Food and Community
During the trip we visited a handful of farms and companies doing their part to keep the food industry local and healthy. Most of the tours we went on didn't resonate with me, but a select few have really made an impact on how I view food. In particular, I loved visiting both Full Belly Farm, and Regenerative Design Institute and learned a lot from the experiences. When we pulled into Full Belly Farm you could already feel the different atmosphere. We ate lunch at one of their picnic tables before the tour even started, and three happy dogs greeted and played with us in the shade. Our tour guide, the daughter of the farm's founder, was obviously very passionate about the farm. She showed us their little walnut orchard, huge chicken pen, where their cows and sheep lived, and where they grew the majority of their produce. The whole place felt very healthy and happy. No animals were cooped up in small pens, no food was thrown around or squished. It was clear they really respected their workers and made sure they weren't being mistreated. It made me really happy to know there were farms out there that are really trying to do the right thing rather than just in it for the money.
The Regenerative Design Institute was by far my favorite stop on the trip. James Stark and his wife had rented a piece of land (out in the middle of nowhere) and over the years had converted it to a beautiful living community with gardens, small houses, and a few animals. They offered permaculture courses to college students and everyone who lived on the land seemed very tight knit. The area was really beautiful, they grew huge flower beds, had tons of berries and vegetables growing, and even a little pond inside their greenhouse. James had some amazing ideas on how he wanted the future to be, and he put them in to action by creating this community of people who would spread those ideas around the world. Since leaving the place I've decided to make some changes in my eating habits, and I hope to be healthier as a result of it .