Damn Good Biking

Damn Good Biking
Mammath Mountain

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

4-30-09 FOOD FIGHT!!!


Normally a rebel yell for many lunch room- anarchist, protagonists.

But not this time. Now its from your local wayfaring farmer.

Or more so in this particular instance it’s the name of a documentary that will be showing in Santa Cruz on May 12th and an event in which I have been asked to be a speaker and participant at for the screening and post screening soiree.

To summarize "Food Fight" it is a look into how the California "local food" movement has created a counter revolution against major agribusiness and how those who believe in the sanctity of producing safe, delicious, and wholesome food from someone you know pull off the revolutionary magic that they do.

For brevity sake I'll leave it at that, but if you wish to fully explore the website listed here, COPY AND PASTE, please do.


Since arriving back in America nearly a year ago. My omnivore's odyssey has expanded well past any expectations well past my imagination and the rabbit hole is only getting deeper.

On May 12th, myself and hopefully as many of my fellow 39 farm apprentices from UC Santa Cruz will march down in our farmer duds to the theater for the screening and post screening soiree of "Food Fight" to energize the localvores and fellow food industry professionals that not only is a new generation of farmers, entrepreneur's, educators, writers, chef's, and food industry professionals in attendance; but that we are ready to mobilize a food movement within our own communities and also take the fight to the fat cat's who pull the strings on our food supply...

Hopefully their days are numbered!!!!!

When I attended Farm Aid last year, the only thing I understood from my Grade A "prime choice" seats was that I was witnessing an American food revolution from the front row. Still, some months later here I am, still front row, studying horticulture and organic production not only at one of the first and most revered organic training centers in America, but also underneath the tutelage and within the circles of some of the local- organic movements most prolific organic farmers and activists.

I regularly mention that it took 29 years of my life to get to Niger, once there, they gave me the tools to continue on afterwards. The village of Dan Saga, Niger taught me how to fight the bare knuckle fight against hunger and how to ascend towards village food security.

Currently I'm slotted to start a Veterans Village in Minnesota, and its only square 3 or 4.
( think of it like hopscotch).

Without the lessons from my sorely missed village in Niger I would be wandering, lost, asleep at the wheel so to speak. Instead my life unexpectedly made me a farmer and by continuing to live by wayfaring peacefully my life has become dedicated towards feeding folk, teaching veterans how to farm, and most importantly impacting communities at ground zero…..the dinner table.

Be well, eat well, and send me beef jerky.

P.S. Trapped in the blueberry patch last week I stomped a ground squirrel to death and ate it. Many of the vegans, vegetarians, and PETA spokespeople were a little grossed out but many of the other normal omnivores enjoyed its flesh just fine.

Personally I prefer Missouri squirrel.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The second Weekend in....

Greetings folk, today is a chilly mid 40's kind of day here in paradise. A stark climatic contrasts considering taking a field reading of about 96 F last week.

Under the blistering sun, many complained, but right at home was this former sahelien farmer gliding through the glorious grunt work of bed prepping, transplanting, direct seeding, and laying irrigation.

We had a action packed weekend off the farm, on Friday we had a house party complete with all the party normality's; a little dancing, some regurgitations, some more live music jams and many many laughs.

Though it should become a joke myself an Irishman, Iranian, and a Native American from the Hopi nation went to the near by Cabrillo farmers market to shill out plant sale brochures for our program.

After the farmers market we rallied again to participate in a day long celebration to raise money for the tent cabins which will replace the time tested and apprentice approved tents. On the menu was home made pizza, locally produced beer, and a little more bluegrass jam to spread evenly over the party which added a certain hint of locality and joviality.

So here I am minding me own on a Lazy sunday afternoon writing in preparation for my upcoming trip to Minnesota on the 16th of May fundraiser and seeing my potential veterans farm.....OH MY GOD!!!!

I just took a call, the Farmer Veteran Coalition was donated $130,00!!!!! Oh my, Oh my, Oh my!!!

Okay, gotta go, I"ll write more about this one very soon!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

4-19-09 Surfs Up Wayfarers

One week deep into training, my journey begins with thirty nine fellow apprentices/future friends.

I am eye balls deep in manure, literally, and I love it.

The past week has been a unique opportunity to spend time and meet with many like minded young professionals trying to make their own way within the food industry.

Many are farmers, some are writers, a couple are chefs, but most commonly have incredible experiences and global educations dedicated towards making the world a little greener and tastier for its inhabitants.

Santa Cruz's environment is embraced by a cool Mediterranean climate which potentials towards extended growing seasons, but water restrictions and fungal pressures keep this location from morphing into the garden of Eden it could be. Many within the community embrace local food production which adds a flavor of community but unfortunately falls short on sustainability in respect to the perimeters of sustainable living.

The male population of Santa Cruz work a range of jobs, but remain surfers mainly, but jacks of all trades none the less. The female population of Santa Cruz are professional, tanned, and thoroughly enjoy beaches and time to themselves during surf season.

In respect to my first week it was really good, but sorry this week seems to be looking even better. We begin classes, field work, as well as the whole organic vegetarian locally produced enchilada!

Today I made hamburgers "Nigerien Style" minus all the flies and larvae, very tasty!

Well there is so much more I could write about but…..I don't feel like it.

I just wanted to surface, say hello, and remind you that packets of Gatorade, tuna, and beef jerky would be as appreciated as they were in Niger.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Moving to Santa Cruz, 4-10 good buddies

Breaker! Breaker! What's your 20? Over!

Well, after a few wonderful months back in Virginia, 20+ acres of vineyard pruning, mandolin playing, rigorously training and studying in preparation for farm season, 2 New Jersey trips, 1 trip to Capital Hill, numerous meetings, discussions, outreach, and many memorable moments gained with my very lovely one.

Its time to go.

UC Santa Cruz Farm School is over a year and half in the making, and will last six months. Tomorrow I'm once again on the move. After the program Cathy and I are working on a deal to erect a Veterans Village in Sauk Centre Minnesota.

I will manage vegetable farming, field crops, and animals. Cat will manage green houses, flower production, and specialty crops. In essence we want to create a community enriched by agriculture, where food is grown from door step to field, and our community as well as neighbors will have a sustainable local food source.

Pruning for these last few months has given me ample time to digest the last two years of my life. "my omnivores odyssey" if you will.

Niger was the height of thirty years of life coming full circle. Since childhood my dream was to move into the African Bush and simply live. I can't explain it but this goal has always given me purpose in how I strangely move through life.

Niger was the culmination of this life achievement, but also the starting place for the next journey of my life. To become the farmer my villages taught me to be.

To become a farmer, and working with veterans is a merging of two parts of my adult life. The military and the Peace Corps. Each experiences drastically altered my perceptions of the world and impacted my life profoundly.

Leaving for this new journey I am once again nearly penniless and moving to a new place with literally nearly everything I own packable enough to ride on an airplane.

Being without money seldom worries me, I learned over the last two years that there are worst positions to be in, being without resourcefulness is one of them.

During the financial meltdown many kinds of folk from all types of classes are having to relearn how to live again. I think a possible solution to this equation is getting back to the roots (literally) and grow food.

The business of food and the structure of community has largely been eroded from our lifestyles. Food is more that sustenance, it is about people, building community, relationships, and learning how to care for our world.

Though I have lost nothing in the crises, my life has had everything to gain. Traveling has given me ample opportunity to observe, and learn how to create, not destroy.

Ultimately the greatest contrast between my Army and Peace Corps experiences.
I am exactly at the place and time I should be in.

As you can see over the last few months the blog has been neglected and my writing has waned for a short spell. Preparations for farm school also met ducking out of the world for a while to gather my thoughts and digest my experiences.

But this new journey now means recommitting to the little people…..

Y'all, my readers. I'll do my best to keep up on the goings on's

Thanks you all for the support, taking the time to read my blog, and most importantly many of our friendships.

Love Wastefully, 4-10! Over and Out!!

Josh the Farmer