Local Ag at the Convention Center

By treatyrockbeef - Last updated: Monday, February 28, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Hello Farmers Market Friends:

I’ve been buried in the RI Spring Flower and Garden Show at the Convention Center in Providence for the last 8 days.  Various landscape companies and non-profit groups install a series of horticultural stage sets and walk-through gardens that tell a story or speak to a garden design theme in a meaningful way (you hope).

The theme this year was “Gardens With Heart” sponsored by the American Heart Association.  The design / build company where I apply my (meager) landscape architectural skills when I’m not selling incredible 100% grass-fed beef for Treaty Rock Farm installed a modern family farmstead garden scene with woodland path, rustic rough-sawn pine plank pavilion set on collected native cedar posts, fieldstone hearth, veggie garden, fruit trees, berry patch, compost heap and small-scale livestock in pasture pens to illustrate grass-fed husbandry programs.  I have enclosed our design statement below.

Our intent was to give the public an opportunity to consider the local food and local agriculture topics that have recently become a mainstream discussion.  As gas and food prices soar in the face of a Libyan civil war, we see that the notion of recapturing our foodstream from large petroleum-driven processors and agrobusiness is no longer the domain of tipi-dwelling hippies.  Whole food produced naturally and produced here circles back to the oldest and the best model, requiring fewer energy inputs and supporting local farm families.  These families steward their land, maintain quality of our watersheds and preserve productive rural open space that enhances our quality of life.  Many food producers in our area have small landholdings and focus on multiple species and revenue streams to access end-market dollars with high-value produce and desirable local protein raised with respect.  Livestock producers often find dual use for their expensive machinery by layering on construction and excavation work.  These small-scale operators work hard and find value in heritage varieties of plants and hardy animal breeds that thrive in our climate and make do on their own.  My pasture-raised Silver Fox rabbits are a perfect example, giving us outstanding meat quality, hardiness, abundant milk & superior mothering at the expense of litter size.  Rhode Island’s meat farmers are enjoying a renaissance of people seeking out the good stuff at Farmers Markets and select retail locations that support local agriculture.  Thank you for being one of those people.

I feel personally privileged to be participating in the local food scene and able to bring 100% grass-fed dry-aged Treaty Rock beef to the market – raised LOCALLY, NATURALLY & HUMANELY.  My landscape company was pleased and honored to be awarded the Roger Swain Award for Horticultural Excellence at the Flower Show this year.  Roger is a well known horticultural writer and science editor who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University and hosted “The Victory Garden” on PBS for over 20 years.  The award is given in the memory of his late wife to gardens that carry her spirit and continue his message.

The Hearth Is The Heart

A fire in the hearth enabled humans to settle the temperate latitudes and remains a home’s beating heart today. Enter the dynamic productive landscape of a modern homestead where organic resources and nutrients are utilized and recycled, enhancing our lives and other lives around us.  Woodland soils derive fertility through the action of fungi and soil microbes.  Choose organic gardening methods – reject synthetic fertilizers that pollute our waters and pesticides that kill the “workers beneath our feet”.  Garden as a family – put the “culture” back in agriculture. Kitchen gardens and home cooking provide healthy choices while strengthening social bonds and linking generations.  Fruit trees and a berry patch expand the land’s annual bounty.  Vegetable scraps and coffee grounds are composted in our MOBILE  ORGANIC RESOURCE PROCESSING HUB (MORPH).  Leafy trimmings feed the worms, chickens & rabbits.  The worms give us valuable “castings” to enrich our raised beds.  The laying hens and meat rabbits, moved daily onto new grass in their “pasture pens”, distribute their manure and enjoy an outstanding quality of life before we accept their ultimate gift.  The hearth’s native fieldstone reflects heat back toward the rustic pine plank garden pavilion where we share a meal and contemplate the land we steward for our children.

Respecting the Protein,

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