First farming conference, and some new additions

Cross posted from MyFolia journal

Things have been fairly quiet on the planting front – getting settled in to our new jobs and all has been keeping us pretty busy. However, when I heard that there would be a conference on organic farming here in St. John’s, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity! (The conference was from Oct. 22-24, 2010)

Friday night was a dinner, social, and panel discussion. The meal was pretty much all local to the Avalon peninsula (that’s the chunk of Newfoundland that St. John’s sits on), tasty, and beautifully presented. I wish I had taken a picture, but I was quite hungry when the main course came out. I sat with several local farmers, including one of the proprietors of Growdat Farms, on the Northern Peninsula. I enjoyed the panel discussion, though a lot of the “questions” were more statements directed at the panel member representing the AgriFoods department from the province, and a lot of those statements boiled down to “you need to do more.” While I definitely understand their position, I have to say that the department here does a pretty good job of making the programs clear and accessible. I haven’t applied to any, so I can’t speak to the quality of the bureaucracy, but I think that the government is heading in the right direction.

Saturday was primarily focused on in-room sessions. I heard a lot of interesting speakers, but I think the real value for me was the discussions I had with people outside the sessions. In particular, I had a very interesting chat with Wayne Roberts, one of the special guests and author of The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food. He had some very interesting ideas, some of which I’ll write about later.

The best part for me was Sunday: on-farm sessions. I got a chance to see first-hand how these farms are run, and listen to some people with a LOT more experience share ideas. It got me thinking, there’s so much knowledge stored in the heads of local farmers here, and a lot of them seem willing to share at least some of it…there’s got to be a way of cataloging it, to help the younger generation. In particular, those who don’t come from an agricultural background could really benefit from what they’ve learned.

Back at my garden, I haven’t planted the garlic yet, as it’s been unseasonably warm, and I don’t want them to get too far along before the cold comes. I did obtain a couple of new additions to my gardening efforts: a couple packets of locally-raised Kale seeds, and a tri-colour pepper plant in a pot. I’ve been told the peppers from this plant are quite hot, so I’m looking forward to harvesting a couple to try.

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