Sunday, March 13, 2011

Georgia Organics Recap - The Funny Farm POV

Ok, y'all asked for it :p

The Scary:
Georgia shrimp is still sweet and delicious, unadulterated by additives courtesy of BP. However the person who served said shrimp has been totally adulterated by the Rush, Beck, Hannity, Fox cabal. When we were leaving after eating our shrimp our waitress/bartendress shouted out to the blaring TV, "look they are dragging the protesters out of the capital in Wisconson!" "Oh, no" i said. Then she said, "those damn democrats, they should kill the all!" Luckily she had not heard what i said. We dashed out of there as fast as we could.

The Absurd:
My good friend Polly Sattler is as hard-working and passionate about righting the wrongs in the world as anyone i know. Her organization Greenplate works to rid the world of plastic stuff, particularly disposable food containers and utensils. "Compostable" plates, cups, and utensils were used for the breakfast and dinners. (no comment). However vendors who were giving samples were not required to use them and mostly did not. There were receptacles around the room for recyclable stuff, compostable stuff and trash. They had little signs on them indicating which items went into which receptacles. Many times i watched people walk up to the receptacles, look at the pile of stuff in their hands, look at the signs, roll the eyes, say out loud in one case, "this is too complicated", and dump everything in the nearest one. Of course this was not Polly's fault or Georgia Organics fault or the attendees fault. It is a sign of how absurd our world has become when we cannot figure out what to do with the trash without creating a lot of frustration and, no doubt, guilt. Everyone involved wanted to do the right thing whatever that is. "The right thing" in my opinion is to wash the fucking dishes! Maybe it cost more money but what are the hidden costs of continuing on the way we are going? We will pay for it sooner or later!

The Moderately Hopeful:
Dr. John Ruberson an entymologist at UGA is doing excellent, well thought out research on biocontrol of insects in organic growing systems. I spent some time talking with him at Relinda Walker's excellent 40 acre organic vegetable farm where he is conducting research. I asked him when he would be publishing the work. He did not have an answer to that question. He said that the last thing they wanted to do was to jump the gun and get it wrong fearing that would drive people back to chemical control. His work is focused on farmscaping, planting flowering perennials that will attract beneficial insects to control pests. He is working with a few plants at a time monitoring what insects (good and bad) are attracted to the plants. He scouts the crops to see if the good are winning the battle for the crops. He also in monitoring to determine if the farmscaping plants will become pesky weeds themselves. He and his team are doing this at several farms around the state. When they feel comfortable with the work and can make recommendations we will definitely benefit. This can definitely be a lifetime project. And it requires funding. The new farm bill is coming up again soon. We must work to defend this type of research.

Even More Hopeful:
Anthony Masterson premiered their movie "GROW" at the conference. It was very enjoyable to watch. It is a celebration of young farmers in Georgia. They are smart, intelligent, passionate, and thoughtful. They understand they are running a business and it is not an easy business. They believe in community building with their customers and with other farmers. Go see it when you have an opportunity.
Mixed Feelings:
I met a lot of interesting, passionate people doing good work. I reconnected with a lot of people i see very infrequently. Holly and I went to dinner in Savannah Friday night and saw large group of bored teens hanging around a decrepit pizza joint, smoking cigarettes and scaring the crap out of the customers at Paula Deen's Restaurant across the street. We had drinks in a basement bar where everyone was preparing for the debauchery that is St. Patrick's Day in Savannah. There were about 1000 mostly smiling happy people at the conference across the river. I know i live in an insular, rather incestuous world. It is good to get a reality check once in a while. I came home excited to get back into the garden where i feel relatively safe. We are a small and growing band of warriors. We have a very long way to go.
Remember, Mother Nature does not care whether Homo sapiens continues to exist or not.

It is up to us!


Lindsey said...

thanks for the recap. that farmscaping does sound promising. very life- supporting and non-threatening. basically, a diverse variety of perennials will go a long way towards a balanced ecosystem, is the way i see it.... we could research all day and still miss a lot of beneficial interactions.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for this, Duane. Glad there was some good stuff going on. We were really bummed not to be able to go this year, but lambing keeps us close to the farm right now. Did you stick around for Dr. Shiva's talk? If so, how was it?

duane marcus Facebook me! said...

Lindsey- I have been using farmscaping for years. Definitely brings in the beneficials.

Rebecca- I left before the dinner. Word via twitter was that she was a no show due to family emergency or something.

Michael said...

Thanks Duane, You shoulda stuck around for dinner. No Dr. Shiva but the food was great. I always appreciate your perspective.