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Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable

Greenstring Farm Event

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In the SF Bay Area during the early 70’s when people like Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, and Chuck Williams were changing the way we thought about food and cooking, one of the most pressing problems was to find dependable sources for fresh local ingredients. In accordance with the newly developing sensitivity toward the land, it was necessary to build an entire network of producers from scratch. One of the early shining stars in this network of farmers was Bob Cannard of Greenstring Farm in Petaluma, California. Bob’s approach to farming mimics nature by design and is well beyond anything you might call organic. It is imminently sustainable, it is productive, and it is delicious. Fertility increases year after year due to careful attention to natural processes, and the food produced is amazing.

Hearing Bob Cannard speak about the soil is like hearing Euell Gibbons talk like Jack Kerouac writes. The information comes fast from every direction, crossing from the mineral nutrient-cycle to California history to the importance of ducks or the history of the carrot, all in a few sentences.

This event was was held on February 12, 2011 in celebration of the graduation of a new crop of interns from the Greenstring Institute, the educational component of Bob’s farm. With an introduction by Michael Dimmock of Roots of Change, the afternoon was a wide-ranging discussion of some of the issues facing future farmers.

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Joel Salatin at Tara Firma Farms

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In Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan introduced us to Joel Salatin, a farmer who’s been practicing a complex form of rotational grazing in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. In the past few years Joel has become a folk hero in certain circles of farmers seeking to challenge the conventional agribusiness model. We read as much as we could about Joel’s Polyface Farm, and got to wondering how his methods would translate to Sonoma County’s different climate. I have to admit, I sort of stalked Joel’s schedule for a while, spying a little item that read “private farm consultation- Sonoma March 17”. After some detective work, I discovered that Joel would be coming to TaraFirma Farms in Petaluma, and got invited to a reception and talk at the Institute of Noetic Sciences in Marin.

PART 1: Reception and Lecture part 1

PART 2:  Lecture part 2

The following day, we were fortunate enough to tag along as Joel walked the farm with Craig and Tara Smith, giving his observations of how well they were following his ideas. Joel was incredibly generous and patient with hundreds of questions, from the big picture ideas, down to the minutiae of caring for newly-hatched chicks. After you’ve absorbed this inspiring talk from the evening,  hear Joel’s critique of Tara Firma Farms in the next segment.

PART 3: The Onsite  Consultation

Written by Paul Berg

March 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Lamb & Goat Roast

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On Memorial Day 2009, Slow Food Russian River organized a lamb and goat roast. Hosted by Rick Theis and Carolyn Johnson at their Sebastopol home, locally-raised animals were roasted in an outdoor wood-fired oven. Special guests on the video include Mary KarlinMichael DimmockMarissa GuggianaCraig AndersonPaula Shatkin and LaLoo’s ice cream.

The lamb was provided by Red Hill Farms in Petaluma CA.

The goats were provided by Salmon Creek Ranch in Bodega Bay CA.

By utilizing local livestock, the event celebrated the small producers who are preserving farmland as well as humanely raising their animals. A delicious afternoon was had by all. We encourage you to support these and other local farmers and ranchers. It makes sense on many levels: taste, carbon footprint, and sustainability.

Gleaning, Slowharvest Style

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We first learned of the Slowharvest Gleaning project through Paul’s wife, Hilda. She had been out gleaning with Aletha Soule, who we previously only knew of as a very successful and creative ceramicist.  It seemed she was doing something interesting on the side and so we got involved and, together with Aletha and a few others, produced this primer on Gleaning. Don’t hesitate to take it literally and start something in your own neighborhood. ~Bob

Written by Paul Berg

October 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Sustainable Living…

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Sustainable living…What does that mean? Is it just about food? Just about dirt? If you talk to a vineyardist, it seems to be all about dirt and bugs. Many of us have adopted a fairly narrow view of things. We’re specialists and we have to be to survive in our chosen field. That’s all right but let’s relax for a moment and realize that we really want a sustainable world. Sustainable jobs, sustainable health, we want our families to endure and prosper, we want good and healthy neighbors, not enemies.

So I went looking for accepted, useful and thoughtful definitions and low and behold, I found this marvelous Graphic on Wikipedia :

I invite you to study it with me and comment if you care to. It covers more ground than I had considered in the past and has opened up new realms of speculation for me. Let’s rethink our world and begin again to shape it directly, shall we? ~Bob

Written by Paul Berg

August 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm