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March 26, 2009

ATLANTA!

Posted by Anais Dervaes

Now that we are back, we are digesting all that happened in less than six days' time: a 4500 mile road trip, 2 day organic farming conference and the first ever Georgia Freedom Gardens Gathering.

Today, finally had a chance to look over all of the photos, send out thanks you's and "nice to meet you" etc., just reliving the whole experience all over again. Not to mention kicking ourselves for things that we forgot to do and wish we could "do over."  But that's a whole 'nother story.

We have done this cross country or 1/2 country trip many a times before (either by car or train).  So we pretty well knew how to slim down our packing and carry enough "good" food and water to sustain us during our travels.  Of course, with owning some old cars (Suburban and Mercedes) that definitely need some repairs, it was best to just rent a mini van with good gas mileage and for peace of mind.   We especially wouldn't trust our '88 truck on such a long trip in such a short time.  Last time we did, the engine burned up.

After leaving LA at 6.30 am Wednesday morning and hauling across country, we arrived tired, hungry in Atlanta at 1:30 am Friday morning.   Farmer D's 4 hour long presentation was to be at 8 am that same (Friday) morning! Special thanks to Glynis & Richard, Atlanta Freedom Gardeners, who generously offered us a wonderful place to stay, not far from where the Organic Farming Conference was held on the lovely campus of Agnes Scott (all girls' college).  Agnes Scott has previously been named number two in the nation for "Most Beautiful Campus" by The Princeton Review.

So  having arrived at 1:30 am that morning, we had but a few hours to catch a few fitful zzzzz's and then it was up at 6am!

Farmer D's workshop, we were told, was sold out - about 140 people registered to attend.   The four hour long workshop went over the 10 elements that make up an urban homestead and how we are striving to implement these elements in our daily lives along with a screening of our homemade production HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION. The presentation went very well.  Many folks came up afterwards and told us how much they were inspired to change their lives, so that was pretty awesome.

After the pressure of pulling off a successful presentation was over, we could relax and enjoy our stay.  So we hung around the campus, enjoying the sun and wonderful spring day, ate and chatted with conference goers the rest of the day and that evening. It was quite funny to watch the reaction from fellow farmers whom we just met, ask how many acres do we have.  Of course, we "only" have a 1/10th of an acre while others had several hundred acres.  We could use some!

We also met one fellow who had worked at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School here in Pasadena and he had heard about our mini farm while he was in So Cal but never had the chance to meet us or visit the farm.   He joked that we had to travel 3,000 miles for that to happen.  Actually, I was surprised to run into quite a few who had lived in California at one point or another, and some who had been following us online many years ago.   One lady said that she started reading LHITC back in 2003!  That blows my mind and pretty soon we'll be celebrating another year online!

Saturday, nothing was really on the agenda till that evening when an extra special showing of Robert McFalls' HOMEGROWN screening before the Gala dinner and Michael Pollan's speech.  We were on hand to host a Q&A session after wards.  From what I could count (in the dark), over 200-250 people were in attendance and, from the feedback, the movie goers really were touched and inspired by the film.

Throughout the conference, people kept coming up to us, saying that they were so inspired, thanking us for being there and the president of Georgia Organics told us herself (and I quote) that PTF "was the hottest ticket here." Plus, she really liked HOMEGROWN.  Once folks found out that we were showing up, the workshops filled up and they had the highest attendance ever - nearly 1,100.   For reals?   That was shocking to us but was glad that she was so happy about it.  So were we.

On Sunday morning, we attended the first ever Georgia Freedom Garden Gathering held at the wonderful community garden facility there in Decatur, Georgia.   The host put on a wonderful brunch and visitors contributed to the potluck and swap table.

We got to meet many of the FGers in person that we just know by their screen name and profile picture and that was a treat.    Not only were many of them FGers but they were also LHITC journal readers who, I think, made the trip a very memorable one for us all.

Then Sunday afternoon, it was back in the car and the long 36 hour plus ride home.  It seems like if it weren't for Texas, the trip would have seemed shorter (sorry, Texas!)   Lucky for some of us we were able to sleep, nap on the way back, so, when arrived back at the urban homestead, we were ready to get back to work!

Our family would like to thank everyone at the conference for their wonderful, southern hospitality.  We wish we could have stayed longer and taken everyone up on their "come on down and visit us" offers - maybe next time?  Ya'll left us with a lasting impression that we will cherish.

We hope that our trip has inspired you to be the change and live the solution.

And now for the photos.   Boy, it was hard choosing, but, otherwise, enjoy!

Answering questions during a break during the urban homestead presentation

Farmer D shows all the elements involved in urban homesteading

I field a few questions at the end of the workshop

Lunch time

Agnes Scott College host to the Georgia Organic Conference

Let's eat!

Jordanne chats, while I check emails

Farmer D talks with conference goers

The big tent

The chapel and classrooms where our workshop and movie were held

Michael Pollan says hi

After the movie Farmer D takes a few more questions

So do Justin ... and I.

Dinner featuring local, slow foods

Chatting with the president of Georgia Organics

We all pose for a picture with Barbara Petit, President of Georgia Organics

Michael Pollan gives his keynote speech after the dinner

Georgia Freedom Gardens gathering

Farmer D talks about why he founded Freedom Gardens

Jordanne chats afterwards

Farmer D mingles

I yap with two Atlanta Freedom Gardeners

Justin hangs out with Freedom Gardener who likes to forage

Having loads of fun with "QuietStorm81"

Smile!

Sure gonna miss their southern hospitality!

Happy spring and growing everyone.


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6 Comments: "ATLANTA!" »

  1. Awesome! Thanks again for making so much of this networking possible - It's great to be able to look at photos of your GA FG gathering and point out "Hey, it's So-and-so!" having never met them in person. Now, if only they'd get going on inventing us instant teleporters so we could all visit...

  2. You DROVE??? I just figured you flew! Well -- you came through the midwest without stopping! :( (I know, you would have gone further south than us).

    Glad you had a wonderful time!

  3. We really enjoyed meeting all of you at the conference. Hopefully one day you will be inspired by our homestead as much as we are by yours :D It's a work in progress, but give it 5 years and we'll see.

    We're following you guys on our RSS reader, and trying to soak up all of the wonderful info that you have here on your site!!!

    A postcard is coming soon ;)

  4. I'm so glad you had a great time and made it safely. Looking forward to what's next.
    Peace
    P~

  5. What a great trip report! It looks like a lot of good information was shared, along with some good eats and laughter.

  6. So happy to have you here and to attend the workshop!
    Fabulous!

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