I know, weird title. Does it intrigue you to read on? I’ll try and make this quick. (Um, that didn’t work.)
Today I went to the Northeast Organic Farmers’ Association (NOFA) summer conference. Late afternoon activities got pretty much rained out, too bad because I wanted to see some sheep dog duck herding. But I did get to attend 3 talks and eat some nice organic food.
Health and good, unadulterated food is a passion of mine, if you haven’t figured that out already. Although I guess I post more about my dog on this blog lately. He’s also a passion of mine.
Anyhow….the first talk I attended was about Biodynamic Farming. Wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. I was hoping to get some tips on pest management, given a recent squash bug infestation in my garden, but there weren’t any. We may just not have gotten to it, it appears to be a pretty big topic. The big take away for me was that the ideal farm is a closed system. Which requires an animal if you want manure so ideally an animal that lives on your farm and eats vegetation from it. Somebody did ask the presenter what he thought about using human manure. He didn’t think much of it. Well, good. There was also stuff about optimal planting times and some really weird ways of getting minerals to enrich your soil, involving burying a cow’s horn filled with fresh manure then mixing that result with water in a whirlpool motion for an hour. I’m not sure I’m ready to take my garden to that level. I can barely find the time to weed.
The next talk I attended was a demonstration on making no-knead bread (it sits for 12-18 hours). I also got to ask some questions about milling your own flour. The bread was DELICIOUS and really easy to do. From the same dough she made a bread, pitas, pizza and some kind of spicy Armenian flat bread. I have some recipes. I will be ordering a book she had on the table and trying this. Hand down this was my favorite session.
At lunch I met a couple of people and one of them told me about a potential ant treatment involving a kind of dirt (DE) that basically dries the ant up. She wound up putting it around the foundation of her home, inside and out. Involved, but the treatment is non-toxic. I’ll do that to keep my house from being destroyed by ants!
The last talk was by a young woman (with her baby) who spoke about ways to make the kitchen healthier, including making your own condiments, vinegar, etc. She also talked about the importance of a meal plan. Fail for me in that area; I am now on a mission. I will try and make a lot of the stuff she suggested. She, too, had some recommended books that I’m going to check out.
During that last talk, someone asked the question of how she could talk her daughter out of being a vegetarian. It became pretty clear that the bulk of the room were non-vegetarian Weston-Price/Sally Fallon thinkers. Which is okay by me, I respect people coming to different conclusions on diet, because there are a lot of conflicting studies out there. I even have Sally Fallon’s book and was going to go that route for awhile until I did additional research and found ideas (based on the China study) that resonated even more with me. It was kind-of a creepy feeling, though, listening to them vegetarian bashing. I turned to the girl next to me (who happens to work at IBM, small world!) and said “I’m a vegetarian.” She answered, “I am, too.” I figured I’d just bite my tongue and did for quite awhile until…..
This lady in front of us who had been quite vocal started spouting off about how you need fat in your diet, and some book, and how she eats lots of bacon. That’s when me and my big mouth couldn’t keep quiet any more.
“I’m a vegetarian, I said. And I did a lot of research on diet when my friend got cancer and there are a lot of opinions out there. I think diet is a personal thing, like religion, and you have to do your own research and make your own decisions on how you want to eat.”
It seemed like even the lady who asked the original question nodded her head in agreement. But the spouter went on spouting for a bit about her nutritionist and coming back from near death and how there are lots of long term studies supporting what she believed and how you have to be open minded.
At that point, I think I mumbled something about there being other studies out there like the China study and there being other ways to get fat in your diet like nuts and avocados, but I didn’t want to belabor an argument with someone who clearly had made up her mind and it was now closed.
Passion buttons. When they get pressed things can get messy.