“Farmer John” to visit Cornell

I’m in the process of lining up visitors for the next year at Cornell and I’m happy to say that I’ve just lined up a visit from John Peterson, the founder of Angelic Organics and the subject of the film “The Real Dirt on Farmer John.” If you haven’t seen this documentary, I highly recommend it. John grew up on a family farm in northern Illinois. After his father died, he took over the farm and in the 1960s (after being introduced to a world of artists at Beloit College) worked to make it an arts community as well as a farm. Like so many, though, his farm succumbed to the decline in small farms in the 1980s. He sold off almost all of the land and machinery and traveled and wrote. He later returned to the farm to give it another try, only to find his conservative neighbors didn’t want him there because he had the gall to be “different.” He was accused of being a satanist, a drug runner, a deviant etc and the farm went into decline again. But John persevered. With persuasion from people in Chicago who were hungry for organic foods and some connection with the source of their food, John turned the farm into a Community Sponsored Agriculture farm and it is now one of the largest CSAs in the country, providing healthy food to over 1,400 families,  with an impressive learning center and farmer training and biodynamics education program as well. It’s a great story of community as well as a great story of individual perserverance and dedication to a life of farming and connection with the earth on John’s part. Details of John’s visit are not set yet, other than a visit to my Amerian Nature Writers class, but I will update this when it is all set.  He will be on campus on September 11, and I think this will be an evening not to miss. In the meantime, check out the Angelic Organics website and/or watch the documentary (it’s depressing at times, but in the end it will give you hope about our future).



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