Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harvestival Fun

Harvestival at Grant Family Farms was early this year. Usually it is in October during prime pumpkin picking season. Perhaps the big snow storm last year or the year before (can't remember) had the event planners thinking earlier is better, especially if you want to book some big names. Regardless of whether I am cold or sweating, a day at our CSA farm is always fun. And because we are CSA members, we get free tickets to the event. The girls usually have a good time as there is plenty to see and do for kids. This year, the chicken buses, 2,000 baby ducks, and worm composting were the big hits. For me, it was the chance to hear Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms speak.

Last year, Lily and Semira helped to paint these buses. This year, the buses are home to the chickens. They roam free during the day and sleep in the buses at night so they are not eaten by the local coyotes. This picture is for my dad. He freaks out about my $5 a dozen eggs. I keep telling him that at least I know where they come from. Speaking of knowing where your food comes from, Joel Salatin's talk was pretty interesting. Joel Salatin may sound like a familiar name, especially if you have read Michael Pollan's books (The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food) or watched Food Inc. He is pretty well known these days in the organic, local food circles. While a lot of what he said today was stuff I have already heard, food talk is still interesting and he is pretty entertaining. He's a tell it like it is kind of guy. Of course he was preaching to the choir today, but still a few points he made are worth repeating.
  • Buying organic is more expensive because we are paying for the true cost of producing food. The externalities of the mainstream food system in the U.S. are endless and not reflected in the prices we pay.
  • People can afford to pay more for food. They just need to make different choices (i.e. trading things of little or no value for things of value). Of course, it helps to eat in season, then freeze, can, and preserve the extras.
  • Our entire food system is this country is so messed up. We are subsidizing all the wrong things...the things that are making us overweight and unhealthy (can you say corn, corn, corn, and more corn?).
  • Embrace the pigness of pigs. Ok so we don't eat meat, but his point was that modern industrial agriculture ignores the natural inclinations of animals. The goal is to produce meat faster, bigger, fatter, and cheaper and that is not good for us on many levels. I have many reasons for not eating meat, but the ways in which animals are raised and killed is definitely a big one for me.
  • And my favorite: RESPECT. We need to start respecting food and where it comes from. People are so disconnected from the process of growing food that the process itself and people have no soul as a result. Amen to that!
Anyway, it was a great day! Fun with a little inspiration.


  1. My neighbors have an organic farm. Most people have no idea how much work goes into growing food! I have spent time helping on their farm and learning about growing organic. Even helped with the chicken processing which is very manual! Quite a learning experience and a hard way to earn a living, farming.

  2. I so enjoy reading posts Erika. I've never really given much thought to where food comes from, how much work is involved, or even the environment the animals are living in. I guess you can say I've been one of "naive" individuals out there. Thanks for "opening my eyes" and getting me thinking.