|New Pioneers Columns|
Some of our well-loved columns that appear as "New Pioneers Notes" in The Springfield Sun.
As the spring growing season emerges, my mind is occupied with the challenge New Pioneers has chosen for itself this year: creating a local food system here in Washington County. To many of you, this goal may sound far-out, more tilting at windmills than reality-based. But it is no exaggeration to say that local food is one of the hottest economic development topics in the nation today.
Dudley and Joseph Tapp run On Tapp Dairy of Springfield, which was started by Dudley’s father in 1966. Joseph Tapp, Dudley’s son, started farming full-time 7 years ago after attending college, though he has been helping out on the farm his whole life. Over the past four years the dairy operation has been difficult to sustain due to drought and the related feed shortage. Two years ago, the price of milk dropped further and the Tapps had to see what else they could do to stay viable as a farm. Veal calves was the answer to provide the farm with extra income.
These long winter evenings I’ve been catching up on a backlog of reading from the holidays, the Courier Journal, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and piles of magazines. Our winter weather pattern of a long siege of snowy days has been unusual for its persistence: along with the ice storm of 2009, our mild winters seem to have been replaced with weather similar to the days of my childhood, when boots and coats stayed piled at the back door from November to March.
The Changing the Way We Eat conference at Bellarmine University in Louisville on Feb. 12 was energizing on many levels. Organizers had hoped for 100 attendees; more than 250 showed up! Kentuckians like Wendell Berry’s daughter Mary Berry Smith, Mike and Susan McCain’s daughter Mary McCain Courtney, and J.D. Country Milk’s Willis Schrock were every bit as dynamic as the national speakers downlinked from the TED Manhattan conference. And the vision shared by Louisville’s new Mayor Greg Fischer was nothing less than astonishing.
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