Well, folks, it's that time of the year again...time to squirm some wormholes up to the surface and loosen up the soil across America in preparation for Earth Day! The added benefit, of course, is I get to see what's going on and who's doing what. This time I found myself a little confused all the way over in New York state, and who do I squirm into but yet another Organic Valley farmer, Casey Knapp!
Me: What the?... Where in the squirm am I? Hey you...you on the park bench...where am I?
Guy on park bench: Who, me? Who's that? Where?
Me: It's me, Ovie, over here, in the soil. But I asked first...where are you...I mean...where are WE? And who are YOU?
Guy on bench: Oh, hey, cool...OVIE! I know you...It's me, Casey...Casey Knapp from Cobblestone Valley Farm...remember? We met at that Earth Dinner last fall.
Me: Casey Knapp? From THE Cobblestone Valley Farm? Where are the cows and the strawberry fields forever?!
Casey: The strawberry fields are sprouting and the cows are on the grass back at home, on the farm. We're in the Quad at Onondago Community College, Ovie, and you're in our organic garden.
Me: OH! Well what the soil are you doing here?! Don't you have some farm chores to tend to?
Casey: Not today. I'm in college now...studying business. Hey!... I've been elected President of the Whole Earth Club!
Me: Awesome! Uhm... What's the Whole Earth Club?
Casey: Okay...well, basically, it's an environmental club. One thing we're doing is creating a garden near the children's learning center, the one you're in there, to show how easy it is to grow food organically right here on campus.
Me: Great idea, Mr. Knapp! Sounds like another Earth Dinner in the making!
Casey: Hey yeah...could be! I love Earth Dinner.
Me: Me, too. Hey! What a coincidence! I've been asked to be conduct an interview with someone about Earth Dinner for my page on Organic Valley's website...mind if I ask you a few questions about it?
Casey: Sure, go ahead.
Me: Okay, let's see here...Question number one: What is an Earth Dinner and what's the point? Why would someone host an Earth Dinner?
Casey: Well, that's easy. At an Earth Dinner, people get together for a delicious meal of locally grown, seasonal, organic foods and share stories about food. It's a great way for people to stop and think about the food they eat and where it comes from and how we're all connected to the food we eat.
Me: Great answer. But what about right now? With Earth Day coming up it seems like a good time for an Earth Dinner. What locally grown food could a person serve in the springtime?
Casey: Great question. There are a few greens that come up early in the spring. We'll have spinach and asparagus soon. But aside from that you could serve up what's left of the winter storage crops like potatoes and squash, and there's always locally raised meat available. Beyond that, if someone has a greenhouse, you can basically grow anything anytime.
Me: Beautiful. And what about kids? A bunch of my readers are kids. Would kids like an Earth Dinner?
Casey: You bet! It seems like now, more than ever before, lots of kids just think food comes from the store. When they learn how and where it grows, they start to see how cool it is to grow your own and have it prepared in a delicious way. I can easily see kids getting really excited about it because it would be completely new to them, and kids like to learn new things.
Me: That's awesome. So what do you think? Will you have an Earth Dinner with the kids once it's time to harvest the food from this garden?
Casey: Well, sure, someday. But it takes time to build up the soil. This year we're adding compost so we can grow even more food next year. So down the road, yeah, it's a real possibility. We might be able to grow an entire meal in that garden.
Me: SQUIRM-O-RAMA! I CAN'T WAIT!
Casey: Well, I'm afraid you'll have to wait, Ovie. Creating a healthy organic garden doesn't happen overnight. Patience is a virtue, you know. But I'll be sure to send you an invite when it's ready.
Me: Oh, you're right. It's like me waiting for the ground to thaw...it's like that old song...Turn, turn, turn...
Casey: Right on. And now it's my turn to get back to my studies and your turn to get back underground and turn up that soil.
Me: Right on is right. Thanks, Casey.
Casey: Thank YOU, Ovie. See you later.