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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

HOMEGROWN Life: A Fisherman’s View of Farm Aid 2014

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

 

We’re thrilled to share this guest post from Chris McCaffity, a member of the community-supported fishery Walking Fish and the first workshop presenter in the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent at Farm Aid 2014. We couldn’t have made it happen without him! Read on for more about Walking Fish, why community-supported fishing is crucial, and the September 13 concert in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

I was blessed with a chance to help represent Walking Fish at Farm Aid this year.

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The day started with a press event featuring Farm Aid founders Willie Nelson and Neil Young. Several small scale farmers explained how some corporations and politicians are controlling them and our food supply. Their stories mirrored much of what commercial fishermen experience. The best chance of survival for independent food producers is simply for consumers to purchase our products. Voting with our money can have more impact than voting for most politicians.

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We were scheduled first at the Skills Tent, immediately following the press event. The gates had just opened to the public, so our audience was small to start with but grew through the presentation as a steady stream of people joined us. A chef from Hatteras demonstrated how to clean some seafood as I talked about how consumers across the state could access local seafood through Walking Fish.

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After visiting educational booths with topics ranging from biodiesel to locally sourced food for schools, we got to enjoy some music in a sea of spectators.

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My daughter met Lillie Mae from Jack White’s band. Lillie told us about how one of her friends fished commercially as she graciously posed for a picture.

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It was inspiring to see so many people supporting independent food producers. Our collective purchasing power is the key to preserving our freedom to access healthy food from family farmers and fishermen.

You can learn more about Walking Fish on the fishery’s website and feel free to contact me, Chris, if you are interested in learning about how we can sustainably manage our fisheries to limit waste and produce more seafood. Ask me about how you can place special orders for the snapper/grouper and other offshore seafood I harvest.

Our hearty thanks to Chris, his family, and Walking Fish. You can browse more photos from the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent and read more about the North Carolina organizations we partnered with to make the workshops happen.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS McCAFFITY

Sneak Peek: HOMEGROWN Skills Tent Schedule at Farm Aid 2014!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

 

North Carolina, here we come! Farm Aid 2014 is right around the corner—September 13 at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, in Raleigh—and you may have heard that a bunch of real pros are headlining. (You know, just some guys named Willie, Neil, John, Dave, and Jack, among others.) But over on the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent schedule, you’re the talent!

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What’s this HOMEGROWN Skills Tent, you ask? Good question! From noon to 5 p.m. on the concert grounds, a county-fair-style hoedown called the HOMEGROWN Village sets up camp, featuring interactive exhibits from groups across the country. One of the main attractions in the Village is the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent, hosting hands-on workshops connected to food, farming, and homesteading—similar to the fun and juicy how-tos you know and love from the HOMEGROWN 101 library. Except live. In person. Requiring your elbow grease. (Can’t quite picture it? Check out photos from the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent at Farm Aid 2013.) Are you ready to get those hands dirty? Good! Here’s what’s on tap!

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HOMEGROWN SKILLS LINEUP!

12:30 p.m.
Shell-off Smackdown: Sustainable Fishing 101

What’s the right way to shuck an oyster or a clam? And what’s a community-supported fishery anyway? Find out when Chris McCaffity and Debra Callaway of the cooperative Walking Fish join chef Sharon Kennedy in a demo on shucking technique. Then pit your newfound skills against the pros in a shrimp-cleaning faceoff. Ready? Set? Shell!

1:30 p.m.
Hair-DO: Flower Crowns 101

Get gussied up for Farm Aid 2014 and support local farmers to boot! Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers, Durham’s sole local-only flower shop, leads a workshop on making hair garlands using North Carolina-grown flora provided by Spring Forth FarmWaterdog Farms, and Wild Hare Farm.

2:30 p.m.
Grow It Again: Seed Saving 101

Love the veggies you grew this year? Did you know you can save the seeds and reap their bounty again next summer? Hilary Nichols of SEEDS, a nonprofit educational community garden in Durham, walks you through the cleaning and storing process. Courtesy of the Digging Durham Seed Library, you’ll take home ready-to-plant seeds whose offspring you can save and share next year!

3:30 p.m.
Spice It Up: Pepper Jelly 101

Wondering what to do with all those chiles from your garden? Two words: pepper jelly. Audrey Lin and Debbie Donnald of Two Chicks Farm show you how to make your own spread while sharing some back-fence wisdom on farming and the benefits of fermented foods.

4:30 p.m.
Friends in Deed: Friendship Bracelets 101

Show your pal—and your environment—some love! Grab a buddy and make friendship bracelets from natural fibers (alpaca, sheep’s wool, hemp) with the good folks of Abundance NC.

 

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MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED!

First things first: Download the swanky new Farm Aid 2014 app and get concert updates on your phone!

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A (very!) few tickets for Farm Aid 2014 remain, but there are plenty of other ways to join the party! Visit farmaid.org/events for details on Friday farm tours, a Thursday-night dinner at City Farm in Raleigh, and more. Stay tuned to Farm Aid’s About the Concert page for news, and share your own route to the concert on social media using #Road2FarmAid. We’ll see you there!

 

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HOMEGROWN Life: Farmer Bryce’s Hoeing Playlist

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

 

HOMEGROWN-life-bryce-logo-150x150Toil. The word strikes fear in some. It makes others run for the hills. But toil is something that farmers like me must embrace.

Beneath the romantic vision of farming and agriculture lies a lot of monotonous and repetitive labor: hard, physical work. It’s not sexy or interesting much of the time. It’s just something you have to do. This is not unique to farmers. Construction workers, waitresses, factory workers, postal workers, and a lot other professions know the routine. Just do your job and try not to develop anger or resentment or destructive thoughts. Find a coping strategy and deal with it because there are things that need to get done.

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Hoeing, for instance, is one of those farming tasks I’d rather not have to deal with. But it’s 2014. We have something in our toolboxes our parents and grandparents never had. We have podcasts.

So, in honor of hoeing season and my attempts to hold back the growth of early summer weeds that might eventually overtake the vegetable patch, I present my go-to soundtrack. This farming playlist is designed to help you make it through a hard day of otherwise toilsome labor, particularly when you’re not starting out in the morning with all cylinders firing. Here goes.

PODCAST EPISODES

• File under “funny and smart”: For his podcast “By the Way,” Jeff Garlin sits down with fellow comedians. This installment, with Zach Galifianakis, is hilarious at times, intelligent at others.

• File under “still the champ”: Wendell Berry. The man deserves his own category. It doesn’t get any better than Berry chatting it up with Bill Moyers in an old country church for “Moyers & Company.”

• File under “I’d rather be fishing”: I get annoyed by the host of “On Being,” from American Public Media, but she has some great shows. This one’s a sure-fire pick, and it involves three of my favorite subjects: coming of age, fishing, and the joys of humility.

• File under “blow your mind”: Here’s a thought experiment. Try killing time performing a toilsome agricultural task while listening to a lecture on life before European agriculture conquered the continent/s where we live.

BACK TO OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING

(AKA shows from which I inevitably learn something and smile)

Good Food”: This radio program from KCRW in Santa Monica sometimes focuses on Southern California but often provides a much broader look at food and cooking.

Living on Earth”: Environmental coverage, from Public Radio International.

To the Best of Our Knowledge”: Wisconsin Public Radio produces this national weekend program for liberal arts nerds.

Men in Blazers”: I’ve become a pretty committed soccer fan (Go, Sporting KC!), and this is my favorite wide-angle soccer broadcast.

Dave Damashek Football Program”: A great look at the NFL. Yes, I’m a bit of a jock. Football is a huge spectacle and something I get re-addicted to every autumn.

There you have it. A peek into the mind of a mad farmer trying to prevent the fescue, orchardgrass, and crabgrass from smothering his seedlings. Sometimes music is not enough and you need something a little more substantive. Or ridiculous. Or trivial. Happy hoeing.

HOMEGROWN-bryce-oates-150x150Bryce Oates is a farmer, father, writer, and conservationist in West Missouri. He lives and works on his family’s multigenerational farm, tending cattle, sheep, goats, and organic vegetables. His goals in life are simple: to wake up before the sun, catch a couple of fish, turn the compost pile, dig potatoes, and sit by the fire in the evening, watching the fireflies mimic the stars.

PHOTO: MANDY LACKEY/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS