Regenerating Utah... Where do we start?
Photos: Left to right; top to bottom: Red Acre Center, fundraiser dinner, Spanish Fork, UT | Red Acre's Utah Farm and Food Conference, Cedar City, UT | Onchenda Display at Utah Farm and Food Conference
Row 2: The Patterson Ladies: Symbria and Sara, Founders of Red Acre Center | Bob Quinn | Joel Salatin
Row 3: Onchenda Event with Billy Moschella | Roice Nelson | Nelsons at dinner
Row 4: Favorite farmers: The Batty's of Olde Home Place | Utah Farm Bureau Event | State Legislator who cares, Marc Roberts
Some people may wonder, "You've been working on this Village project for six years, what have you been doing all that time?" My answer...it's all about the people. We have learned a lot in those six years. With Harrison Quigley, I started the Onchenda Online Farmers' Market and we gathered up some of the most wonderful people in the world...Utah Farmers. We tried Grant Writing (not for the faint of heart) and other fundraising efforts. Harrison created the very functional, multi-vendor, marketplace website and we were in business. We tried food delivery at companies for awhile and hosted "tasting events", but alas, the market wasn't ready for it and we didn't have the capital to continue. We joined the Farm Bureau and the Farmer's Union, and we showed up at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. By attending the meetings and events of these organizations we learned about the struggles and triumphs of the farming and ranching communities. Onchenda has now been handed off to a younger generation. Billy Moschella and friends continue the effort.
Among the most influential people in the Utah farm scene, we discovered Sara Patterson and her Mother, Symbria. These women have almost single-handedly lowered the barriers to entry for young farm families, while, at the same time, teaching sound regenerative principles of farming and land management. They founded the Red Acre Center as a means for bringing people together for education and advocacy. Finding sympathetic Utah legislators, they have been instrumental in bringing about local food access and food freedom to Utah through the bills that they have sponsored which have passed. Their Utah Farm and Food Conferences have grown and become legendary. A great legacy of regeneration for generations to come. They have brought great examples of farming innovation, regenerative practice and health to Utah with wonderful speakers and writers such as Bob Quinn, Joel Salatin, Wendell Berry, Dr. Zach Bush, and others. We hope to continue to support their efforts. Please donate if you can.
Utah Local Food Advisory Council Meeting: Hoang Nguyen, presenter | Utah State Senator, Gene Davis, advisor to the council | Laurie Seron, UDAF & Utah's Own | Gentleman? | Symbria Patterson
During this time, I became acquainted with many of the people at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, who so graciously put up with my ignorance while helping me to gain a greater understanding of the unique challenges in Utah. I was asked to fill a position on the Utah Governor's Local Food Advisory Council. I truly appreciate all the meaningful efforts that the good people of Utah bring to their fellow citizens.
A pivotal point came when a mutual friend introduced Roice Nelson to me. Roice is a geophysicist who lives in Cedar City, Utah. He has many contacts within the city and surrounding county. He had been dreaming of a sustainable city for almost fifty years. Through his efforts and that of his wife, Andrea, we have gained many friends and supporters in the Southwestern part of Utah. Roice's intelligence and social networks continue to guide us.
My thanks go to all who have informed, encouraged and supported our efforts through their time, knowledge, talent, and friendship. May we go forward together...Regeneratively!