Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Interview with Soil Born Farms' Shawn Harrison, Reminder: Day on the Farm Event this Sunday, May 23rd!

Soil Born Farms’ American River Ranch will host a Day on the Farm, Sunday, May 23, 2010—a delightful urban escape—to celebrate the joys of farm life, gardening and enjoying fresh, locally grown products.

A 5K run, farm tours and workshops commence on Sunday, May 23, 2010, from 8:30am–2:30 pm, American River Ranch, 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova (next to Hagan Park and between mile markers 15 and 16 on the American River Bike Trail). The celebration is sponsored by the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

This morning, I spoke to the Founder and Executive Director of Soil Born Farms, Shawn Harrison, about Sunday's event.

Shawn grew up in Sacramento and got involved in farming and learning about where food comes from in 1992 during an apprenticeship in San Diego led by someone from South America. They taught about the growth of food from the soil to the harvest, and then it's distribution throughout the village.

He wanted to apply this in Sacramento--for the city to have that same type of resource, and to share in the principles of 1. organic food production, 2. healthy food education, 3. food access for all.

And so Soil Born Farms is just that. It's a farm in the city, and an educational center in Sacramento. They're a non-profit organization dedicated to food production, with the main purpose of reconnecting urbanites to healthy food and its origins.

When I asked Shawn why this was important, he responded by stating that people have become disconnected from where their food comes from and what they should eat. He wanted to create a movement to not only teach people how to grow food, but to support their local growers.

Some of this sounds familiar to the message behind the film Food Inc., and the books Fast Food Nation (Eric Schlosser), and The Omnivore's Dilemma (Michael Pollan). Shawn agrees with many of Michael Pollan's food theories, and even mentioned Alice Waters and Michele Obama's food education efforts during our chat.

Sunday's "Day on the Farm" Event combines the annual Kaiser Permanente sponsored "Veggie Chase" and the Sac Food Coop sponsored Soil Born educational classes for the first time. Shawn says that Soil Born wanted to do this so it would be one event to cater to everyone and perhaps draw more interested people.

The classes will be lead by the staff of Soil Born, as well as other experts in the community. The classes are designed for people interested in connecting with farming and origins of food from seed to crop. Below is an event schedule (kicking off with the Veggie Chase run).

Event Schedule:

8:30 a.m.:
Veggie Chase 5K and Kids Run (To register: )

9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 12 Noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m.: American River Ranch Farm Tours

9:00-10:30 a.m.: Building a Soil Food Web

10:00 a.m.: Conserve Water—Build a Rainbarrel!

10:00 a.m., 12 Noon: Family Fun in the Garden

10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m.: Raising Chickens in your Backyard

11:00 a.m.: Drip Irrigation for Home Gardeners

11:00 a.m., 12 Noon, 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m.: Cooking Classes

11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m.: Meet The Farm Animals (especially for kids), Composting

11:30 a.m.: Flower Gardening for Beautiful Bouquets

12 Noon: Garden Bed Preparation, Vermicomposting—The Power of Worms!, Gardening to Attract Pollinators and Native Plant Walk

12:30 p.m.: Medicinal Herbs

1:30 p.m.: Organic Gardening 101, Wildlife on the American River Parkway, Presentation/Walk, Culinary Herbs

For more information call (916) 363-9685 or go to www.sacfoodcoop.com. You can follow them on twitter here, and Soil Born Farms is here. On Facebook, Sac Food Coop is here and Soil Born Farms is here.

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