Sunday, April 15, 2007

Plant a seed...

Last Wednesday, I attended a one day conference in Hillsborough, NC. It was hosted by the Cedar Grove UMC. The church is a beautiful structure, built with forethought, as the spacious fellowship hall and library are both off the central vestibule as you enter the structure.

The conference was on faith, food and farming. Called Come To The Table, it was a great way to spend a cold and rainy early spring day.

The first speaker was Dr. Ellen Davis from Duke Divinity School, her homily was contrasting a "Pharaoh" farming model from the "Hebrew" model of faith. Egypt horded food while Isreal trusted God daily for a supply. Egypt relied on centralized control of agriculture , while the Hebrews looked to God each day for Manna in the morning and quail in the afternoon.

Scott Marlow was from RAFI-USA, he is a specialist in farm sustainability and did a great job explaining the state of the farm in NC. Our hope for high-quality-fresh food IS the family farm, not LARGE farming corporations.

Jill Bullard rounded out the morning session, she founed the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle of Raleigh, NC. It is one of the largest food recovery and distribution services in the country. They rescued, processed and distributed over 1.5millbs of food lest year. She is an amazing woman, with an amazing story of mercy and grace. Hunger is a community problem, it should be solved at the community level.

Lunch was prepared by a farmer/chef. He used locally produced beef,the greens for a wonderful salad were from a local biodynamic grower, Infinity Farms, while the strawberries were from a local patch. An Orange County cheese maker provided fresh product for lasagne and the ladies of the church baked pound cakes that only church ladies can bake. It was a testimony in the mouth, that buying food locally from good-steward sources has long lasting benifits.

The afternoon was inspiring for me, as we heard the story of a Granville County(that my home) Farmer who has made the transition from Tobacco. Mr and Mrs Barker are the last African-American dairy farmers in N.C. They have formed a non-profit to assist other small farmers, not only to transition to food crops, but to prosper. They have formed a co-op and sell their product direct to consumers large and small. I look forward to getting to know them better in the future.

I heard and learned a truck load. I am still synthesizing the whole day, from the stories to the community garden Cedar Grove UMC has formed. It will be weeks, even months before I know what to do with all I learned. I know this now, it does not matter WHY someone is hungry, it matters if you and I feed them. It does not matter what the farmer grew, it matters how he will stay on his land and use his gifts. It does not matter how much money we make, if we waste food by buying to much, it is wrong.

All of this got me to thinking more about these.
Honey bees are my way of "farming". I hope to grow a pretty good apiary in the next few years.
75% of all the fruits and veggies we eat are dependent on the honey bee for pollination. Without them fresh fruits and vegetables would cease to exist The picture at the left are my ladies making new honey in new wax comb they have completed building.

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