We’ve had a busy week here on the farm. I got to attend (part of) the Ancestral Health Symposium at Harvard University and then hosted the Sustainable Feast in the Barn on Friday, August 10th for many of the attendees in our barn at Clark Farm. In addition, we hosted Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, her husband Henry Fong of FitBomb and their two absolutely adorable children here in our house for a week. I’m overwhelmed with how great this past week was and thought I’d offer a quick recap.
Meeting Joel Salatin
On Thursday, August 9th my husband Andrew and I were asked to pick up Joel Salatin, the keynote speaker for AHS, from the airport and bring him to the conference. What an honor! We had some time to chat with him about his operation and tell him a bit about ours. Andrew has read every single book he’s ever written, and we follow many of his sustainable farming techniques at our own farm. To a sustainable farmer, Joel Salatin is a total hero!Joel’s talk at the conference was very inspiring. He spoke about how kids need to have less screen time and more time in the dirt. At the end of his talk, his call to action was to get in the kitchen. I couldn’t agree more. When I ran the farmstand at our previous farm, Green Meadows Farm, I sold only whole chickens. So many people would look at me with a worried look on their face and asked me what to do with it. It’s such a shame that we’ve lost our food culture. We live in a compartmentalized world today, where people have no connection with food our each other. People are separated by class and age, and our food is wrapped in plastic.
There were some amazing talks that I missed, including Mat Lalonde’s discussion of nutrient dense foods. Mat has been instrumental in helping me learn about nutrition and helping me with my practice. I also missed most of Robb Wolf’s discussion of City Zero: How Markets and Evolution Can Revolutionize Medicine. Fate is funny sometimes, just today, two firefighters came over to our farm to recruit Andrew to join their volunteer department. I offered to give a nutrition talk and they were thrilled to learn more about how the Paleo diet can help get them even more able to do service. I can’t wait to get involved.
The next day of the conference, while my house guests attended, I was in “event” mode. I had to string up some “guano protection” tarps from the ceiling of the barn, after learning that bats can defecate in flight. I’m sure bats are considered paleo, but I didn’t want to see their poop on people’s plates at the dinner. The barn was completely transformed from this:
They not only constructed the amazing menu, but set producedthe event. They are a one of a kind business owned by three good friends. Their mission is to produce events that are sustainable. Their philosophy is to take social responsibility beyond just a passion for sustainable food. All materials we bring to parties are 100% compostable, reusable or recyclable, helping us leave the smallest environmental footprint possible. It was a zero waste, 100% delicious party!
Passed hor d’oeurves:
Curried Lamb kabob in blanched greens with spicy coconut cream (lamb donated by US Wellness Meats)
Broiled Essex Clams with minty pesto
Wild Boar Belly and Spice Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges (Wild boar donated by Fossil Farms)
In addition to great food, I was honored to have so many of my nutrition heroes in attendance. Robb Wolf has been such an important influence to me. Not only was The Paleo Solution what finally healed my health, but Robb also encouraged me to start my blog, Sustainable Dish. Diane Sanfillipo, author of the newly released Practical Paleo book is also someone I need to give huge kudos to, for introducing me to so many people and for all of the amazing advise she’s given me.
Chris Kresser, who has the most densely packed, informative podcast and practice was there. I caught him having a special moment with Tulip, one of our goats. I think his hippy side was shining through! I got to sit next to Amy Kubal, who is THE paleo diet RD expert. CrossFit Football’s John Welbourne, plus researcher Stephan Guyenet, ancestral wellness practitioner Dan Pardi, Paleo FX organizers Michelle and Keith Norris, Paleo Comfort Foods author Julie Mayfield and Eat Like a Dinosour’s Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry plus a slew of bloggers who I love and respect were also there. Jimmy Moore, Bobby Gill, Laura Shoenfeld, George Bryant and Stefani Ruper among others joined in the feast. Many of these people are “virtual friends” and hardly get to see each other face to face. I’m so glad that I was able to facilitate some real-time bonding. In addition to those attending AHS, several local people from my practice and even my trainer, Justin Keane of CrossFit Woodshed was able to be there.
Fun and Music:
The most amazing hero of the dinner is my husband, Andrew. He had the vision at age 26 to leave his corporate high-tech job in pursuit of a more sustainable career. I have to admit that at the time I was skeptical. There were many uncomfortable dinners with our parents as he was making his case to change his path. I truly admire his passion for land stewardship in its purist form. I don’t get to work the farm like he does, as I spend most of my time studying, seeing clients, and cooking the fruits of his labor. Andrew is out there in all-weather, doing mostly what the rest of us would find generally boring, hard work. He loves the animals and takes so much pride in the vegetables. Without him, I’d probably be living in a city, working in a cube, and completely miserable. I also can’t imagine a better way to raise our kids than living on a farm, yet with access to the education and cultural opportunities Boston has to offer.
Next week, our family will be on a much-needed vacation to Montréal, to visit some fellow farmers in the Burlington, VT area, and visit the Celebrate Vermont festival. I’ll be brushing up on my rusty french, checking out food markets, and we can’t wait to visit the Montréal Insectarium where my adventurous son is looking forward to tasting crickets!