I was only able to make to one day of this wonderful event, but I spent at least 7 hours there, walking the various exhibit halls and listening to a few speakers. Most of my pictures (below) are from the well-lit produce display/judging area, but there was entertainment and three halls of vendors and organizations on everything from garden art to xeriscaping. Though I haven’t been to a garden show before, I doubt this one was completely like most others, what with the themes of sustainability, permaculture, organic farming, and food activism. I’m sure many of the vendors at this event you could find at regular garden shows, it was who was absent that made the real difference. No BigBoxStore. No Burbee. No Monsanto. Definitely no Monsanto.
Lots of folks in Birkenstocks, straw hats, overalls, hemp clothing (yeah, a couple of younger guys latched on to me thinking, for some reason, that I was just the kinda guy that would listen to them talking about the benefits of hemp products) – but then again, we were in California farm & wine country. All the food from the vendors was free-range/whole grain/organic/vegan/”all-natural”/raw/GMO-free (we hope), etc…
I was most impressed & encouraged by and spent much time in the displays by local schools (see photos below).
There were over 100 speakers, though I only made it to 3 of them, and it was the last day of the expo. Each one made me wish I had been there all three days listening to as many as I could fit in a day. The last session I sat in on was with Carlo Petrini, Brahm Ahmadi (Social Entrepreneur People’s Community Market), and Eric Holt-Giménez (Executive Director of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy) talking about a book that all three (and many others) were a part of, called “Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems.” I haven’t got the book yet, but will be seeking it out soon.
See below for a list of the keynote speakers and a link to the speaker’s bios page.
Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement
Ronnie Cummins, founder and Director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA)
Jeffrey Smith, Anti-GMO expert founder of The Institute For Responsible Technology
Percy Schmeiser of Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund Inc.
Don M. Huber, Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology, Purdue University
Since attending this event, I’ve been following more of the social and political issues I learned about, and have been following blogs and sites like Food First http://www.foodfirst.org/ and Kitchen Gardeners International http://kgi.org/, Slow Food movements http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ http://slowfoodreno.wordpress.com/, GMO labeling movements in California and Washington http://www.labelitwa.org/ http://www.carighttoknow.org/, and recently subscribed to MotherJones news http://www.motherjones.com/. I’ve been reading and sharing the info, but haven’t been doing much doing. Yet.
Daltxguy, and his “Some Impact Man” blog series here on GardenTenders, has been living the dream and experiment that I would love to live, but I rent a home in suburbia. But the research and information he has been sharing all leads us to where we need to be moving – back to the past, in some ways. And I envy so much the homes and gardens of Radicalfarmergal (and her “Growing My Way to Freedom” blog series), and MsDebbieP (and her many blog series) that it has turned all but my thumb green.
I can only do so much on my rented land, though I am indeed allowed to do much more than many landlords would let most renters. But it doesn’t feel like enough, doesn’t feel right to just read about it and plant a nice garden. I want to push it further.
One of the “vendors” at the Expo was the ACGA, the American Community Garden Association http://www.communitygarden.org/, and this really planted a seed within me. There have been community gardens in my area before, but I don’t think they are very active right now, so I’m going to look into that, maybe in conjunction with an elementary or middle school – get these city kids to learn how to take care of themselves. Get them to feel and be a part of sustainability, because if we don’t work with the Earth, it’ll eventually treat us like some little virus and wipe us out (and who could blame it). The current and certainly next generations need to learn sustainability as the norm, not as something we have to go back to because we messed it up.
If you have a chance to go to this event next year, I’d certainly encourage you to do so (and maybe we could meet-up!). http://www.theheirloomexpo.com/
It made me feel a bit like an Egyptian Walking Onion, taking slow steps out of my own garden and into the rest of the world.
(Photos are in the order I took them…)
Emilee and Jere Gettle of Baker Creek Seeds, with their daugher Sasha
In line for some melon tasting
-- There's a box?