Local food and farming conference a sell-out
Nevada County's first Sustainable Local Food and Farm Conference, slated for this Saturday, is already a sell out, testifying to the growing interest in local food production in this Sierra Nevada foothill community.
Strong grassroots efforts to link consumers with farmers are making Nevada County a force in the foothills, according to an article about the conference in The Union.
“It's one of the more advanced areas. There's kind of that mindset already here,” the article quotes Roger Ingram, county director and farm advisor for UC Cooperative Extension in Nevada, Sierra and Placer counties.
Keynote speaker at the event is Joel Salatin, a self-described "Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic farmer." Salatin's Virginia farm is featured prominently in Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma and the documentaries Food Inc. and Fresh.
Salatin’s philosophy of farming emphasizes healthy grass on which animals can thrive in a symbiotic cycle of chemical-free feeding, according to Wikipedia. Cows are moved from one pasture to another rather than being centrally corn fed. Then chickens in portable coops are moved in behind them, where they dig through the cow dung to eat protein-rich fly larvae while further fertilizing the field with their droppings.
According to the Union article, the Nevada local food movement gained steam in 2005 when a small band of farmers, advocates and citizens - including UC Cooperative Extension in Nevada County - started the Local Food Coalition, and from that Nevada County Grown.
“There just seems to be this great burgeoning interest in this,” said Jeri Ohmart, Food Systems and Organic Outreach Program Assistant for the University of California's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, based at UC Davis.
Nationally known farmer Joel Salatin is a keynote speaker at the local food conference.