This week I have had the good fortune to attend the 31st annual EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, California. On Wednesday we went on a tour of local organic farms, and I have been to a handful of lectures and seminars. Already my head is swimming with information about beneficial nematodes, the rights of farm workers, school gardens, the plight of pollinators, wetland restoration and sustainable cheese making.
On the farm tour we visited one of the only organic sheep dairies in the country; the cheese was amazing, and all of the animals are named after different flowers. (There will be more here about the farm tour next week)
Another fantastic thing about EcoFarm is that it is held at Asilomar, right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. (Did I already mention that it has been in the seventies all week here in January?) The meals served are also delicious, and always include vegan options, most of the ingredients are locally sourced, and green wastes are composted on site. The buildings at Asilomar are also quite beautiful; the facility was designed by one of the 20th century’s foremost architects, Julia Morgan.
EcoFarm brings together and eclectic mix of everything from organic farmers and educators to policy makers and parents. I have attended this conference in the past, although it has been a few years.
The first time I ever came here was back in the nineties. I remember sitting in the back of a great wooden hall, listening to Jonathan Richman sing about kale and naked farmers in “Circle I“, while I found myself sitting next to the (then) former governor of the state of California, Jerry Brown. As he bent over to tie his left shoelace, I remember not only my awe at sitting next to the man who ran my state when I was a child, but also being amazed by the amount and density of hair on the back of his neck. You just never know what you may discover at EcoFarm.