Thank you, farmers Jamie Pottern and Kevin McCarthy
ThinkFest was amazing, as usual! If you did not make it this year, get it on your calendar as soon as it is announced!
Jamie and Kevin presented for a half hour or so each, and the two presentations were very different.
Jamie consults to towns and farmers about ways to deal with some of the issues farmers face. She took us for a walk along the path of what it takes to get food on a table from a small seed. It was clear -- the present methods utilize a boatload of energy and leave a lot of waste. The challenge to your teams: think about this process: you don't just need a seed -- you need land, water, fertilizer, farming machinery. Then it grows, and you need to keep it healthy, and watered, and keep away bugs and animals. And when it is ready, you need to pick a whole bunch of it but keep it from getting damaged. Some may get sold straight from the farm, but that is not where most people buy their food. People go to supermarkets or even convenient stores. The food gets transported, then stored in refrigerated places, then sometimes transported again, or processed and canned/jarred. Then, there is waste along the way -- food gets eaten with utensils and plates. Lots of energy and waste -- how can you minimize that?
Kevin taught us all about his sheep farm, from the breeding, to the mother/lamb bonding, to the herding by llamas, to the massive amounts of grass they eat, and even about the, um, slaughterhouses, the sheering and cleaning of the wool. He talked about the other business of selling hay, and the practice of moving electrified fences around to move the sheep onto fresh grass. He talked about caring for the sheep and helping them get better if they get sick. He had a ton of awesome photos, too.
I know we took barely any photos of ThinkFest and the talk, but I did take a couple.