First lecture hits the spot
Feeding Your Family Sustainably was the theme of our first WCA Educational Series lecture held Oct. 4. Attendees gathered around a table of fresh fruits, vegetables and cheeses from the farms of Vermont, and joined biodynamic farming expert and Farmers To You Co-Founder Greg Georgaklis in a discussion about modern agriculture and how the health of farming practices impact the energy and vitality in our food.
Here are some of the main points we talked about:
– By definition, Biodynamic Farming means that the farmer treats the whole farm as a living organism, and typically needing both animals and plants. Every living thing on the farm has a purpose and a relationship to each other. On a farm, there is no waste. Everything can be a fertilizer to something else.
– Up through the mid-1900s, farms were more abundant and operated on a small scale, but could feed the metropolitan Boston area with the farmlands lying in the hills just outside the city. Now we see large-scale supermarket chains that have control of the food chain and prefer to buy from the large-scale conventional farmers, force to compromise the health of their farms to keep the price down. We have lost our connection to the place and the person that grows our food.
– New models are springing up to take back our food sources and reject the models that don’t serve our health. Local First is a concept we embrace because we know that it means we get personalized service and support a local family. It applies to food too.
– Farms need our support to survive in their efforts to use healthful practices to grow our food. They need us to partner with them to buy local, then buy regional and commit to that support so they can grow, not in size, but in number.
– A community of farms is ideal as each farm has something to offer the next. Fermentation from a crop on one farm provides fertilizer for a crop on another farm and on it goes.
– Converting a conventional farm to organic is harder than you think. It takes about 5-6 years for the soils to be cleansed from toxins, to secure the needed certifications, and get the education needed to do it right. One anecdote: Many small farmers will wait until they or their loved ones got sick from the toxic modern farming practices before they change their farming methods to organic or close to it.
– We know that many diseases are related to the poor quality of our food and that eating fresh food that is responsibly grown can improve our health remarkably.
– We are very far behind our European counterparts in recognizing the value of a healthy food system and the importance of regional farms. But attitudes continue to change for the better as we recognize more how U.S. agricultural methods have moved too far away from real food to be healthy.
About Greg Georgaklis Co-Founder Farmers To You
Greg has been involved in agriculture for over 30 years, as a farmer, business owner and advisor. He served on the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture, and after moving to Vermont in 2007, was hired by several not-for-profit and Vermont state agencies to work directly with and advise organic producers and conventional farmers who sought a new roadmap.
In 2009 Greg focused his energies on starting Farmers To You – an associative business model that is rebuilding a sustainable, appropriately scaled food system, mission driven to connect families with farmers. Greg and his wife Eva are parents of three graduates of the Lexington Waldorf School and currently reside in Calais, Vermont.
(Stay tuned for information on the next series lecture on Friday, Nov. 16 when resident essential oil guru, chiropractor, and fellow parent Heidi Zohn presents “Winter Wellness.”)