Randy and Ann Salatin, Lake Santee, believe there are business opportunities around local crops. He reported, “We did manage to grow 300 tomato plants in our residential neighborhood last year.”
Betty Lou Walsman, Oldenburg, noted that by participating in CSA, “I became enamored with cooking something where I knew essentially where it came from.” With a life expectancy of 99, “I really want to be healthy for most of it. I want to eat food without additives. That’s my commitment.”
Richard Cartwright, Oldenburg, said he and Mary Meyer have planted a lot of fruit and nut trees in the hopes of becoming food self-sufficient. “I appreciate ... the Big Four and different places around town that feature local foods.”
Larry Haldeman, a Sunman organic farmer, was there with daughter Kerri, who said, “I have tried to get my parents’ property full of seeds.” She is interested in permaculture, biodynamic farming, bringing animals into the equation and canning and freezing to extend the harvest. According to Rebekah Miller, Michaela Farm, Oldenburg, head gardener, “I started growing because I wanted to get my hands on the freshest, most local food possible.” Excited to be doing it for a living, her goal is learning “how to grow things well and not use up our resources.”
Karen Kestler, Batesville, and her husband grow natural beef with no antibiotics or hormones. The family gets most of their food from the farm’s garden.
Core group member Chris Merkel, Michaela Farm manager, pointed out that when selling to the public, “You want to produce the best and healthiest products you can with the lowest (amount of) chemicals.”
Patty Reding, a fifth generation Greensburg farmer, grows produce using two methods, certified organic and conventional. “I am very particular, especially about meat.” When she compared store-bought beef to her own, Reding decided the former “has no flavor.”