Monday, February 17, 2014

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association OEFFA

This week provided me with so much inspiration it is overwhelming. I was able to attend the Ohio Ecological Food and FarmAssociation (OEFFA) conference held in Grandville, Ohio. I attended many sessions including: Twelve Herbs to Use in Emergencies for People and Animals, DIY Aquaponics, Herbal Balance, Cooking and Eating GMO-Free Meals, Creative Dehydrating, and Debunking GE Myths. If you want to know details about any of those sessions feel free to contact me, I do not plan to go into it here. One of the most inspirational parts of the conference was the keynote speaker Anita Diffley who spoke on Farmers as Role Models and Leaders: Protecting Nature and Creating Social Change. She spoke so beautifully and intelligently and it would have been hard not to motivate each person in the room with her story. The short story is her family was working an organic farmon a large plot of land in Minnesota, The Garden of Eagan. A school purchased part of the property and things began to change and soon the land was no longer farmable. They relocated to a difference piece of land that had been used for conventional farming and took three years to reclaim it for organic farming. In 2006, the Diffleys received notice that the MinnCan pipeline was proposed to bisect their organic farm Gardens of Eagan. The Diffleys filed evidence establishing the nature of organic production and the unique vulnerability of the Gardens of Eagan vegetable farm to the harms resulting from a crude oil pipeline. As a result of these efforts, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission included in the permit for the pipeline what is believed to be the first organic agriculture mitigation plan in the country applicable to energy infrastructure. This mitigation plan provides rights and protections for any affected organic farm in Minnesota. What a beautiful success story for this small organic farm! It is hard to sum up everything that came from this conference but I can tell you I am filled with joy knowing there are so many people who care about the earth in the same way I do. So many people gathered together who are focused on nurturing the land. As I left the conference I could not help but continue to think about how the decisions we make about what we eat directly impact the earth we live on and the power of social movement in food! I am starting to view this relationship I have with the earth more as a responsibility and I have decided with the support of my husband that someday we will live on a ceramic homestead. Where we can balance our lives as artist with caretakers of this earth.
I meet Val the owner of Jorgensen Farms, one of the farms I hope to visit when the weather shifts. She gifted me some wool for my harvesting color project so I can try out some natural dyes. In exchange, I am going to give an artist lecture for her and we might even collaborate on a farm dinner in the near future!
To top it off I had a wonderful visit this week with my friend and fellow ceramic artist Lindsay Scypta. She was in town for a visit to see Gun Young Kim's thesis show that looks terrific, images coming soon! I am thankful I was able to spend Valentines Day with this lovely lady. We started our day with fresh cold pressed juice from a new organic juice bar Native Juice. We visited the greenhouse and planted some vegetables and flowers that Lindsay gave me for my birthday! My greenhouse space sometimes feels private because few people come visit my plants; I think that is why I love sharing it on the blog! I had a really nice time showing her around and planting seeds with a great friend who loves planting as much as I do. After we used up our green thumbs we headed to a lecture “Performing to Politics of Food and Agriculture” by Dr. Ann Folino White professor and Michigan State University. A powerful lecture on ‘theater and food’ a topic that I had not considered prior. Following the lecture we had dinner at the Crest in Clintonville one of my favorite restaurants. We finished the evening with our first ever men’s gymnastics meet… amazing need I say more.

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