I had the privilege of introducing Diane Daniel for her presentation on Farm Fresh North Carolina which is also the title of her book. This also put me at the “President’s Table” near the podium. Sitting at the front always make me feel like one of those eager beavers in a class room. I felt even more this way when Diane asked if anyone recognized the animals in one of her early slides and my hand shot up and I shouted out “alpacas!” This was not because I’d already heavily sampled her very interesting book but because my brother inNorthern Virginiahas recently acquired 3 alpacas. Last spring I spent an interesting Saturday with him at a farm wrestled 75 alpacas to the ground to be sheared.
Diane’s book is essentially a travel book and she put over 23,000 miles on her Honda visiting all the farms that she describes in the book. But what I found really interesting about the book were the stories of the people on these working farms that also open their doors to curious tourists eager to learn something about their state. It’s also a little subversive. The client of mine whose urban agriculture project I described in my introduction, dismissed me good naturedly as “too set in my ways” to embrace this trend that encompasses concepts of “slow food,” “sustainable farming,” “urban agriculture,” “community supported agriculture” and “farm to table.” He’s probably right, but Diane’s book reinforces a new impulse to seek out and enjoy fresh organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products and even meat. [Read more…]