We were quite grateful to be invited to Montgomery County’s inaugural Local Food summit this last Tuesday! Though the processing facility which currently acts as the center of our business is in Clinton county, the farm I grew up on, and many of This Old Farm’s early influencers are in Montgomery County. It was fantastic to run into some of those early influencers, and to see how far we’ve come.
My mother Jessica had been asked to take part in a panel discussion on local food, I was present to set up and remain with our booth, and one of my sister’s, Rebekah, tagged along as well. As the day progressed, I reflected on how little the roles available had changed, and how much those who filled them had. A woman curious about starting a small farm operation with her family approached me with questions, and after encouraging her that it would be a fulfilling challenge I recalled being Rebekah’s age tagging along with my mother as she inquired with those with more experience as to how to better our family’s farm. Since then, I’ve moved from hanging behind my mother to hanging behind This Old Farm’s booth, Rebekah has moved from needing a babysitter to joining us and helping out, and Jessica has moved from an audience member seeking information to a panelist giving out the knowledge she’s acquired.
It’s exciting to see the local food movement grow and acquire recognition. Having members of Visit Montgomery County present to find out how to promote local farms and potential agritourism opportunities, members of the Chamber of Commerce there to find out how to better support small farm operations, and a school dietician talking about her efforts to get local foods and food education into public schools were all incredibly encouraging. We’ve come a long way from trying to convince ourselves we’re not crazy for farming way we do. Now we help encourage others that they’re not crazy for wanting to farm the way they do!