For over four years I’ve worked from a home office. There are a lot of great things about working from home: laundry gets done, soup simmers for lunch, no one walks by and distracts you from the task at hand, and the dress code is pretty flexible. There are still deadlines, meetings, and convincing the printer to print, but working from home has been a really good situation for me.
I’m still working from a house, but not the one I live in. Just as Life Is a Verb Camp approached, the place where I hoped to figure out the questions to finding a job for life after fighting Plant Washington, I was offered a job.
Now I’m working from an above ground basement office in a fabulous Greek Revival house built in 1852, Rose Hill, surrounded by Lockerly Arboretum, a public garden in Milledgeville, Georgia, as the Executive Director.
I’m no less committed to stopping Plant Washington, but due to the determination and success of FACE and our partners, the demise of the ill-fated coal plant is now a matter of time. No one who opposes Plant Washington is letting their guard down, but the writing is on the wall and our work locally will continue as it always has.
Being an environmental activist in a small community has been one of the most difficult, and exciting, things that I have ever happened upon. I knew if we won, one outcome would be working myself out of a job that had changed my life for the better.
I didn’t make a habit of inviting people to come see me in my home office, but I’d be glad for anyone to stop by and see the house where I am working in now.
I had no idea what the response would be to launching a Go Fund Me campaign asking people to help me go to a camp for grown ups. The time was just too ripe for me to get to this camp led by Patti Digh, and so I decided to be my own advocate. I’ve asked people to sign comments to support clean air and water, marriage equality, access to health care, and other issues, but IU’ve never done a “help me personally” type of ask.
This has been a humbling experience for many reasons. I’ve not told my story for myself, and for that purpose alone the experience is valuable. As a participant in other campaigns I have been amazed at people stepping up because there was value in the need and ask. I wasn’t sure that would happen for me, and every time it did I had to catch my breath.
I’ve got a lot to do between now and the time I leave for Life Is A Verb Camp 2014. Right now I am letting such unexpected generosity soak in. I am appreciative of the what everyone did to make this happen, from sharing the link to the campaign to actually typing in a donation amount.
Most readers of Rural and Progressive have followed the work I have been lucky enough to be part of to stop a proposed coal plant in my rural Georgia community. None of us knew what was ahead almost seven years ago when we came together to speak up for the health of our community except that it would require strong backs, patience, strong partnerships, and grit.
The ugly part of this work has been the tearing apart of decades-long friendships and splintering of families. Sometimes when people stand up for what they believe is right, no matter how difficult that may be, communities become divided.
Four years ago I made what was probably the hardest decision I have made since I heard the announcement for coal-fired Plant Washington: I stood my ground for my values and integrity when I was asked to sit on my hands. Given the choice of sitting in silence and keeping my job, or speaking up for what I believe in, I chose my values and beliefs.
I took on a job that, if we won, would put me out of a job. Fighting Plant Washington full-time required a commitment to a much smaller paycheck, and sometimes no paycheck at all. Environmental activists don’t get rich fighting the fossil fuel industry.
Plant Washington opponents won’t stop until the project is cancelled, but the writing on the wall is in all capital letters for this coal plant. That means it is time for me to figure out what I will do next.
The scars and experience I’ve accumulated can’t be boxed up and put away. The challenge now is finding a way to put them to work for a community or organization that needs an advocate/activist to help in their work.
Can I find a way to cobble together work that will pay my bills without requiring me to move away from my family? What could that work be? Where do I look and how do I do that with clarity and focus? Who might help me and how do I make the right ask?
At 53 years old, I am ready to go to a sleep over camp for the first time in my life-
a “camp for grown ups.” Life is a Verb, a three day camp/workshop/retreat will challenge me to find the questions I need to ask, and begin to work towards the answers.
Patti Digh wrote this about the camp she is leading, “Camp is a place where people of all walks of life come together to explore what it means to be fully human and what it means to live life fully, as an active and not a passive, verb. To live, and live fully. To love, and love well. To let go, and let go deeply.”
As an advocate I’m not used to asking for myself, but I am trying to let go of that stumbling block now. I set up a Go Fund Me account because I simply am not able to cover the costs of going to camp and finding a sustainable way to what is next for me.
My goal is to cover the costs of camp and traveling back and forth. I’ll arrive there ready to do the work at hand and maximize every minute. What I learn will help me step into the unknown that is knocking on my door.
My life has truly been an action packed adventure since I stepped into a huge unknown almost seven years ago. Now I have skills and experience I want to share with people and communities who have challenges of their own. What I have learned is meant to benefit others, not be put on a shelf and collect dust.
I’ll write about my adventures at Rural and Progressive as I prepare to leave and when I return (letting go for me also includes less time with electronics).
I hope you’ll support my first-ever camp experience with a donation. Any amount will help send a 53 year old advocate/activist to camp for the first time.
Tonight President Obama will address the nation about ISIS and any actions that we may take in response to the horrific murders of Americans and innocent civilians at the hands of terrorists.
Tomorrow there will be an observance in my community, and many others, to honor the thousands of lives lost to hate and terrorism, and to support the families and friends who knew someone they loved would never return home again.
Since September 11, 2001 we as a country have talked a lot about being kinder to one another and being a better country. Yet 13 years later this is what consumes us as a country:
fighting about allowing two consenting adults of the same-sex to legally marry each
failing to take care of the thousands of veterans who have defended our country, many of whom returned with horrible wounds from the Middle East since September 2001
allowing private corporations to decided which forms of legal birth control they will cover for employees through company based health insurance because some corporations should have the same privileges as churches
granting corporations the same rights as citizens so businesses can pour money into elections and our representatives’ pockets
making it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote
subsidizing corporations with huge tax breaks while their employees working full-time never earn enough to break the poverty barrier
denying the hard facts of science because profits should come before cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the entire planet
complaining about failing schools while slashing teacher pay and testing our children to death
sitting by silently while racism and sexism are displayed proudly
being sure we can take our assault rifles into the grocery store
we pay for and support violence on playing fields, in the movies we watch, video games we buy, music we listen to, and television shows we watch, but we react with horror when students are sprayed with bullets in their classrooms, women are drug from elevators by their hair, students are bullied, children and women are raped as well as being forced into prostitution
too many among us are convinced that their brand of faith should be followed above all others, and if necessary the rights of other citizens should be denied because they choose to worship differently, or not at all
We absolutely should remember and honor the victims of September 11th’s violence. I’m just not convinced we are a country that is a better reflection of the democratic values and freedoms which terrorists intended to destroy 13 years ago.
There’s no doubt that money follows power. When your primary measure for the most important appointments is “who has money and who will give it to me” then you have a government like Nathan Deal’s, which is dominated by a few major donors instead of reflecting the diversity of Georgia’s citizens.
Last week the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that, “Three powerful Georgia boards help to bankroll Gov. Nathan Deal.” The three boards reviewed include Washington County’s own Tarbutton family.
As noted by the AJC, Ben Tarbutton, III, often referred to in conversation as Ben III by people in Washington County, currently sits on the Georgia University System Board of Regents . Ben III is a former Chair of the Board of Regents and was appointed by Gov Deal for a second term in 2013. He will sit on that Board until 2020. The AJC reports that Ben Tarbutton, III has donated $158,100 to Deal’s campaign since 2009.
The AJC quoted Ben III describing his donations as part of “modern day politics.”
During Ben III’s first term on the Regent’s Board he was joined by Dean Alford, who holds a no-bid contract to build a coal-fired coal plant in Washington County called Plant Washington.
Alford’s second wife, Debbie Dlugolenski Alford, was appointed to lead the Georgia Lottery in October 2012. The AJC reported that Ms Alford was the sole finalist for the job. She had no previous experience running a lottery. One Lottery Board member, Frances Rogers, resigned because she thought Gov Deal had interfered in the process for selecting someone to lead the Lottery.
Just a few months after Debbie Alford was appointed to lead the Lottery, Benjamin R Tarbutton (Benjie to folks in Washington County) was appointed to the Georgia Lottery Board. I don’t know if Benjie filled the seat held by Ms Rogers. Benjie is Ben III’s cousin.
Benjie’s father is Hugh Tarbutton, Sr. Hugh Sr. was re-appointed to the Georgia Ports Authority two years ago by Gov Deal. He had served 20 years on the Ports Authority Board but former Gov Sonny Perdue wouldn’t extend his term. Hugh Sr. has donated $157, 200 to Deal’s campaign according to the AJC’s infographic and he is back on the Ports Authority Board. (Hugh Sr. has a son who is also named Hugh, hence the use of Sr. here.)
It gets even cozier.
The Tarbuttons own Sandersville Railroad, a short-line railroad, that would move hundreds of cars of coal every week to Alford’s proposed Plant Washington, if the plant is ever built. They also own B-H Transfer, a trucking company based in Washington County. The Tarbuttons have a vested interest in transportation, and Georgia’s ports are tied to transportation.
Plant Washington will also require thousands of acres of land. The proposed plant site include large tracts of land owned by Hugh Tarbutton, Sr. A few tracts of Plant Washington land that don’t belong to Hugh Sr. are connected to Washington Timberland, LLC. That LLC is registered to Dean Alford. According to county tax records (Tuesday, August 26, 2014), property taxes due in December 2013 by Dean Alford’s LLC are still unpaid, and are subject to auction next month at the Washington County courthouse.
The Friday Photo
August 8, 2014 This looks like a lot meetings do, with PowerPoint presentations and charts that are hard to read from the back of the room. It was the first public meeting held by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to discuss how Georgia will meet the EPA’s carbon pollution rule. Georgia’s Plant Scherer is the biggest carbon spewing coal plant in the country, so the task ahead of the state’s regulatory agency is steep. They didn’t seem very enthusiastic.
For those of us who have spent years advocating for reducing carbon pollution, yesterday was no ordinary meeting. The rules of the game are changing, literally.
A man commented to me that it has been hot and dry as we waited in a line together last week. A reusable water bottle is a constant companion with me year-round, so I held up the blue metal bottle I had filled up before leaving the house and said I can’t drink enough water on hot days. He responded that he also drinks a lot of water and buys it by the case. He asked me if I buy a lot of water. I replied that we have several reusable bottles which we fill and take with us, so we rarely buy bottled water. He smiled and said that he buys water by the case and tosses the empties, “because it is so cheap.”
Two days later a cashier handed me a bottle of water with her business logo printed on it, saying they were complimentary for customers. My blue water bottle was on the check out counter, so I replied that I had my own bottle, but thanks anyway. She suggested I pour the water she had offered into my own bottle. I said I didn’t mind refilling my well-worn bottle at their water fountain instead. Her expression told me she didn’t understand why I preferred the water from the fountain. I told her my goal was to create less plastic waste. By refilling my own bottle she could save the one she offered to me for another customer and I was happy to refill my own. Rinse, refill, reuse. Drink up folks-it’s hot outside!
If someone says, “I went to UGA” or any large college or university, most people can readily identify something about that school (football, agriculture, technology, etc). When someone asks an alum of a Quaker school where they went to school, sometimes the person asking the question looks kind of lost if they follow-up and ask what type of school that is and the answer is a simple, “Quaker”. (I have on a few occasions extolled about one benefit of being an alum of a Quaker school is the lifetime supply of free oatmeal. I should not prey on the innocent.)
Quakers are not Shakers (but they can and do shake things up sometimes), or Mennonites, or Amish. Quakers are Quakers just like Methodists are Methodists. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and varieties. Flaming Liberals-yep. Middle of the Road-got plenty of those. Conservative- there are some of those too.
There is a new family living in Ragsdale House, where the President lives at my Quaker college alma mater, Guilford College. The search to hire our ninth president was unusually transparent when compared to how many schools hire their administrative leaders. When the College announced that Jane K Fernandes had accepted the offer to join the Guilford community, there was a huge outpouring of genuine and heartfelt excitement. Jane said she truly felt called to Guilford, and her passion for the values of Quakers, a Quaker-based education, and Guilford are palpable.
Monday was a “Monday” in every sense of the word for Plant Washington and its developer, Power4Georgians. Before the EPA could announce a long-awaited carbon pollution rule, the Georgia State Supreme Court ruled that the 30+ indictments against former Cobb EMC CEO Dwight Brown will not be dismissed. That clears the way for Brown to have to defend himself against numerous charges of racketeering, theft, and making false statements (layman’s term is lying).
Who knows what type of complicated web might be unraveled in a trial involving federal racketeering and such? Plant Washington’s developer, Dean Alford, worked as Brown’s Vice-President at Cobb EMC when he secured the no-bid contract for Power4Georgians’ coal plant. Could he and many others be called to testify in Brown’s trial? Will co-op members across the state who found themselves obligated to a multi-billion dollar, back room deal coal plant camp outside the courthouse in order to secure a seat during the trial?
The court ruling came out hours before EPA Director Gina McCarthy could announce, and then sign, proposed carbon pollution rules for existing power plants.
McCarthy didn’t disappoint: the proposed regulations will require a 30 percent reduction in 2005 carbon emission levels. Plant Washington wasn’t even announced until January of 2008, and Allied Energy Services CEO Dean Alford stated in community meetings since then that the plant can’t go forward if it has to control for carbon pollution.
Alford hoped for an exemption by signing a boiler contract in the spring of 2013, but there’s no magic in just signing the document. Allied Energy hasn’t yet demonstrated to the EPA that it met the stringent requirements to be placed in a special category of projects that would emit carbon.
But now it won’t matter whether Plant Washington is determined to be an “existing” or “new” source of carbon pollution because controlling carbon emissions will have to happen for all power plants emitting carbon.
Plant Washington isn’t the “It Girl” any more. It’s dress is out of style, the hem has been stepped on, and the corsage is wilted. Now everyone wants to dance with Renewable Wind and Free Sunshine. Fortunately they never seem to run out of energy.
Over the weekend The New Republic posted an article, “Obama’s New Rules are a B.F.D. The Ensuing Political Fight May Be Even Bigger” about carbon pollution rules (Greenhouse Gas or GHG) the Environmental Protection Agency will release On June 2 next week. These rules will be directed toward existing sources of carbon pollution, the majority of which are coal-fired power plants.
Recognizing and acting on carbon pollution has been a long time coming in the United States. We’re the last car on the train of developed countries acknowledging and acting upon the mounds of scientific and economic data pointing to the damage that has been done, and continues to grow, by unfettered coal fueled carbon pollution.
There’s another story to tell about coal plants, but it isn’t be told often enough, or loudly enough. Why?
Coal plants aren’t found in gated communities, middle class neighborhoods, or private schools campuses. Coal plants aren’t problems for elected officials or businesses unless the issue is air quality or water resources, or until those who bear the weight of coal show up at government or shareholder meetings demanding action. Coal plants are stashed away in communities of color, low income, low education levels, poor health status, and rural America.
Number of Americans who live within three miles of a coal-fired power plant, which typically stores toxic coal ash waste in unlined pits that aren’t currently subject to federal oversight: 6 million
Their average per capita income: $18,400, average per capita income for U.S. residents overall: $21,587
Percent of people living within three miles of a coal plant who are people of color: 39
Number of the nation’s 378 coal-fired power plants that received an “F” in a 2012 report because they’re responsible for a disproportionate amount of pollution in low-income and minority communities: 75
Average per capita income of the 4 million people who live within three miles of those failing coal plants: $17,500, percent who are people of color: 53
Average per-capita income of people living within three miles of Duke Energy’s Dan
Plant near Eden, N.C., where a Feb. 2 coal ash spill has contaminated the waterway for 80 miles downstream: $15,772
Percent of the residents of Danville, Va., a community downstream of the spill that draws its drinking water from the Dan, who are people of color: 53.3
Risk of cancer for people living within a mile of unlined coal ash pits: 1 in 50
Number of times that exceeds what the Environmental Protection Agency considers an acceptable risk: 2,000
Number of times more likely it is for someone living near a coal ash pit to develop cancer than someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes per day: 9
Coal plant communities didn’t choose to be the dumping ground for America’s dirtiest energy source.
The renewable energy revolution and putting the brakes on climate change won’t be led by industry and government alone.
I had other plans for The Friday Photo today but spent more time than I expected crafting my comments to the EPA about proposed carbon pollution rules for existing power plants and why Plant Washington isn’t an existing source of greenhouse gases. The deadline was today at 5:00 p.m.
My comments included this:
“On a sunshine soaked afternoon in September 2013 while Power4Georgians was announcing its intent to request permit extensions from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, crews hired by the current land owners were preparing the proposed plant site for planting timber. Growing timber is an investment in time and money, as my family knows from timber management on our family farm. Growing trees requires patience as it takes several years before even a thinning of the growth is necessary, with significant harvesting sometimes requiring 20 years of patient waiting and watching.”
Just like growing timber, fighting Plant Washington has required time and patience, and some watching and waiting. The investment for those of us who steeled ourselves and stood up in our community has been worth the effort. We won’t have to wait decades for the return on our investment.
This is good Mr President but why not step up and stop Keystone XL now? We won’t get the oil, Americans and First Nations will be forced to give up their private property to a foreign company, spills are sure to happen in our backyards, and all of us will suffer the climate effects of the dirtiest oil in the world. If you truly belief what you are preaching, act now.
Why did the world sit on its hands for over two weeks before beginning to address the 300 girls kidnapped for the purpose of being sold as child brides? It is because they are black? Because they are Nigerians? I am holding Hamatsu Abubakar in The Light until she and all her friends are returned safely to their families. Abubakar means “noble.” Bring Back Our Girls
There are two big news items from Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) and we’re only three days into the week. Chip Rogers was fired for violating GPB’s employment policies for much of his stint at the public broadcasting network. While Rogers stated his $150K per year job at GPB, the network hired a radio professional with decades of experience to produce his show. Did Rogers need help with his 30 minute show because he was also busy working as the Vice-President for Government Affairs at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association?
Yesterday the Atlanta Business Chronicle announced that Georgia State University’s 100,000 watt, student-run radio station WRAS, will broadcast GPB’s programming from 5 a.m.to 7 p.m. The station’s Album 88 programming has a strong following, but those listeners will have to stream Album 88 during the day until it switches back to over-the-air broadcasting after 7 p.m.
And that’s not all. GPB is switching to a news and information format with programming piped in from National Public Radio, American Public Media, and Public Radio International. A GPB produced talk show will debut in the fall of this year.
GSU has a license to operate the student programmed station but didn’t involve WRAS management and staff in the decision making process to fundamentally change the programming format. WRAS posted this on its Facebook page,”WRAS management and staff have had no part in the decision made by the university regarding our partnership with GPB. As a completely student-run/managed station, the administration of GSU acted unilaterally in making this decision. A statement from the staff on the matter will be made public soon.”
I posted this photo on January 25, 2012 after Cobb EMC abandoned Plant Washington and resigned itself to a likely $15M loss on the proposed coal plant it had bankrolled with co-op owner/member dollars.
Almost 6.5 years after it was announced as a “done deal,” Power4Georgians has asked for a permit extension for this because P4G chose to delay construction.
Today is the last day to tell the Georgia EPD that Power4Georgians has had plenty of time.
We’re all living on the same small spinning piece of real estate sharing the limited water and air that has to sustain all of us. Every one of us have skin in this game.
April is National Poetry Month. Rural and Progressive is posting favorite poems shared by writers and poets. Today’s was contributed by Raven Waters.
While Traveling to Montana by Train
a family free verse, by Janisse, Raven and Skye
Twelve degrees outside the glass tube
a lot of snow
trees in perfect rows
snow sculpted by the wind
foot tracks of deer, antelope, and other things
north country does not follow me home
pockets of farms close to the border
I toboggan down the stairs
blue shadows of snowdrifts
uninterrupted horizons for the eye
one coyote at dawn
Raven Waters submitted this family poem. Raven is a student and farmer in south Georgia. His wife is author Janisse Ray, who shares farm duties with Raven and their daughter Skye. Janisse’s work will also included on Thursday, April 24.
April is National Poetry Month. Poet Dan Corrie shared this poem with Rural and Progressive.
Table Grace: For the Good, the True and the Beautiful
Seed of the three is
the True – world itself’s
like the fence-line lost
in thickets of blackberries
favored by a phoebe.
From that first, seeds buried
in the mind might
root deeper, branch higher –
of the Good, of the Beautiful –
of the merely here
harvested by my noticing.
Plum’s restorative taste
rounding around seed
might guide us to be
a health of seeds
branching into falling
to seeds to deeds to seeds –
from felt meaninglessness
to meaning’s feeling.
Let each of our choices
root and rise, like the giving
of pears for the table
and mulberries for the waxwings.
Let our living
be ownerless fields
grown thick with our thanks.
–by Daniel Corrie, originally published in the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
This poem emerged from my wife’s and my adventures in exploring relocalization in rural South Georgia.
Six years ago, we moved from living in Midtown Atlanta to settle on my wife’s inherited family farm in Tift County, an hour and a half north of Florida. One of our key concerns about the move was whether we’d be able to eat as we’d grown accustomed with all the choices available in Atlanta, including buying from local farms we had toured where we’d met and even become friends with some of the farmers and knew they didn’t use pesticides.
A key persuasive factor was that a member of the board of Georgia Organics lived in Tifton. We telephoned her, and she told us of her local volunteer efforts devoted to nurturing a true farmers market, as opposed to what so many such markets have been: a cross between a flea market and an outlet for venders to resell produce grown nowhere near and with no assurance of how it was grown.
After we moved down to the farm, we enjoyed joining our new friend in devoting time to the farmers market. In that process, the three of us also organized the first South Georgia Growing Local and Sustainable conference, which attracted about 60 people to the Tifton event. The conference has gone on to be held in various parts of South Georgia, organized by other friends who care about healthy, locally raised food, with the events attracting from one to two hundred participants. And Tifton’s farmers market has grown, with other friends in the community emerging to run it and to shape it and improve what our group has incorporated as the Wiregrass Farmers Market. The market has come to be headquartered at the beautiful Georgia Museum of Agriculture in partnership with the University of Georgia. The market has come to be a place where people come not only to buy food but to run into friends and enjoy visiting with each other.
Around our inherited house, my wife planted a garden, as well as sixty-some edible trees and bushes. Some of our Tifton friends began a slow food club, in which different couples or individuals will host a pot-luck at their home and everyone attending puts together dishes with local ingredients. They might grow some of the ingredients themselves, buy from the farmers market, or buy or trade or simply be given ingredients from other friends and neighbors.
In my poem, I refer to three values highly prized by Plato: the good, the true and the beautiful. While Plato thought in philosophical terms of eternal, perfect forms, my poem reflects my own personal bias for the true in terms of the real, at-hand world where the particulars matter, such as which farmer raised what we eat and how much carbon went into transporting our food during our time of global climate change. When circles of people find fun in working together while paying attention to nature’s ways, the good and the beautiful surely can follow.
This letter was submitted to newspapers sold in the Washington EMC area:
Um, no. Not really
There is a critical error of fact in a press release issued by Power 4 Georgians last week. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has NOT stated that Plant Washington is exempt from any of the proposed carbon, or greenhouse gas (GHG) rules proposed by the agency, for existing or new power plants. In fact, it has become even clearer that, if built, Plant Washington will be subject to carbon pollution standards. The only question is how protective those standards will be.
Plant Washington’s developer Power4Georgians has requested yet another extension from Georgia’s Environmental Protection Agency for his dinosaur-fuel based project. Southern Environmental Law Center attorney John Suttles commented that, “If Power 4 Georgians commenced construction a year ago like they said, they wouldn’t need additional permit extensions.”
Power4Georgians is choosing to delay construction.
With no announced Power Purchase Agreements or billions in required financing announced, of course the project requires extensions. If the project was fully funded and customers were waiting for power, wouldn’t the plant already be under construction?
The arguments against Plant Washington continue to grow larger and stronger with time. More energy producers are switching to renewable fuel sources due to reduced costs. Ratepayers are demanding more power produced by sunshine and wind. Major financiers have abandoned coal projects. A similarly speculative project, the Longview Power Plant in Maidsville, West Virginia, began operations in December 2011 and filed for bankruptcy less than two years later. Meanwhile, ratepayers for power plants like the Prairie State Energy Campus have seen their monthly bills go up by as much as 51 percent due to the soaring costs of coal plants.
We’ve never needed Plant Washington in the first place. If you don’t believe me, drive out to the 10 megawatt solar farm in Davisboro and see where Cobb EMC in Marietta is buying clean, affordable electricity generated right here in our own community.
FACE Executive Director
Washington EMC owner/member
Crop mob– A group of landless and wannabe farmers who come together to build and empower communities by working side by side.
You don’t have to be landless or a wannabe farmer to support farmers who are committed to sustainable farming. You also don’t have to know anything about farming or gardening (that would be me).
You will need a decent pair of work gloves, sturdy outdoor work shoes/boots, a hat, some bottled water, sunscreen, and a willingness to get your hands dirty for a few hours. In exchange you’ll help a small farmer who needs additional help during a critical part of the growing season.
My friend, and organic farmer, Lyle Lansdell, is hosting a Crop Mob at her farm, Forest Grove Farm in Sandersville, Washington County, this Sunday, April 13. Her passion for good health and good food inspired her to dig into (no pun intended) organic farming after retiring from a public health career at Chapel Hill. Lyle has also continued the careful restoration of her family’s 1850s era home, Forest Grove, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lyle told me when she decided to raise and sell lamb, she committed to making sure she knew exactly how the lambs would be butchered and processed. She chose a processor after walking through the entire facility and talking with the owner. She sells at the newly renamed and relocated Green Market in Milledgeville on Saturdays and the Mulberry Street Market in Macon on Wednesday afternoons. You might also find her at the Sandersville Farmer’s Market on Wednesday mornings in the summer.
If you’ve wanted to show a child where food really comes from, and how much work it takes to grow that food, bring them along to help. You’ll leave with a little dirt under your fingernails and a craving for ripe, red, sun-warmed tomatoes.