Last Saturday I presented at the "Living in the Avon Hills" conference at St. John's University. It was a very mixed group, with upper-middle-class folks trying to live more charming lives while helping the planet, long-time "woodsies" looking for new ideas, crafters, nature lovers, conservationists and just plain curious folks.
The display area was grand, indeed, located in the Great Hall, the former church. A huge Byzantine-style Christ and a crowd of Seraphim gazed down on woodworkers, photographers, writers, and vendors of many sorts of grains, honey, maple syrup and baked goods. Over 300 people in clothes ranging from LL Bean and Carhart to home-made flannel and down mingled cheerfully.
I've presented there before, and noticed a difference in my sessions this year. The mood was notably more sober, with people's questions focusing more on the nitty-gritty of building a greenhouse, growing and storing vegetables. People are starting to realize how serious we need to get about taking care of ourselves and each other in a time of dwindling resources and growing craziness.
There was a couple who'd attended my sessions before, and were raving about all the fresh greens they'd been eating over winter. That really got people's attention- It isn't just me making claims!
Another sign that came to me this week was the invitation to take part in a new group of experts on various kinds of what I call "Shielded Agriculture-" conventional greenhouses, Garden Goddess greenhouses, hoop houses, low tunnels and other growing structures. Goofy weather, rising fuel prices, the need for more Urban Farming, and the seemingly inexorable advance of chemical- and GMO-intensive agribusiness are moving those plant-protecting ideas into the forefront.
We can do more than we think we can, but we have to actually DO it.
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We have very good news! The Board of FARRMS, http://www.farrms.org/index.shtml , has approved their funding of a large printing (2000 copies) of The Northland Winter Greenhouse Manual, so it will be available again in early March, 2011. Preorder yours now, at $25, which includes shipping and handling. Businesses contact Partners Book Distributors for large orders.
We're still selling the PDF versions. We're asking $10 for an emailed PDF, or $15 to send it out on a CD. The CD also includes my 2004 novel, Phoenix, Minnesota, and many photos from the construction and early growing phases. I can email the PDF to you, or send a CD, once we have a check in hand.
We also had a visit from R T Ryback, Mayor of Minneapolis, and his wife, Megan O'Hara, on Sunday. She heads the Home Grown Minneapolis effort- http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/homegrown-home.asp They wanted to talk about hiring us to help set up a team to build greenhouses like ours in Minneapolis, tailored to specific neighborhoods. We'll see where that goes, as such things take time to set up.
It just keeps getting better! Tomorrow at 1 PM I'll be LIVE on the "Beyond Sustainable" internet radio show. The link is
Let's keep this good food revolution going!