Sunday, February 27, 2011

Farm to Church Connections

This photo was part of a slide show in my presentation at this amazing workshop at St. John's Episcopal Church in Snohomish. Because people are so visual and they connect to presenters in different ways, I prepared a slide show for my part in the workshop, but the thing is I'd actually never actually presented a slide show. So I went to the Mac store where a nice techie showed me how to do one. It looked so easy, I created the show and was lulled into thinking it would be a snap. What could go wrong? But once we got my MacBook connected to the projector, we all stared at a blank screen. Fifty-five people and we all waited until this young techie (about 17) arrived, and everyone breathed a collective sign of relief as he saved my show.

A number of people who attended this event recieve weekly CSA boxes from Erick Fritch of Chinook Farms during harvest season. Eric had a beaufiful table near the back of the room, with one of his unique wooden CSA boxes and great photos of his farm. Eric was born and raised in Snohomish and sells his produce primarily through his CSA, but he's also planning on selling at the Edmonds Farmers' Market this coming summer. CSA members come out to his farm to pick up their weekly boxes and sometimes these folks get harvest their own vegetables. "It's fun to watch kids pull a potato from the ground and see where their food really comes from," Eric told me.

Talking with Eric made me recall an interview I did with Jabrila Via of Winter Green Farm in Noti, Oregon when I was writing their farm's profile for The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook. Jabrila had told me about a program in Eugene, Oregon called "That's My Farmer," a unique program that connects faith communities to farmers.

I wanted to share just a few of the many slides that I presented for this workshop. The picture at the top is Michael and Liz of Grouse Mountain Farm in Chelan and both it and the one below were taken at the U-District Market in Seattle.

This is Marilyn Lynn of Rama Farm at the U-District market this past fall. Why not slip some images of my farmers in first? I get Rama Farm's unique tree fruit CSA every year and I've already paid for this season, so I'm ready for Rama Farm peaches when the season arrives in August.

I also couldn't miss the opportunity to tell Nash Huber's story, just in case some people didn't know Nash instigated PCC Farmland Trust when Nash's neighbor's farm was slated for development. He's the only farmer from the Northwest and the only vegetable farmer to recieve the Land Steward of the Year award from American Farmland Trust. I also talked about why Nash's farm crew now also grows seed crops and grains. A local farm hero in Washington, Nash Huber also grows big sweet carrots that have become legendary.

I included photos of Oregon farms and I really like this picture taken Whistling Duck Farm in Grants Pass, Oregon. It really makes the word "hand-harvested" come alive. Many people forget a lot of work goes into bringing this vibrant fresh food to market.

It was my first slide show and I wasn't mortified, but some photos don't work at all on the big screen. I'll weed out the too dark photos for the next event. For comic relief and a few ahhhhh and wake-up moments I tossed in a few photos of my Cooking Assistant. He's a great prop with food because stares at everything like a wind up model.

I leave you with this one of Finn and my bottle of Dunbar Farms Red, produced by David Mostue of Dunbar Farms in Medford, Oregon, because after all, red wine has some health benefits and you can find so many standout varieites produced right here in the Northwest.
I was so inspired and enthused about this event, it was all I could talk about the rest of the day.
I hope other faith centers and churches pick up farm to community trend and help spread the word about locally grown produce from sustainable farms.

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