It’s been a whirlwind of a week at my place this week. Our new daughter, Juniper, was born on Tuesday and after some minor complications both she and my wife came home on Friday. Everyone is doing well, and Vivian is settling into her role as big sister nicely. The Friday snow made the day almost overwhelming with excitement for her.
In the meantime, we (along with many, many other people) are preparing for the Georgia Organics conference coming to town this week. For several days, Athens and the local food system we’ve all helped put into place will get the full attention of a number of people from Georgia, the Southeast, and beyond. The conference and keynote address is sold out, but there is a public opening night reception Friday from 5 to 7:30 at the Classic Center. Entry is $10 at the door, and includes music from Hope For AGoldenSummer, pizzas baked by Mellow Mushroom with toppings from Athens Locally Grown, the tradeshow floor open, and other activities. In addition, venues throughout downtown including Farm 255 and Cine will be hosting open events related to the conference but not requiring a conference badge.
Many of our growers re hosting farm tours on Friday. I’ll be speaking at a session on Saturday about Athens Locally Grown and the locallygrown.net website in general. And the conference culminates Saturday with a “farmer’s feast” prepared by the finest chefs in the state (led by Athens’ own Hugh Acheson). The meal last year ranks right up there with one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and even if there were nothing else of interest during the conference I’d be looking forward to this.
If you’re not able to participate but want to follow along, Georgia Organics has created a social media hub that will tie together the online discussion in real time. Yes, some of us are old farmers with a mule, but we’re certainly not what you might picture when you think of old farmers with mules.
Also going on this Thursday is my own little min-conference bringing together several market managers of other markets, CSAs, and farms using locallygrown.net in their communities. We’ll be finishing out the day at Ben’s Bikes so they can see the Athens pickup first hand, so you may see a few new faces behind the tables when you get there.
And speaking of the tables at BEn’s Bikes, today I uploaded a video to YouTube that shows exactly what goes on in there before you arrive after 4:30. The growers, market volunteers, and I all arrive at 3:30 to put everything together, unload all the trucks, organize all the items, and try to get everything in place so it’ll go smoother for you when you arrive. I’ve condensed that hour down to eight minutes, added some nice music, and added captions to explain what’s going on. You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrP14KjI5v0. Feel free to pass it along to your friends!
That’s about it for this week. It’s a little early to be opening market, but somehow I doubt you’ll mind. Have a good week!
Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!
We’re starting to put a plan together on how best to use the space at Ben’s Bikes when the weather warms up and we really fill the back room. The first thing we want to tackle is the parking/walking space outside. The rain really did a number on the soil, and to make things worse the last storm took out one of those huge pecan trees behind the building. The heavy equipment needed to cut the thing up turned a large area of the lot to mud. We want to spread some gravel back there. Do any of you know of a source of free or cheap gravel that we can get delivered to the lot there? We can spread it around, but if the deliverer is able to do that too, so much the better. ALG depends on volunteer labor, so we don’t have much funds for this sort of thing. If you know of anyone who can help with this, please let me know.
We’re also making plans for an awning to give us more working space outdoors. We’ll put out a call for workers when it’s time to build that.
The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season too. All but Athens Locally Grown, that is.
Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!