The events around the world were organized through http://www.350.org/ (get it….?) and the only guidelines given was to focus on solutions to the climate crisis. Some small towns and villages installed solar panels or wind turbines. Some cities had repair bike stations and bike rides. There were community gardens being planted, school children cleaning beaches and parks, and lots of farming and education. And hundreds of people around the world met each other, for the first time, and affirmed just how awesome each of us is as individuals and collectively are when we give a Sunday up to work and learn. I was energized by this event. Soul fed and blessed. I know I will be on a high for weeks because of my participation in just one of these 10.10.10 GLOBAL WORK PARTYs.
It was Chef Tom Leavitt’s idea to put together a bus ride from Chicago to Fairbury Illinois to visit Spence Farm. Tom is an advocate of using local produce and meats from sustainable farms. Everyone in Chicagoland uses his talents and catering skills for their holiday parties and events and dinner parties. http://www.whiteoakgourmet.com/ I had heard of Tom from my clients for years and it was his passion that brought together 45 individuals to for the Global Work Party. The day was about work. And we felt like we were at a great party.
When we arrived at Spence Farm, we were given a little introduction about the farm itself. It is completely sustainable, meaning they use every part of the crops they grow, from the seeds to the clippings for mulch. The ducks on the farm eat the insects, so: there is no reason for pesticides. The maple trees are used to tap syrup and their shade protects the pawpaw saplings. I encourage you to learn more about Spence Farm at http://www.thespencefarm.com/ Marty and his wife, Kris and their son Will, steward and operate the family farm and they are all delightful story tellers. We ate up Marty’s telling of how we could and should be eating only good non-genetically-altered fruits and vegetables; and why the pigs on his farm didn’t smell bad. [They are given a natural diet and no un-necessary antibiotics which keeps their digestion working well = no smell!] Particularly interesting to me was how Rick Bayless, of Chicago Restaurant and Frontera Grill fame, asked Marty to save the nearly extinct Iroquois White Corn. [Click here for that one.] We also ate up his heirloom tomatoes, and I had my first pawpaw which, to me, tasted and textured like a banana mixed with mango. Marty told us that science if finding out that pawpaw may be giving a natural hand in the fight against cancer. Keep those stories coming, Marty!
On a simple Sunday I missed this year’s Marathon but I helped harvest Spence Farm’s entire sorghum crop. (Makes Molasses) It was fun and it only took my group less than an hour. For Marty and his clan it would have taken a whole day. We planted his organic garlic crop. And we dismantled the tomato fences because they are now out of season. A delicious lunch of vegetarian and organic meat sandwiches was provided by City Provisions Delicatessen, 1818 West Wilson, which was also where our bus picked us up at 9am and dropped us off at 7pm. Please check them out:
Next year: twitter friends, facebook friends, buddies, my clients! & family: you are all coming with me to the farm. I had such a great time and I want to share this wonderful experience with you. It’s great to get out of the city and meet new people to learn, work and laugh with. Now I want to find out much more about natural and sustainable farming – something, I thought, I already knew enough about. I even took home some green tomatoes from Spence Farm and made fried green tomatoes from a recipe recommended by Rob Gardner, one of my farm-mates. He runs http://www.thelocalbeet.com/ which has wonderful information about local and sustainable farming and recipes such as the one I used by Melissa Graham of http://www.littlelocavores.blogspot.com/
350.org is founded by Bill McKibben and is an international campaign that’s building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis—the solutions that science and justice demand.
Oh yeah: I’m just a hairdresser who writes. I have a novel or two coming out next year. Every bit of my “pulp fiction” profits free me up to do more stories like these. MafiaHairdresser.com will keep you abreast. And please subscribe to this blog!
This is Farmer Marty talking to Rob Gardner of The Local Beet and Chef Tom Leavitt. They are talking about the genetically altered crops being farmed around them. I learned that organic farms have eco systems full of toads, bees, birds, ducks and healthy crops that can be used to seed next years crops. Not so with “Franken-crop” farms.