Once again we attended the OGS in Asheville this past weekend. And once again, we loved it. This is the fourth year we've attended, but the first year it was held at UNCA. The conference last year was what prompted my growing love of beekeeping and pushed me to bug David until I got my own hive. It was my favorite class of 2009.
This year W and I took a pasta class where we learned to make our own homemade pasta. We both enjoyed the experience and hope to soon try it at home. W also took a Germination class where he (among other things) actually participated in building a hoop house on campus that was later auctioned off.
My favorite class this year by far was "Organic Farming- What to Expect Your First Year" taught by Anna & Paul Littman from True Leaf Farm. Anna and Paul are a young couple who decided to leap into farming and are doing quite well. They shared tons of practical tips including must-have equipment and thoughts about planning your business. It was refreshing to hear them discuss what they are actually bringing in and how they set goals for themselves along the way (they both still maintain off farm jobs). They encouraged each of us to discover our skill set and then find a partner who has strengths were you have weaknesses. I left the class with a mental list of to-dos (a few of which I have actually accomplished this week!), and an overall we-can-actually-do-this feeling which is still resonating.
More than anything else, W and I love attending these events because its so wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded folks. Its lovely to walk through and just hear the discussions that the other 1500 people are having that attend the OGS and how the mindset is all so similar. We miss that kind of kinship terribly where we live. The community just doesn't exist, but we're hopeful that we can start establishing it through our example and our actions.
Next up (I hope):
North Carolina State Beekeepers Meeting - July 2010
Southeastern Energy Expo - August 2010
Eastern Apicultural Society - August 2010
The Sustainable Agriculture Conference - Dec 2010