It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to write about anything going on – it seems we go from the reflective, mindful days of winter to the hectic and sometimes crazy days of early springtime. This transition time is also the time farmers and growers get together to attend conferences, workshops and exchange ideas. One such recent gathering was held in Chattanooga this year, The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG). It’s an exciting coming together of small, diversified family farmers, foodies and government agencies involved in the food system.
This year’s keynote speaker, sustainable economist John Ikerd, was an in your face, come to meeting shout out. Though speaking to the converted, Ikerd’s message was an important one. He spoke about community values and how the ideal of the family farm is essential for our spiritual and ethical connection to our food. The family farm provides permanence, stewardship of the land, social responsibility and ethical virtues. Our food provides us with a sense of connectedness to the earth. His theory is that some of our economic woes are due to our culture’s recent history of separation from the land and how by connecting yourself to the local food system you are helping to become part of an sustainable economic solution. By becoming part of your community in such an intimate manner it gives both you and the farmer a deeper sense of purpose in life and brings us all together.
All I know is his speech was a wonderful way to greet springtime as the days start to warm and seeds start to sprout!