big, passionate, and determined man – started his own good food revolution when he took an empty city lot and turned it into an urban farm.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” Dickens was talking about London and Paris in his novel published more than 150 years ago, but he might have been describing 21st century farming. We’ve recently taken a clear look at two farms serving Puget Sound, Nash’s Organic Produce and Jubilee Biodynamic Farm, and now it’s time to ask, What’s next?
Dr. Jill Clapperton, soil scientist, says that farmers need to focus on building diversity of organisms within soils. Poor soil biology produces poor crops in terms of both crop yields and nutrient content.
Erick and Wendy Haakenson, and their son David and his wife Kristin, are farming in a floodplain skirted by the Snoqualmie River. An active farm nearly for 25 years, Jubilee Biodynamic Farm is home to one of the largest and oldest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in the state. Jubilee is an intensively managed, diversified farm comprised of 14 acres of fruits, vegetables, and grains and around 35 acres devoted to beef cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, and ducks.