Wednesday, March 30, 2011

all the things I learned in Savannah

First of all, I want to say to my loyal blog followers that I am sorry that I have been away for so long. Getting all this started has made me busy, busy, busy, and sometimes I forget to come here and tell you all about what has been going on.

In early March, the lovely city of Savannah hosted the Georgia Organics conference, and I was lucky enough to attend. I learned so much and was greatly inspired by all the faithful farmers, restaurateurs, academics and general food lovers that were brought together.

Friday morning started with and in depth look at food policy on a federal, state and local level. It was inspiring to learn how individuals can make a difference and very informative about what issues are most at stake right now.

On Friday afternoon, we all filed onto buses for our journeys out to the local farms around Savannah. I went on the Cha Bella and Earth to Table tour, where I got to see first hand the success story of a restaurant that sources everything locally, much of it from their own farm. They spread us out on the patio of the restaurant, some people sitting on wooden swings hanging from the rafters, curtains blowing in the breeze and passed out glasses of wine. We were then greeted by executive chef, Matthew Roher, who gave us the overview of their program and explained the Earth to Table farm box, which is a box of abundant farm fresh produce delivered right to people's doors. Then we went out to the farm, which has been revamped from an old dairy that burned to the ground. Spanish moss hanging from live oaks blew in the wind as we walked down the sandy road from the residential street next to the ruins of the dairy. We turned the bend and a glorious, sun-filled garden awaited us. Being early March, many of the rows were still grown over with cover crops from the winter, but a few arugula and rosemary plants had stuck it out, and a sandy spot showed its face where the last of the years sweet potatoes had just been harvested. They walked us through the rows and showed us what they planned for each space, then took us down a path to a beautiful old live oak where they host picnics and weddings in the late spring and summer. The land also houses an apiary that was just beginning to be abuzz with bees.

Saturday was full of information. I learned about the cuts and costs of meat from a farmer's perspective, about the ins and outs of being a responsible shopper in the world of sustainable meat, and had a crash course in beekeeping. I met lots of wonderful people and reconnected with some old friends that I hadn't seen in a while. I got to explore the silent auction and the expo, which was full of very informative vendors and organizations. I also got to see the new film, GROW, which is an expose of young farmers in Georgia. It was so inspiring and I recommend that anyone interested in sustainable food watch it. It will make you want to take to the fields and get dirty. The evening ended with a fantastic family style feast, made with loving care by the best chefs in the farm to table movement of Georgia. I felt so lucky to be a part of the conference as a whole and to share such a great meal with great people.

Georgia Organics is such a wonderful organization, supporting farmers new and old and making the local, sustainable and organic food movements possible in this state.

1 comment:

  1. I flew in from Kansas to be at the conference in Savannah. I was so impressed to learn about all the progress in Ga over the past 5 yers.

    I wish I had known to look for you there. I have been following your blog and FB page for awhile. I am so excited to watch your progress.