A Visit to The National Heirloom Exposition

by Kirke on September 17, 2013

National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa California 2013
National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa California 2013
National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa California 2013
The Baker Family Band entertains
The Baker Family Band entertains
The Baker Family Band entertains

 

Last year, while marveling at images of a skyscraper-sized winter squash tower at the 2nd National Heirloom Exposition held at the Sonoma County Fair Grounds in Santa Rosa California, I swore I would not miss the 3rd. Over three days in September, the site plays host to farmers, gardeners, livestock breeders, seed marketers and conservators, chefs; advocates of permaculture (sustainable ecological systems), non-GMO farming, and organics; side by side with craftspeople, and assorted relevant vendors. On display are heirloom produce of all shapes and varieties, examples of American livestock breeds, flowers galore, and food and music with which it can all be enjoyed.

The previously mentioned squash skyscraper gained national attention when it appeared on the White House lawn in October of 2010. Mac Condill of The Great Pumpkin Patch and Homestead Seeds is the farmer/architect of both behemoths. Besides the real life cornucopias of produce featured in the above slideshow, the following exhibits drew my attention:

Mary’s Free-Range Air Chilled Organic Chickens whose best flavor virtues I wrote about earlier when promoting Roostertail’s rotisserie roasting of their birds.http://roostertailsf.com/

I was very impressed by Paula Amerine’s exquisite, scientific illustration quality, and yet consummately artistic interpretations of vegetation. I would pick her work for a cookbook, if I choose to produce one. Check her out at: http://www.amerineartworks.com/

Look into supporting Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), a non-profit that audits, certifies and supports independent family farmers, and then provides labels that consumers can depend on to determine the producers using humane methods to raise farm animals. They have the strictest guidelines out there, yet unfortunately, AWA only cover less than .001% of U.S. animals raised for slaughter. Hopefully that number will grow. See at: http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/

Want to know which foods or seeds are non-GMO? Do you want to do anything that will piss off Monsanto? Are you a California resident that voted for the failed GMO labeling act? Subscribe to The Organic & Non-GMO Report published by Ken Roseboro. And see the movie GMO OMG. Go to: http://www.non-gmoreport.com/

All the above are great resources. But what really got me jazzed at The Heirloom Exposition was what I found at the Symphony of the Soil table. I had been following the making of the provocatively named documentary for what seems like a couple of years, waiting impatiently to ameliorate my lack of a good biology education. There at their table was a special advance copy of the DVD that premiered at the Environmental Film Festival at the Nation’s Capital of the Smithsonian Institute in March of 2012. The film  is an enlightening introduction to the living tissue of our planet, the thin skin of soil that gives sustenance to all life. Copies will soon be available at their website. However, you can attend screenings locally in the Bay Area at The Smith Rafael Film Center on September 27- October 2, and at The Roxie in San Francisco on September 28th.   Here is the trailer:

 

 

References:

Studies reveal concerns over farm animal welfare greatly impact consumer purchasing. (2010, April 20). Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://freefromharm.org/farm-animal-welfare/concerns-over-animal-welfare-drives-consumer-decisions-about-what-meat-and-dairy-products-they-buy/

Harvey, M. V. (2011, January 22). Parsing the new ‘humane’ food labels. Retrieved September 17, 2013, from http://grist.org/article/food-2011-01-21-parsing-the-new-humane-food-labels/

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

joy September 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Tomatoes and pepper pictures make me cry … and the trailer is beyond fabulous. Thanks for sharing , Kirke..I am both educated and encouraged.. but send me some tomatoes!

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Kirke September 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Thanks Joy! Good to hear from you. Symphony of the Soil made me cry. But shed no tears for tomatoes. I am hard at work on a cherry tomato themed post with a movie and recipes. It should be up by early next week. Tide yourself over by checking out last season’s “For the Love of Tomatoes” and check out my slideshow “The Sensual Tomato.”

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