A Lunch I Will Never Forget
On Saturday 09-21-2013 my husband and I were sitting at the back table inside of the grand ballroom at the Loews Ventura center. We were waiting to hear the Aquaponics Association speaker Joel Salatin come up to the stage. I knew who he was and I admired his work and passion.
We were in the midst of listening to a speech given by James Hollyer about food safety (which my husband already knew a lot about because of once being in the restaurant industry), a man sat down next to me in the empty chair. No big deal just move your stuff over a bit and let him have some leg room Victoria.
At first I had no clue who he was and asked him "Do you have enough room to sit?" as I moved my notepad over for the man to have some extra space. "Yes I'm fine thanks." The man pulled out his notebook and started to make some notes about the lecture being given.
Once the lecture was over, Casey told the audience, lunch was being served in the foyer and there would be a 30 minute break. I still had no idea who was sitting next to me until the man stood up and I could see his name tag and read Joel Salatin. I then happily introduced myself along with the ASC Magazine and asked him if he would consider writing us an article at some point. I then left the business stuff alone and decided to have a NORMAL conversation with Joel Salatin.
I asked Joel how did he like the Tucson heat? He said he wasn't going outside for that reason (96 degrees on Saturday) and I agreed that was a smart move. Then we moved into conversations about the Australian heat, what part of Australia I was from, how rich the mining was in Australia, the changes in the land with fracking, bad erosion in New Zealand and how much Joel really enjoyed Australia and New Zealand. "I really love that Australian accent, it's so refreshing." he said. Did I just score some brownie points on the accent? Or maybe we were having a great conversation because I treated Joel Salatin just like a regular guy.
Mike and I went off to get some lunch and came back to the table. Joel came back with his plate and sat down with us and the conversation started up again with Joel, Mike, me and Glen Martinez from Olomana Gardens.
Glen already knew Joel from other conferences and there was some reminiscing and laughs between the two. You know Joel Salatin is a pretty nice and very approachable man. The lunch conversation started out with farms and the deadly bacteria's that now exist in food like E-Coli and Listeria. There were all kinds of comments back and forth where these bacteria came from and the whole food safety speech.
In chimes the young woman at the table "I just love your work and I have all of your books Mr. Salatin and we are big fans," with the big eyes and tilted head smile, as she ate 2 lettuce leaves and 3 slices of tomato for lunch. (The rest of us were eating a good lunch composed of rolls, meats, salads and cheesecake.) Joel smiled politely and gave a very quick "Thank you, that's very much appreciated" and moved back to the conversation with myself, Mike and Glen.
Most of the time if you treat famous people like you have known them all your life, you are more likely to have a great conversation with them. Many of them don't want to be ogled over, they just want to be treated like everyone else.
Growing Up and RememberingI made a few comments about how it was when I was growing up, "I was raised on a sheep farm with over 1500 head of sheep. I used to dislike it when the cattle trucks came in and hauled the sheep away. They used to cram the sheep in with their necks sticking up high and all squashed together. Hauling sheep for hundreds of miles in that condition."
"My mother had a big vegetable patch and we used a lot of dried out sheep poop in the garden. We also had chickens, ducks and horses. I never even knew what bacteria was and no-one ever was sick from eating our vegetables. The farms used to trade and share produce and the chickens would run loose in the garden and no-one ever considered separating one animal area from another. They just all got along" There were heads nodding and comments made about their farms being about the same, as they remembered.
I then said "I never had an allergy until I came to live in America. Up until then I was free of swollen eyes, sensitive skin and sinus issues." Again there was more head nodding and uh-huh noises made as we ate lunch.
When Joel Salatin gave his speech to the Aquaponics Association one of his opening lines was "That some of us grew up on farms, never even knowing what the word bacteria meant." I just smiled because I guess what I said resonated with him.
I was very glad I had the opportunity to meet and have lunch with Joel Salatin. He is just an average, down to earth, easy going man. He has a common sense approach to farming, bacteria and getting back to the land. I totally agree with what he says too.
Our society has become so disconnected that we are afraid of germs, bacteria and we have separated everything that helps the natural cycles of things work the way they are supposed to. I have to say it, official personnel and science don't know everything, as a matter of fact they have got a lot wrong. You only need to see GMO to know it's all screwed up. Joel Salatin lets his pigs go wild in his compost pile to make it better. I am sure food safety people would have a heart attack over this.
You know what? Our bodies are made up of thousands of different bacteria and Joel is right about mixing things up. It is the separation of this animal from the other one that causes the problems. Cows were supposed to go into the corn occasionally, just like my mothers chickens went scratching around in her vegetable garden patch. You are supposed to get dirty and have bacteria on your hands, clothes and body. How can we ever fight infections if our bodies don't know some of these bacteria's?