February 21, 2009

Small Farms Conference

Today I am attending the 9th Annual OSU Extension Service Small Farms Conference at Oregon State University (OSU). This is the third year I have attended. As always its been a wonderful experience. This year has the highest attendance, around 500 attendees. The beauty of this conference is it brings together farmers, market managers, restaurant owners, schools, state employees, federal employees, food bank folks....basically the whole range of folks involved in dealing with were our food comes from.

The session I went to this morning was led by the executive director, Andy Fisher, of the Community Food Security Coalition. It was an informative session about what their organization does and possible things we can expect on the national level. I was extremely struck by something Mr. Fisher said about food being a social justice issue. I know this subconsciously but haven't really approached this from a conscious level.

I also had an interesting discussion with a lady interested in local foods who lives in the Redding, CA, area. If you haven't been paying attention lately, water is a huge issue world wide. California is experiencing one of the worst droughts since 1977. An article came out this week indicating the feds may shut off all water to agriculture in CA for a three-week period. This lady indicated that farmers with orchards in her area for example could lose their trees and go out of business. They would likely never be able to return if this happens.

All of this will result in increasingly higher food prices. Food is not cheap and that's a lesson that we as Americans need to realize. We spend less of our income on food than many developed countries. Our farmers typically make less than minimum wage. I don't have any answers but thought I'd share these thoughts with you.

February 8, 2009

When the Simple Life Isn't So Simple

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately...what do you do when a seemingly great friend turns out to a) not be the person you thought they were, b) not bring anything positive into your life, or c) all of the above? Now, note, I said friends. Family is a whole different story.

What is the acceptable way to deal with these situations? I personally have moved and not provided a forwarding address. It's a totally passive way of dealing with it. That particular friend was never mean or aggressive towards me...rather it was all about her, never about me. And, we all know, it's about me! But seriously, I had discussed, or at least thought I had discussed how I felt about the friendship. Apparently, she didn't get it. So in keeping with simplifying my life, I decided not to maintain that friendship.

So, really how many people can you maintain close friendships with? Really. Think about that one for a minute. You can "know" a lot of people but how much energy can you or are you willing to expend maintaining close personal friendships? And before you freak out, realize that it's okay not to be best buds with everyone you meet.

If people aren't bringing joy into your life, then don't have them in your life. And, I don't mean they can't share their problems with you, or that you can't share your problems with them. I mean, do they give you the love and support that you give them. Or, is it one-sided?

It's okay to move on. If you're looking for those things that make your life more full and enriched, that friend is probably not the right one for you. Sometimes the simple life just isn't that simple!

Love Letters to My Sons..