Farm Share at Windy Acres in Oregon

From Michael Schmidt:

The table is set for guests at Windy Acres Farm in Oregon.

It was a moment of surprise for Mark McAfee and me as we drove into the lane of Windy Acres farm.

We weren’t blown away from the wind at Windy Acres Farm, we were blown away by the size, the complexity and diversity. This farm was run not by one or two or three men. This farm was managed by just one modest woman ready to take on the world for the” Right to Choose”.

L-R: Chef Lynn Wright, Queen Billie Johnson (Farmer), Michael Schmidt, Carol, the mother and helper of Lynn . Photos courtesy of Michael Schmidt.

In the shadow of the majestic Cascade mountains with it’s pearl-string of sleeping Volcanoes, Billie Johnson decided to create the first Farm Share community in the US.

After I had a brief meeting with her in Dallas she and her dear friend Lynn Wright created last weekend a moment of farm magic blessed by the most beautiful weather.

Hard at work behind the scenes of a massive scale dinner party.

There was music, the was dance and the was a four course dinner for over 100 people, surrounded by cows, sheep, chicken and turkeys.

Lynn Wright a first rate chef in my humble opinion transformed the products from the farm and from friends into a symphony of taste.

A few of the 100 + guests at the event.

Pete Kennedy from the Farm to Consumer Legal defense Fund described in his festive speech the legal challenges farmers face across this continent. Not to forget the relentless actions by the FDA.

For the first time he talked about the urgent need to create ethical and communal financing and investment institutions to help farms like Windy Acres to move to more independence. He urged communal investment that supports true sustainability and less need of Government financing.

Pete Kennedy of Farm to Consumer Legal Defense was among the speakers.

He applauded Billie Johnson in her determination to change the social structure of owner ship and encouraged all the guests to become part of the first Farm Share Community in the US.

Mark McAfee in his usual upbeat enthusiasm presented a broad background about the concept of food safety in the overall context of today’s sterilizing culture. Once again he put the risk of raw milk into its proper context.

Air Raw Milk: Michael Schmidt with Mark McAfee and his plane.

Blaine, his always present wife and partner, briefly reflected privately with me on the personal consequences of the latest recalls and the relentless criticism they are facing from all sides.

I do understand her very well.

I myself appealed to the guests to explore the need to take responsibility for their own food and not to leave the farmer out there alone in the wilderness to carry all the risks.

Signage at the event.

New partnerships need to be formed, a new understanding for food has to grow and the need to create farms together with the those in need of food, has to become the priority for all.

I stressed the point that we need to learn to cultivate the soil and to create an island of hope where we cultivate the souls of the future generation.

At the end we toasted in honor of the Queen. ……..No, not the Queen of England. We toasted in honor of the Queen of Windy Acres Farm

“Billie Johnston”

Fiddlers practicing before the main event.

“Lots of strength on your  journey of challenging the non sleeping giants of corporate agriculture. Become an island of hope in the high desert of Oregon”.

Michael Schmidt

Poster for the Farm Share event.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Farm Share at Windy Acres in Oregon

  1. Wow! I would love to have been there-looks like it was a beautiful event, and a beautiful slice of heaven on earth!!!

  2. Lynn Wright

    Thanks Michael for this wonderful account of “Farm To Table: Freedom Of Choice” and the glorious photos. Tears are streaming down my cheeks, it was so beautiful, wasn’t it? The word is a better place because you are in it. I am truly blessed to have Billie, you, Mark & Pete in my life. Plus my mother (Carol) husband Bob and cooking partner Dave supporting me in this cooking adventure on Billie’s farm. I am fully committed to preserving my rights as a free American to choose the foods I eat from the sources I want – direct from the farm!

  3. Jeanie Honn

    Impressiave event for a necessary cause!

  4. Michael, great to see you and Mark McAfee together again, like I saw at the Dallas WAPF Conference last November! Also great to see so much grass roots support for local raw milk there in Oregon. Hope you had a wonderful time and keep up the good work!

  5. Barbara

    The dedication, humility, conscientiousness, and camaraderie of those who helped make this event a success, as well as the appreciative attitude of those who enjoyed the luscious fruits of the farm table, was amazing. This wonderful energy carried through the day and gave us all a positive view of what the future will bring! It was a privilege to watch it unfold from bud to harvest to thoughtful afterglow!

  6. bob downs

    Michael has written a splendid paean to a splendid event. As the husband of Chef Lynn, my contribution was minimal, but I feel compelled to say that there were far too many empty chairs at the event. If the right to choose food of our choice is to be preserved, people must put their money and energy into the cause; otherwise big government and big ag will squash the effort.

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