Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Our "Occupassion"

PASA 2007 is over, and boy are we jazzed to start our season! We met some tremendous folks (as always), and learned a lot (as always)! We gave three presentations this year - the titles are as follows: "We Made $50K on one Acre!!", "The Nuts & Bolts of Small-Scale Microgreens Production", and "Farm Market Stands That Sell!". All were well attended, and you can get a CD recording of each of these sessions as well as a DVD recording of the $50K talk! There were some fantastic keynote speakers this year - all with a slightly different message: James Howard Kunstler, Joel Salatin, and Michael Abelman. All are heroes of ours and all are quite good speakers. The PASA conference boasted 1700 attendees this year, coming from every state and 4 countries! The dynamic demographic of this conference is always something to behold, and gives us hope for this food movement we are a part of. I said earlier in our blog concerning the Terra Madre conference in Italy, that it is amazing that they can pull together so many people with just 30 folks organizing the conference. Well, PASA gives me hope that us Americans can do the same thing - the total conference organizers for this conference is something in the vicinity of 5 people! They really pull it off well with stellar speakers and great folks in the trade show as well. We loved the rally cry from Joel Salatin - who suggests that we should "opt out" of conventional agriculture and the current food system we have. He reminded us that what sets us modern-day sustainable farmers apart from our conventional farmer counterparts is that what we have is an "occupassion" that is hard to squelch. The energy generated from our occupassions is what is going to help us to change the face of our food systems forever. Then we heard from James Howard Kunstler, who gave us the hard future vision of a society that needs to source everything locally because of peak oil and the rape of the American Landscape. He is the author of The Long Emergency and is quite the grumpy curmudgeon, but at least he's thought out his vision thoroughly and has some suggestions for us. Our last keynote speaker was Michael Abelman, who we've seen speak before, and he reminded us that what us farmers are doing is great and exactly what we should be doing to tie us to our communities and to our landscape. His most recent book Fields of Plenty highlights a summer-long tour across the US with his son to seek out farms and see what folks are doing out there. It's inspirational and reminds me why we do what we do. So! To say the least, we are excited and invigorated with all of our interactions over the weekend, and hope to bring that energy to the Slow Food VT dinner being held at Mary's at the Inn at Baldwin Creek this Thursday. Keep checking back for updates on upcoming Slow Food and VFN events! Some other pictures of the PASA conference:

The conference hall were we were fed all PA products from PASA member farms!
More pictures to come!

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