Food Intensive is Aptly Named
The food intensive is aptly named because it is very intense. There is no down time in the middle of the day, and every hour that we weren't driving we were being bombarded with information from people with all different perspectives on the American food system. One day we would visit someone who wholeheartedly believes that GMOs will save the world from all of its woes, and the next we would talk to someone who thought GMOs are pure evil. We were left to try to decide what we did and didn’t believe. Rather than telling us what was right and wrong, the trip presented up with lots of information that we had to decipher to develop our own opinions.
Full-Belly Farm is both a business and a site of experimentation. Students from UC Davis and UC Berkeley use the farm to do agricultural research, and the farm has done some research of its own. One of these research projects was to see how many native pollinators were living in the farm area. They found so many pollinators that they decided not to get beehives. Instead, they planted flowering hedgerows among the their crops to attract the native pollinators to the farm. I admire this innovation and their willingness to try new tactics in sustainability.
The destinations that stood out to me were The Regenerative Design Institute and Full-Belly Farm. The Regenerative Design Institute was so striking because it was so similar to the idea that I have had for a intentional community on California’s north coast. I found the institute very inspiring because it has achieved a working permaculture system with several different types of agriculture. They also teach permaculture in the summer, and since I live in the bay area I could easily attend their classes. The Regenerative Design Institute is a great jump-off point into the world of permaculture for me.