"Eating is an agricultural act"

That's Wendell Berry. For those of you who have never read any Wendell Berry, you should. I have mostly read his agricultural essays. He wrote about what I now consider to be mainstream foodie topics (Thanks to Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver and Alice Waters) 30 years ago. He is also a farmer who doesn't own a tractor. He has a team of draft horses and a collection of "archaic" non-motorized iron tools. Wendell Berry is my hero. if I could invite 5 "famous" people to my dinner table he would be one of them.

About a month ago I was privileged to travel to Monterey, CA for the Hazon Food Conference. Hazon is the largest environmental organization within the Jewish Community. I had never heard of them until I applied to receive a grant to attend the food conference. They are a worthy organization and worth checking out and getting involved with. I had never heard of them because most of their activity is based on the coasts, NY and LA, because their is an infinitely larger Jewish population there than in Chicago. The conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with some wonderful like-minded people including my new friend Aaron Lerman, whose review of the conference you can read at the Jew and the Carrot, here. Other notable people worth checking out and supporting are:
Julie Negrin, a cooking teacher with a cookbook coming out in the spring. She lead the first of the sessions I attended and I am super excited about her book.
Abbe Turner, dairy goat farmer and cheesemaker extrodinaire. Her farm, Lucky Penny Farm, is located in Ohio. read LOCAL. A truly amazing person and I want to help her find a Chicago market and go visit her and the goats when it is a bit warmer out.
Anna Hanau, Farm manager at Adamah farm. This girl is intense when it comes to farming. in a really awesome way. She told us the best tractor story ever. I wish I could tell it but it will definitely lose something. I would like to be able to apply and work at Adamah this summer. We will see about that though there is lots going on at the moment.
Jonathan Silverman, farmer in the Bay area with lots of creative projects going on. My birthday fell during the conference and he sang happy birthday to me and presented me with a fancy chocolate bar for my cake/present.
Pesach Stadlin and Vivian Lehrer, husband and wife founders of the Eden Village Camp near NYC, Pesach taught a session on permaculture and incorporating it into your everyday life and was a wonderful teacher. Vivian moderated a Vegetable monologues panel of female farmers that included Anna Hanau and Abbe Turner. Eden Village Camp is in its inaugural year this coming summer and seems like a truly unique and dynamic opportunity for children. There are some discounts and scholarships available so if you know of some children who like to play in the dirt check them out!

I am still weeding through all the materials that I brought home and will probably say more as I do that. There is a group of us here in Chicago trying to get some projects off the ground for the community here and I also have a person project that I am going to use this blog as a platform for in the coming months as I start researching. i will tell you more about that in another post as this one has lots of info already!

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