From Michael Schmidt:
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
“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”.