The Convergence & Mixer is happening December 3 at the Finnriver Cidery in Chimacum, WA. Here's an update on the preparations.
Someone mentioned at the November 13 showing of the farm film “Sustainable” in Port Townsend that back in the height of the Grange movement that it was typical for 200 people to show up for a grange meeting, potluck and dance. For all of our modern communication technology it is likely that farmers are less in touch with each other today than they were 100 years ago.
Today, what are the events that bring the farming community together on the North Olympic Peninsula? The Farmers Markets for one, but the farmers hardly ever leave their booths to talk to other farmers. The County Fair brings a lot of the farming community together. How much does the County Fair farm community overlap with the organic farm community? There are various plant sales and garden shows which bring together the horticultural subset of farmers. There are the lavender farmers in Clallam County, what else?
We are trying something new with the Farmers Convergence & Mixer.
Good networking & good dancing.
Farmer Mixer Band
The High Waisted Ramblers and Joanne Pontrello, locally-renowned square dance caller, will play some great dance music. Joanne, Davy and friends are well connected in the local farming community and we are happy to support a local band. Joanne will call some square dances plus they will play Two Step and Cajun music.
We plan to have one or several discussion groups happen every hour on the hour in the afternoon. The Convergence schedule is still taking shape and we want your input.
Discussion group periods
2:00 - 3:00
3:00 - 4:00
4:00 - 5:00
Each period can start a bit late and end a bit early to accommodate the back-to-back schedule. Everything is just a few steps away at the Finnriver venue. If a subset of a discussion group wants to move to a small table to continue their discussion and planning they can do so.
* Local Seed Discussion Group.
Proposed by Tessa Gowan, Seed Dreams.
* Farmland accessibility and the rising cost of land.
Proposed by Alexa Belbling, Moonlight Farm.
* Menu for the Future.
Proposed by Judy Alexander. Jefferson County Local Food Systems Council.
* Agriculture Policy
Proposed by Michael Pilarski.
Government agriculture policy discussion. Zoning and farmworker housing will be two components. This would be an opportunity to write up a list of proposals for policy change at the city, county, state and federal government levels. In particular, statements on behalf of farmers and farming to Jefferson’s County’s 20-year plan which they are about to adopt. Here is a chance to give some input. What would us farmers like to see? Perhaps the discussion can come up with a short statement by farmers to the County Commissioners, Planning Board and citizens. A general statement that can be ratified by the larger group during the event. While it is true that farmers are a very small voting block, we have the support of all the people who like quality food, local food and support local food and local farmers. This is a very big constituency. Indeed the foodies have been called the biggest social movement in the US today. Jefferson County farmers should rally the support of this large constituency on our behalf. A good public statement would help do so. What’s already been done to address farmers’ concerns in this planning? We anticipate having someone from the county commissioners and planning board’s offices attend to be part of the discussion and hear farmer’s viewpoints.
* What discussions would you like to see?
Farming Awards Ceremony
This is a Paper Plate Award Ceremony. We will have paper plates emblazoned with the words:
2017 North Olympic Peninsula Farmers Convergence & Mixer
In acknowledgement of their contribution to agriculture and the food community.
There will be space for you to write down the person(s) name and what the award is for. The nominator will make a short speech and present the award to the recipient. The recipient can give a short speech and receive the applause of the group. This is a way to recognize those folks who have been doing good work in feeding people and agriculture in general: food production, processing, distribution, conservation, sustainability or other radical acts.
Priority will be given to awards for individuals who are present at the convergence. If time allows we can give awards to people who are not present. There will be a table where the paper plate awards are available to fill out and a sign-up list. There will be a calligrapher on hand to assist.
Lend a hand at the convergence.
Some of the positions needing filled are:
* Ribbon coordinator. Ribbon armbands with different colors for farmers, farmworkers, buyers, organizations . . .
* Farming Awards Ceremony facilitator.
* Award calligrapher.
* Food donation table feng shui (for the band/staff). Keep it organized.
Contact: Michael Pilarski
Previous details are at:
Facebook page www.tinyurl.com/farmermixer
Sponsors include: Friends of the Trees Society, Port Townsend Food Coop. Abakis Music, Jefferson County Local Food System Council, Olympic Peninsula Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Nash’s Organic Produce, WSU County Extension...