Georgia Organics’ 13th Annual Conference Recap
Eating is sacred. Food should not be wasted. Reclaim your food system. Reclaim agriculture! If there were a rallying cry at the 13th annual Georgia Organics conference held in Athens Feb. 19-20 – “Reclaim your culture! Reclaim Agriculture!” –was it.
Leading that rallying cry was a gray-bearded Italian man who kept an audience of more than 1,000 hanging on his every word through the help of a translator. Carlo Petrini, Slow Food founder and conference keynote speaker, urged attendees to demand healthier, locally focused food production systems from politicians and decision makers. He also boasted that within one day of arriving in Georgia, he had become a fan of a Southern delicacy- collard greens and potlicker.
Celebrating traditional dishes, supporting local, organic food production and working to reclaim agricultural systems was the theme of this year’s Georgia Organics conference, and Cafï¿½ Campesino was proud to be a part of it.
Tripp and Bill led a Saturday educational session on Fair Trade discussing its role in the food system, drawing parallels between it and the organics movement and underscoring the commitments of Cafï¿½ Campesino and Cooperative Coffees to the principles of both.
Their presentation on Fair Trade was one of the many opportunities for best-practice sharing that filled this conference- including specialized workshops and intimate farm tours- that offered attendees with the tools and support they will need to carry this vision of a changed food system into reality.
The practice of collaborating with local farmers and bringing healthy, locally grown food options back into schools, homes and restaurants is gaining momentum and receiving attention statewide. In the few weeks since the conference, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Athens-Banner Herald, Atlanta’s Finest Dining, the Macon Telegraph, Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and other publications across the state have written about Georgia’s sustainable food movement.
And this discussion would likely still be on the back-burner if it weren’t for the vision and commitment of organic farmers throughout the state, the support and organizing capacity of Georgia Organics and the dedication of individuals committed to the movement.
Some of these individuals were honored by Georgia Organics during a short awards ceremony held at the Saturday night Farmers’ Feast where Mr. Petrini presented. Andy and Hilda Byrd of Whippoorwill Hollow Farm were honored with the Georgia Organics Land Stewardship award, which recognized their energetic commitment to the organics movement that has included building and growing two farmers markets in the Atlanta area and serving as committed mentors to new farmers.
Julie Shaffer, Emory University’s Sustainable Food Service Education Coordinator and founder of Slow Food Atlanta, was also honored with the Barbara Petit Pollinator Award for her work to promote the local food movement in various restaurants, schools, institutions and public agencies across the state.
Georgia-based chefs who are leading the farm-to-table movement in the restaurant industry were also recognized. They included Ron Eyester of Rosebud, Michael Deihl of East Lake Golf Club, Bruce Logue of La Pietra Cucina, Shaun Doty of Shaun’s, Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill, Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia, Floataway Cafï¿½ and Abbattoir and Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten, who organized a dinner that pulled together the talents of these chefs and others to serve more than 1,000 people.
Chefs, farmers, foodies and revolutionaries – Georgia Organics pulled them all together for a delightful, delicious and energized conference. Job well done. And rest assured, we’re ready to keep the momentum going.
It is hard to beat good southern cooking, especially when the vittles are prepared by an all-start cast of Atlanta’s best chefs! On February 21st, it was our privilege to provide the coffee for an evening with Slow Food International (www.slowfood.com) Founder Carlo Petrini at a Slow Food Atlanta Family Dinner hosted by downtown Decatur, Georgia’s famed Watershed Restaurant. In addition to sharing five courses of reinterpreted southern family recipes – each course inspired by a food memory from the preparing chef – we enjoyed a word from Carlo on the importance of Terra Madreand the future of the Slow Food movement. We were also enchanted by the talent of Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls and a co-owner of Watershed singing a few of her (and our) favorites. Bill represented Cafe Campesino at the event and said he just didn’t want the evening to end! A big thank you to Judith and Slow Food Atlanta for including us at the Family Dinner and in your important work!
Café Campesino will lead an educational session during Georgia Organics’ 13th Annual Conference and Expo, “Reclaiming Agriculture,” to be held Feb. 19-20 in Athens. Tripp and Bill will present a workshop talk about Fair Trade, offering a definition and overview of its practices as well as firsthand examples of the importance of fair trade in the field and its direct affect on the lives of producers. The session will be held from 2:15-3:45 p.m. as a part of a Food Systems educational track that is being offered on Saturday, Feb. 20.
The conference is expected to draw thousands of food lovers and organic enthusiasts from across the Southeast for educational sessions, farm tours, and a dinner featuring keynote speaker Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food. A non-profit-turned-movement, Slow Food began in Italy in the late 1980s in an effort to preserve local food cultivation and culinary traditions that were being threatened by fast food chains and agro-industrial production systems. The organization now boasts 100,000 members with chapters in 132 countries and Mr. Petrini, who is an editor and columnist in Italy, founded the University of Gastronomic Sciences in 2004 in northern Italy that is dedicated to Slow Food principles.
The Atlanta chapter of Slow Food and Georgia Organics work closely together, sharing similar visions for food cultivation in the Southeast.
In addition to Mr. Petrini’s keynote address and the Food Systems educational track, other topics covered during the Saturday sessions include ones on Slow Food culture, farm-to-school issues, home-grown food, raising livestock, managing the business side of farming, and various tips on growing organic food. Farm tours are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 19, and will feature a number of organic farms in the Athens and north-Georgia area. To sign up for a farm tour, the Saturday educational sessions, or learn more about the conference, visit Georgia Organics’ website.
For many years, Cafe Campesino has been proud to be a member and supporter of Georgia Organics. We look forward to many more.
Fair Trade Futures Conference Planned for September
Fair trade entrepreneurs, retailers, consumers, advocates, and producers are invited to attend the 2010 Fair Trade Futures Conference to be held in Boston Sept. 10-12.
The conference is an opportunity for Fair Trade professionals to share their best practices and explore the challenges and successes of the movement. Attendees can expect seminars, workshops, social activities, and experiential learning sessions all focused on Fair Trade. More than 50 Fair Trade Organizations and 700 attendees are expected.
Cooperative Coffees is a Leadership Group member for the conference, providing guidance and support. Other Leadership Group Members include Catholic Relief Services, Ten Thousand Villages, Equal Exchange, the Fair Trade Federation, Green America, Oxfam America, and SERRV. To learn more about the conference, visit Fair Trade Federation’s website.
Cooperative Coffees member Kickapoo Coffee Named ‘Micro Roaster of the Year’
A coffee industry trade and technical publication, Roast Magazine annually announces a Macro and Micro Roaster of the year in its November/December issue. Micro Roasters are classified as roasting fewer than 100,000 pounds of beans per year. Among Roast Magazine’s selection criteria are the quality of the coffee and the roaster’s commitment to sustainability.
Owned and operated by two small families, Kickapoo Coffee is located in southwestern Wisconsin near the Kickapoo River. The roaster was founded in 2005 with a commitment to Fair Trade and sustainability. In addition to maintaining relationships with coffee producers through Cooperative Coffees, Kickapoo is tirelessly committed to environmental sustainability, working to entirely eliminate petroleum-derived plastic from its operations. Their canned coffee is sold in reusable, recyclable steel cans that contain 80 percent post-consumer recycled steel, and their coffee bags are biodegradable. They are also actively committed to their local community and region, selling the bulk of their coffee within a 200-mile radius of their roastery, which is located in a historic train depot.
Cheers and congratulations to the team at Kickapoo!
Tags: awards, Bill Harris, Carlo Petrini, Catholic Relief Services, Cooperative Coffees, Equal Exchange, Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade Futures Conference, Georgia Organics conference, Green America, Kickapoo Coffee, Oxfam America, Roast Magazine, SERRV, Slow Food, Ten Thousand Villages, Tripp Pomeroy, Wisconsin
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