Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Transparency-First Annual Farm Day

Addison Reddick and Lance & Ellye Sawyer pet a pregnant Gertrude

 This past Saturday was our first annual Farm Day and we had a blast.  I really enjoyed seeing our farmer's market friends strolling down the drive and interacting with the animals.  I told everyone to make themselves at home and to feel free to wander around the farm. Some people took me up on the invitation and took strolls down through the pastures, and out to the back of the farm.  We had made-to-order gorgeous fall weather-a bright sunny day and warm temperatures.  I had corraled the animals up near the house so that the kids could get a better look at them.
Minerva Jane-one of the dairy goats

 We strolled out into the pastures to see the horses and got mobbed by Jasmine, my old, twenty something donkey and Gertrude-wide and waddling ,as she is close to foaling, and stealing as much of the attention as she could.

Gertrude the (very wide) guard donkey!

I watched as my 30 year old Morgan horse, Cody, walked up to a little girl who barely came to his chest, stopped a respectful distance away and gently lowered his nose to her hand to be touched. 


 Heritage turkeys and geese strolled through the fallen leaves and we talked about the importance of raising animals naturally and in a clean and healthy environment. 

Heritage Bourbon Red turkeys graze in the fall sunshine

One boy looked at the turkeys pecking through the grass and leaves and commented on how clean they were and how bright and shiny.  Rufus, the mini pig, was a big hit as always although he had to go into "time out" a few times for stealing sweet potatoes out of the farm store boxes!

Rufus finishing off the Gala apples

When the last person had trailed down the drive, and Rufus had drug himself happy and stuffed (full of sweet potatoes and apples) into his straw bed, I started to reflect on what had happened that day and how I felt about it.  I enjoyed sharing my farm with my friends/customers (one and the same!).  The questions and conversations were stimulating and thought provoking.  We talked about how raising healthy, happy animals equated to healthy, nutritous and clean food.  I enjoyed the fellowship and the conversation immensely, but most of all it was about transparency.  Opening up the farm let people see, in person, the things that I talk about at the markets week after week-turkeys raised on grass, the goats that produce the milk for the soaps and lotions, a laying hen coop on wheels, empty, because the hens were all outside, busily scratching for bugs in the woods and on the lawn. 

Heritage hens graze and scratch on the back lawn

Lack of transparancy is finally catching up with our conventional food system.  Pigs are hidden behind concrete walls, turkeys are housed 5,000 to a building with "bio-hazard" and "No tresspassing" signs at the road, beef cattle stand in stockyards up to their knees in manure, safe from the eyes of the public.  No people allowed, no cameras, NO TRESSPASSING-because you would not buy their products if you saw how these animals were really treated and raised.  Transparency is important as we try and change our food systems.

Heritage American Buff Goose

In the spring, perhaps around the end of May, I'll have another open Farm Day and I hope that you can make it.  See how your food is grown, connect with your community and join in on the conversation-it's important for all of us.

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