Recommitted

•March 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment

To add some new thoughts in 2012!

On the Bus

•August 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Farm near Dayton, VAWhere does your food come from? Do you really know?

These are some of the questions that the good folks at Farm to Family (F2F) are hoping to answer, and in the process provide healthy fresh food for customers and support to local farmers in the process.

I reconnected with my old friend Mark Lilly, who helped start Farm to Family last year, and had the opportunity to ride with him yesterday to make his weekly purchases. We were joined by Kyle Brennis, a new intern with F2F.

The first stop was the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction in Dayton, VA. This auction has been going on for the past four years and brings in a variety of food crops from area farmers. I believe that the auction specifies all produce is grown within 100 or 150 miles of Dayton.

Many if not the majority of the farmers are members of the large Old Order Mennonite community that has lived and farmed here for generations.

Shenandoah Valley Farmers Auction Dayton VA

The auction site is quite impressive. Clean, open space and very efficient management make for an exciting morning. The first part of the auction involves a ‘drive-through’ area where produce is pulled through the auction area on tractors. These are large lots of produce like 50 sugar baby watermelons or 100 athena cantaloupes.

Buyers participating in the auction represented farm stands, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), small markets and big players like Whole Foods Market.Auction bidding

Once the drive-through wraps the auction moves into the pavilion area for smaller lots.

The auction provides a social opportunity for many in the community. Men, women and children gathered to catch up on news. Many of the younger children moved around the facility in groups doing what kids do. A group of women ran the concessions stand serving up burgers, hot dogs, sweet tea and soft drinks.

Once all the buying was done it was time to load up the trailer. Me and Kyle loaded carts and negotiated piles of produce and people to load up. Boys from the community flashed by with their carts as they assisted other buyers in loading up.

Shenandoah Valley ProduceWith a load of beautiful, fresh produce on board we set off for our next stop, a pickup of meats from Southernmost Maple products in Highland County, VA.

Then it was a short trip down the road to pick up meat from the Polyface Farm. Back on the road towards Lexington where we would make our last stop and pick up milk, yogurt and cheese.

Being on the road for a good part of the day allowed for some good conversation. Each of us is committed to educating more people about food – where it comes from, why it is helpful to eat locally grown, why prices for local are sometimes higher than imported food, etc.

As we talked about food the conversation branched into metaphysics, politics, geology, religion, history, astronomy, and multiple other areas. One significant topic that we didn’t get into was music. That surprises me as I think back, but pretty much everything else got mixed in. It goes to show you how deeply rooted food is in our lives and how it touches or is influenced by some many other issues.

Arriving back at the F2F market we unloaded and spent a bit of time unwinding before heading home. A day well spent with a mission to improve people’s lives. Those who grow the food, those who distribute the food, those who eat the food.

A journey on the bus. Get on board and join us. See you soon.

Where does the time go?

•July 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Since June 2, 2010 I have been out of work. In what is now referred to as Black Tuesday, the CFI-11 were laid off by ChildFund International. I have spent the past two months spending additional time with my daughter Olivia, keeping my gardens alive with frequent waterings, tending my bees, updating resumes, networking, meeting contacts, applying for jobs, working on home projects.

It has been a mixed bag. I have had some good conversations about possible opportunities and a few interviews for jobs that would be interesting. I have had time to read lots of articles that were sitting in my inbox and visit those sites that I really needed to in order to get caught up on developments in the digital arena including social media, mobile, online fundraising, etc. I have had time to evaluate where I am professionally and personally and make sure I am balancing these as well as possible.

So, where did all the time go? Approaching two months since full time employment. Time seems to go quicker when not at work! That said, the following accomplishments are worth noting:

2 cats and 1 dog immunized and clean bills of health

2 beehives in good order with a healthy honey harvest

Gardens doing well – flowers thriving, veggies slow but tomatoes coming on, herbs bountiful, peppers in profusion. Will be making pesto later this week.

Lots of new knowledge on state of web 2.0, what is working, what is on the horizon

My network has grown here in Richmond and beyond. Lots of good folks willing to help out, listen to ideas, pass on resume and keep eyes and ears open for the next opportunity

New bathroom floor for Olivia

New bathroom fixtures for Bill + Jayne

My first Capoeira class with Capoeira Angola Liberation Movement (CALM)

Stables clean and getting organized

Latest poster acquired at Flatstock/SXSW matted and framed (photograph included) – I love this print!

What I’ve learned is that there is always something to keep you busy, and always something to tempt you off course. Project management is something that I’ve used extensively for work, there is also a place for it in day to day life. That said, not sure I’ll be posting a Gantt chart on the refrigerator anytime soon!

What’s the Buzz in Bill’s World?

•July 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After many years in the digital sphere I think the time has come to add my voice to the blogosphere. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and just never seemed able to find the time and make the commitment. Well, there is no time like the present!

I hope this blog will provide some insight into what excites, inspires and challenges me. I hope that those reading my blog will find something of interest and engage in a conversation. I think that the digital arena offers tremendous opportunities to share information but has also changed the nature of conversation. The speed of information flowing across the interweb makes it easy to consume but also keeps many of us so busy we don’t find time to have real conversations.

My challenge will be to keep things interesting and respond in a timely fashion.

If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading and keep an eye on this space!

Up next will be some thoughts about work, what I do for play, and a few things that have piqued my curiosity this week.