COLUMBUS – Weston A. Price Foundation President and Treasurer Sally Fallon gave the keynote speech and presented at several sessions during the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s recently-concluded 28th annual conference.
The association is a membership-based, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and supporting sustainable, ecological and healthful food systems.
The conference was held March 3-4 in Granville, Ohio, and attendees included farmers, consumers, gardeners, chefs, political activists, teachers, researchers, retailers and students.
Topics. Fallon presided over a sold-out six-hour preconference session, covering topics such as: the vital role of animal fats in human nutrition; the dangers of modern vegetable oils; the pioneering work of Dr. Weston A. Price; the issue of raw milk in Ohio; and the health benefits of enzyme-rich lacto-fermented foods.
During the conference, Fallon presented two sessions on a campaign for “real milk” and “the oiling of America.”
The former session covered the science and research behind the safety and health benefits of drinking raw milk from pasture-fed cows, and the latter session covered the detrimental health affects linked to untraditional lipids introduced into the American food supply within the past century.
Vision. Fallon’s keynote address on how to keep added value on the farm laid out her vision of saving the small family farm and rural communities by focusing on traditional value-added products such as butter, cream, cheese and raw milk from pasture-fed animals.
Fallon used her former hometown of Healdsburg, Calif., as a model of how a community can prosper by concentrating on value-added products as opposed to growing commodity crops sold on the open market.
“My hometown was a virtual dump during my childhood in the 60s when local farms grew pears and prune plums, commodity crops that were bought and resold by big corporations.
“Everything was run down, there was no good restaurant in town and most of the buildings needed paint,” stated Fallon.
Wine country. “But Healdsburg is located in Sonoma County, and you would hardly recognize the town now after local farmers switched to cultivating grapes and fermenting wine.
“Rather than growing commodity crops and seeing others profit from their efforts, Healdsburg farmers now not only grow their own grapes, but make the finished product fine wines sold at their own wineries or at retailers across the country and around the world.
She said that the profits and income now stay in Sonoma County.
“It is my hope that small farmers can learn the same lesson and start producing their own value-added products, taking advantage of the growing consumer interest in high-quality raw milk, cream, butter and yogurt,” continued Fallon.
Raw milk. “Educated consumers will beat a path to a farmer’s door to buy creamy raw milk from healthy grass-fed cows that tastes like melted vanilla ice cream, and will gladly pay anywhere from four to $12 a gallon.
“My conservative estimates are that a small farm with 30 head of cows on 100 acres can easily make over $150,000 in gross income per year.”
She believed that raising chickens, hogs or other animals that can eat the by-products of cheese and butter production can easily bring in tens of thousands more.
“Selling directly to consumers through farmer’s markets, herdshares or CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) can easily make small farming a viable lifestyle again and can breathe new life into dying rural towns and communities.”
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