Special thanks to event organizer Dr. Jennifer Taylor for the insightful and delicious Earth Day feast and conversation with internationally known agrarian elder, Jim Gerritsen at the Indigo Bistro Restaurant in Tallahassee.
A crowd of about 50 people, including many small, local farmers attended to hear Jim speak on organic farming, growing the best organic potatoes, building resilient agriculture and food systems, the role of organic farms, and threats to organic food security and organic food integrity:
"Organic farming IS the traditional agriculture, going back 10,000 years. What is recently termed as "conventional" agriculture isn't that at all, but it should be more correctly called chemically enhanced agriculture.
Organic farming is good food systems that are economically, politically and environmentally sustainable.
It's propaganda that organic farming cannot feed the world. It's the only thing that can.
The world also has to deal with its enormous food waste problem. Of the food that is produced, at least 40% goes to waste.
Remember, hunger is not a food problem, it's a problem of poverty."
Jim Gerritsen has been a successful organic farmer for more than 30 years. He and his wife Megan own and farm Maine’s Organic Wood Prairie Family Farm.
He spoke frequently of the many times here his children and his neighbors helped in plantings and harvests. Noting his successful farm, some of the nearby farms in Maine are adopting many of his organic farming methods
He has served for over twenty years on the Certification Committee of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). He co-founded and now serves as President of the national farmer-run membership trade organization, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA). He has cooperated in numerous on-farm research trials with scientists, including those from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Maine.
The OSGATA has published a Farmer's Handbook to help protect organic farmers and their organic crops from genetically engineered (GE) contamination. Written by the national farmer-run membership organization for the organic seed trade, the book serves as a one-stop mitigation tool. It is available as a free digital download here or a print edition can be ordered for $5.00 shipping and handling.
Support your local farmers! To farmers who contributed to the feast, a Special Thanks:
Bumpy Road Farm, Crescent Moon Farm, Full Earth Farm, iGrow Youth Farm, Little Eden Heirloom Farm, Owen River Farm LLC, Ripe City Urban Farm, Sanguon's Garden, The Ragged Glory Farm and Turkey Hill Farm.
Thanks also to Trader Joe's for their donation of certified organic potatoes.
This Earth Day event was a collaborative effort of our community including FAMU StateWide Small Farm Program, IFAS/Cooperative Extension-Leon County, Sustainable Tallahassee, Florida Organic Growers, local small farmers and Indigo Bistro, an organic restaurant. Located at 1690 Raymond Diehl Road, #Tallahassee, they serve local, organic food until 2:00 PM, Monday through Saturday.