When my eyes fell upon the old hands planting a seedling. I knew.
When the paved road suddenly turned into a winding dirt road. I just knew. And then I saw the grey weathered barns. Could my smushed nose press any harder against our truck's window?
I saw the main street of a pioneer town. The mercantile and flour mill. And across the street the Baker Creek Seed Company's retail store. Bin after bin filled with heirloom seed packets. Just a few miles from Mansfield Missouri... halfway across the country from our central Minnesota home.
There was music, vendors, speakers, food... all of the components that make a festival festive plus plants and heirloom seeds in abundance. If you've read the book, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (if you haven't, you need to), you'll remember a Canadian farmer named Percy Schmeiser who takes on Monsanto. He was one of the festival's speakers. It was so interesting to meet the brave man that I had read about in the book. As I sat upon a straw bale, another speaker that I listened to was Hank Will, the editor-in-chief of Grit Magazine, who shared how he farms his acreage with hand tools and farm animals in lieu of mechanized equipment. I replaced my garden roto tiller with a spade years ago to avoid the major disturbance of natural soil layers, so I was intriqued by his comittment to living in a manner closely resembling that of our ancestors. Yes, it's more work. However, it eliminates the need for a gym membership, a noisy engine doesn't compete with birds' melodies, and it's a gentle way to be a steward of our earth. I loved this little girl's attire, so I snapped a photo of her as she played upon newly constructed concrete garden bed enclosures. And then my stride quickened to keep pace with hers, as there was so much more to see and do. (Heirloom seeds are those that are passed down from generation to generation, are open-pollinated, and aren't patented or genetically modified.) Post note: The Wall Street Journal, in its Thursday, May 23, 2013 edition, featured the Baker Creek Seed Company. The article explains the company's birth and phenomenal growth. Your jaw will drop when you learn the ages of the company's founder and owners, Jeremiah and Emilee Gettle.