An Abundant Place

The pictures Mike took of yesterdays Free Farm Stand could be mistaken for pictures from the Heirloom Expo that I attended last week. Our tables are always like a display from an exhibit and this week the  we had some diverse Hecka Local produce from the farm and other hecka local sources. Our mysterious neighbor whom I haven’t met yet, called me again with more rocoto peppers from her garden

 

Art grew some extra kale in his garden plot in Potrero del Sol garden and brought it by. I really appreciated the vegetables because we got so little left-overs from the farmer’s markets. It was so fresh and was fresher than the vegetables we got on Saturday.

Kimberly brought some produce from the Secret Garden, including cosmos flowers that I didn’t recognize.

It was a nice day though we had less produce than usual for the first half. We had so much fruit the second half I wound up taking it home and am now trying to find people to use it.  On sunny days like we have been having the larger crowds and though we usually have nothing left, people can on take so much fruit.

A week or so ago I got an email from Liz with the folks on the Yes on 37 campaign trying to get GMO food labeled and they wanted to set up a table next to our Free Farm Stand. I told her that our stand avoids endorsing political campaigns though I liked fighting for people having the right to know what is in their food. I suggested they set up on a blanket on the lawn so it wasn’t part of the Free Farm Stand. So they came out this Sunday with literature in both Spanish and English which I appreciated and I got a cute button that says GMO Free Farmer. I have a lot of mixed feelings participating in the voting process because of all the money that goes into the ballot fight. Even with this issue I know it is David and Goliath fighting companies like Monsanto or Dow that  are really evil, but one also has to be fair and see that questionable doctors like Joseph Mercola are putting in tons of money also ($1.1 million I read) in the Yes campaign. Trying to getting GMO labeling passed in the legislature apparently hasn’t been successful, so people feel like they have to put this to vote.

When it comes down to it, the best thing one can do is grow some of your own food and saving some of your own seed. We can’t change the world with these kind of actions, but we can move in the right direction on a small scale and I think that is the best we can do.

Here are some pictures from the Heirloom Expo. It was a fabulous event, though I am not into the what I call hype about heirlooms. Heirlooms are great that you can save the seed because they are not hybrids and they are the precious germplasm that we need to keep alive to preserve genetic diversity. Heirlooms though need to be grown and bred and new varieties need to be developed. That is their beauty , but a lot of companies are selling heirlooms like they should be the same varieties you grow again and again without saving your own seed from them and without tinkering with the variety by breeding it.

There was also a lot of commercialism at the event, a lot of folks trying to sell you the best garden amendments like compost or rock dust, etc. When I went around the vendors I had to focus on what I was looking for, like seeds and garlic.

There were also a lot of inspiring speakers and I learned much about apples, root crops, “the father of perennial agriculture in the West”, Felix Gillet (check out this article http://www.bioneers.org/programs/food-farming-1/articles-interviews/treasure-of-the-sierra-foothills-a-cornucopia-of-heritage-fruit-and-nut-trees-discovered-and-preserved), about a better approach to living with bees,  and I learned from Gary Nabhan the “Terroir-ist Manifesto” which I will reprint some of it at the end.

A Terroir-ist’s Manifesto for Eating in Place Jan 22, 2007   (http://garynabhan.com/i/archives/501)

Know where your food has come from
through knowing those who produced it for you,
from farmer to forager, rancher or fisher
to earthworms building a deeper, richer soil,
to the heirloom vegetable, the nitrogen-fixing legume,
the pollinator, the heritage breed of livestock,
& the sourdough culture rising in your flour…

Know where your food has come from
by ascertaining the health & wealth
of those who picked & processed it,
by the fertility of the soil that is left
in the patch where it once grew,
by the traces of pesticides
found in the birds & the bees there.
Know whether the bays & shoals
where your shrimp & fish once swam
were left richer or poorer than before
you & your kin ate from them.

Know where your food comes from
by the richness of stories told around the table
recalling all that was harvested nearby
during the years that came before you,
when your predecessors & ancestors,
roamed the same woods & neighborhoods
where you & yours now roam.
Know them by the songs sung to praise them,
by the handmade tools kept to harvest them,
by the rites & feasts held to celebrate them,
by the laughter let loose to show them our affection.

Know where your foods come from
by the patience displayed while putting them up ,
while peeling, skinning, coring or gutting them,
while pit-roasting, poaching or fermenting them,
while canning, salting or smoking them,
while arranging them on a plate for our eyes to behold.
Know where your food comes from
by the slow savoring of each and every morsel,
by letting their fragrances lodge in your memory
reminding you of just exactly where you were the very day
that you became blessed by each of their distinctive flavors.
When you know where your food comes from
you can give something back to those lands & waters,
that rural culture, that migrant harvester,
curer, smoker, poacher, roaster or vinyer.
You can give something back to that soil,
something fecund & fleeting like compost
or something lasting & legal like protection.
We, as humans, have not been given
roots as obvious as those of plants.
The surest way we have to lodge ourselves
within this blessed earth is by knowing
where our food comes from.

Gary Paul Nabhan, January 2007

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