Here’s an excerpt from a long and wonderful report by Augie from the Journal of Whole Food and Nutritional Health, July 25th, 2009:
“In the heart of the world’s largest Amish settlement that spans three Ohio counties, we attended Family Farm Field Day with 3000 Amish and Mennonites. Along with us were about 100 Ohio Connections members and members of The Weston A. Price Foundation.
Set on the organic dairy farm of David and Emily Hershberger (who are also editors of Farming Magazine) a festive atmosphere was created with a theme of family farm operations, food and animal production and care– with the right touch of home remedies and alternative health care. Joel Salatin, a national icon for sustainable, traditional farming, was the keynote speaker in two awesome sessions.
Family Farm Field Day is “to provide an educational format for grassbased agriculture that: supports low energy and a nonindustrial way of farming; encourages family lifestyles that promote cohesive, economical, and healthy rural living skills; and seeks to build morale and enthusiasm in the farming community.”Joel Salatin is a farmer, lecturer, and author whose books include “You Can Farm,” “Salad Bar Beef,” and “Everything I Want to Do is Illegal.” Salatin owns Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia and is also the supplier for the Chipotle Mexican restaurant chain. He was the first person I met and talked to as soon as I arrived at the farm festival.
Joel shared shocking news with his keynote “This Is What I See Coming”. Included in this talk was how over regulation is causing destruction of organic farms in California and that any person offering food to the public will be regulated under the Food Safety Enhancement Act—which I call the Total Food Control Act.
Marvin Wengerd moderated a session on simple homemade herbal and other remedies for children;
Flower arrangement was demonstrated by Emily Hershberger with flowers from her massive gardens up the lane. Bread baking and yogurt making was demonstrated by Karen Geiser. I talked a few minutes with Karen and she does cooking demonstrations with locally produced food at world famous Lehman’s hardware store in Kidron who caters to the Amish. A session was also held on basketweaving. Robert Miller talked about trapping animals on the farmstead.
Under the Natural Resources tent, children were able to use microscopes on soil samples and bugs. There were children’s activities such as taking care of small animals and farm animal safety; learning to juggle balls; bike safety demonstrations; farm safety; beehive care; ladybugs project; other activities. The children of all ages touched me with their innocence and intelligence– and their laughter.
Among the vendors there was Jonathan Miller, a plumber who specializes in solar-powered pumping systems. He built a system for David and Emily from a water well on a hill that pumped water to a cistern with a solar-powered pump that provided water to his 180-acre dairy farm. Solar has excellent applications for remote locations or for those who want to be off the electric grid. I spoke with Jonathan and some standers by about the ridiculous federal and state government plans to convert farmlands to be used for windmills and solar panels to produce 25% of all the electric power demand in the US. I told them it will not work and they shook their head in total agreement.
High points for me were the beautiful children, the women of all ages, many with with babies and toddlers. They picnicked on pasture as families, kids scampered and played. Men talked together about farming, business and tools; women and the girls learned about cooking and flower arrangements. Men and boys learned to train ponies, herd sheep with dogs and how to pick out the best cow at a sale….”