Monday, June 16, 2008

Anyone for green strawberries?

Last Friday, Mary and I, along with some of our other project partners, took about 50 members of the Carolyn Foundation on a local farm tour. The Carolyn Foundation is the primary funding source for the Puget Sound Food Project (PSFP), so this was an important event for us. Also, the tour served as a catalyst for us to clarify our project goals and methods.

We all met at the Sheraton hotel in downtown Seattle for introductions and a quick lunch. From the outset, all of the foundation representatives were very friendly, engaged and eager to ask lots of questions and chat up a storm. While not a formal bunch, they were all very serious about the foundation's mission and goals.

After lunch, we piled into a large tour bus and headed east, toward the Snoqualmie River Valley. Mary played the part of a tour guide and pointed out some sights and gave the group an overview of CHC, PSFP and the day's agenda.

Rough agenda:

-Tour Full Circle Farm. Farmer Andrew spoke about post-harvest handling and the importance of farm-related infrastructure, while showing off the brand new concrete slab that will form the foundation for the farm's on-site compost facility/machine shed.
-Bruce Dunlop of Lopez Island Farms and the project lead for the pastured poultry arm of the project gave an overview of his experience, the demand for pastured poultry and the basic outline of our plan.
-Tour Jubilee Farms. Owner-farmer Erick Haakonsen talked about the need to protect agricultural land for food and fiber production and how new agriculturally focused infrastructure would boost a whole range of positive outcomes for local farmers.

All in all, the tour was a great success. Everyone from the elders to the lil' 'uns seemed to have a great time, especially toward the end of the day when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. I was surprised at the sophistication and variety of questions from the group.

Article Roll-call: for thought? Not sure I agree that walking has a greater environmental impact than driving, but it spurs an interesting debate.

Supermarket bananas: A monoculture crop facing possible extinction

Population growth impact vs. claims of "city greening"

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