Some totally convinced gung-ho Locavores gathered at our wonderful Seed Bank, home of Baker Creek Heirloom seeds and occasional events such as this which inspire while reassuring us that good people live nearby – and we can work alongside and befriend each other! What a great thing while we hear of countries with and without nuclear weapons falling apart and the Japanese tsunami and nuclear meltdown(s) can’t stop our spirits from rising…We Are One and It Is Good.

The forum, Sustainability: Localization vs. Globalization; generated feelings of pep rally, good things coming, hope for the future of our planet; much needed!

A short video showed an Everything Store wherein Mom could shop the “real price” aisle which told her a 1 pound steak cost $817!!! Transportation, pollution, pesticides, diseases of Factory Farms. Whew!

Lucky for us, local corporate type turned farmer, Tara Smith, told us her Tara Firma Farms can more than match the prices for beef at Whole Foods – farming sustainably means no charge for shipping! You come buy from one of the distribution sites or at the farm. Tara says going to Whole Foods she feels a bit “the spy,” discovering how she and her husband’s efforts compare to the humongous Whole Foods. Quite well, she explains. High energy lady living her dream which you can join in as a member. They’ll expect help from Michael Pollan and author/farmer, Joel Salatin’s signature on grant applications as they create a non-profit to grow more farmers. Had not heard of Salatin but will find his books.

Other local locavore heros included moderator, Ken Rose, who interviews local/global food advocate/authors streaming at Mondays, 11am-2pm, Bob Cannard, founder and orator of Green String Farm, Ruth Persselin, helping provide delish healthy food for those without and everybody else at Petaluma Bounty, Ann Fischer Silva of Bay Area Nourishing Traditions and at the end we were treated to free 1/2 doz Happy Hen eggs and tiny cups of fermented lemon, garlic and thyme from two sweet ladies from Uncommon Cultures.

Came away with affirmation that Wayne and I at our budding Oasis Community Farm are moving in the same direction as these folks, looking for ways to follow and lead. For Tara Smith, those would be
1) education, (she feels we need to reeducate our country about the urgent need for local, healthy foods; 2) grow and share food; 3) promote and prove that even small farms can do well. Traditionally, she says, we expect farm wives to be “downtrodden and looking like they need a spa treatment,” but, says she, it doesn’t have to be that way. Out on Tara Firma Farms, once Open Space, she proclaims the place to be open to the public at all hours – just be quiet if its late because she may be sleeping nearby. Wonder how long this generosity can last, but did note her pasture-fed eggs are now $8/doz. Very much looking forward to visiting there; saw the farm spread from a small plane and its quite impressive.

Bob Cannard told us a bunch about soil. Cover crops, he said, are meant to mature, to leave their dead bodies to go back into the earth just like the rest of us. He seems almost messianic about this. Felt affirmed in my scant knowledge of cover crop when he mentioned grasses and then more advanced crop, clovers, fava, vetch – what we have now – and it’s even pretty. Went out to visit Green String recently. 15 youth living in the Greenstring House across a driveway from Greenstring School and just down the road from the Greenstring Store. Cannard’s String goes from Freitas Road just outside Petaluma to a downtown Sonoma plot and wetlands acreage. 80 acres under cultivation; way more total. Happy place to visit and I’ll be back, expecting to learn a bit each time. Love coming away from the store with treasures I’ve not tasted before. Quite a small village experience overall.

Ruth Persselin from Petaluma Bounty spoke of commitment to provide food for those who face food insecurity – wholesale to many through selling retail to many. Bounty Hunters can glean orchards and gardens and frequent farm workdays bring lots of people out who otherwise are city bound. We’re members and have learned already how to build a hoop house (by helping build one) and which veggies do really well around here.

Anne Fischer Silva, a local clinical nutritionist, spoke of the huge increase in diabetes, autism and cancer since “modern” foods have been available. Fresh, local food is a sort of medicine in itself, she says, preventing many dental problems and providing a happy alternative to empty calories.
Earlier cultures, she said, were without cancer and dental carries. Smart.