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 The Sustainable Ag conference in Watertown this week...

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joelie hicks
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PostSubject: The Sustainable Ag conference in Watertown this week...   Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:25 pm

Was so inspiring!
I attended two workshops; Farm to Table and Permaculture. They were both excellent. There is a State Wide food cooperative started in South Dakota. We were told about successful Farmers Markets and Food Co-ops from around the US. The speaker gave some good ideas about what to market and how to get the word out.
The permaculture workshop was fun too, it is an old idea with a new name. The leader was a fellow who is about 15 years from retirement, he is building up his homeplace with fruit trees and fruiting shrubs and hopes to augment his retirement income with his produce.
One of the most wonderful things was a speaker who gave several talks. He is from a small town in another state. A number of years ago, he and a friend began a small nursery seed business, they started very small, with no grants and no loans. They added another partner and slowly grew. Now they sell all over the US. After he started business, he met with six other entreprenuers, their first meeting lasted eight hours. They began meeting one evening a month, kicked around ideas, and built trust. They started a fund from which they would loan to eachother at low interest. That group has now grown to 25 members and their financial resource pool is about 750,000. There is a 'waiting list' of about 50 business people who would love to be part of this group. Their local economic development group goes to THEM for input. So do the local bankers. Among the businesses are a bread bakery that makes bread in a wood fired oven, they bake 1000 loaves a week and sell to about a 30 mile radius. There is also an artisinal cheese maker, he used some seed money to dig out a hill to make a cave in which to age his cheese. No grants, no government involvement, just a group that trusts each other and builds each other up. I doubt if any of them are super wealthy, but they seem to make a fine living.
There was only one workshop that I heard anything negative about, I was not there, fortunately.
It is time to get really creative on a local level. Time for those of us in the middle of farm country to cease being 'food deficient' as far as nutrition is concerned. There is beautiful food all around us, why wait until it comes to us wrapped in a plastic package from many miles away?
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Re: The Sustainable Ag conference in Watertown this week...   Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:40 pm

I believe this is the fella you were talking about.....


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joelie hicks
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PostSubject: Re: The Sustainable Ag conference in Watertown this week...   Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:45 pm

That is correct. Even better, bunch of YouTube clips (about 10 minutes each) where he is speaking entitled "The Town That Food Saved". A small town of about 3,000, and how it is starting to turn around.
We have the seeds for this kind of movement in our town, Farmers Markets that are doing well, small, fun places with good quality food, such as the Bird feeder. Places such as Stengel seed, and Cal's Flax business.
He discusses startups, finances, growth, support.
It is interesting, he describes himself as a 'socialist/libertarian. I would say more libertarian. Sounds odd but our so-called conservative state is becoming much more nanny state socialist, with shrinking local control. Vermont, even with it's socialist reputation, is very much about local control.
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joelie hicks
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PostSubject: Re: The Sustainable Ag conference in Watertown this week...   Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:47 pm

And there is a film trailer called "the Greenhorns" you can google the title to find it. All about young farmers putting sustainable agriculture into practice.
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