Jolie Vue Farms
Most of us know about the local heroes of sustainable agriculture and "eating where you live". Monica Pope of t'afia; Gerard Bach of Chez Nous French Restaurant; Chefs Joseph and Chris of Quattro's; Joan Gundermann of Gundermann Organic Farms; Brad Stufflebeam of HomeSweetFarm and TOFGA; John Mackey of Whole Foods; and Gracie Cavnar with her Edible Houston Schoolyards.
From there, you can spread out to the coasts, where you find Alice Waters and her Farm to School Cafeteria program on the left coast and Nina Plank's Greenmarket on the right coast.
But now we have to add another local and one foreigner to our list of heroes in unexpected places, Monty Dozier of Texas A&M, and Prince Charles. Yes, that is Princes Charles of the Royal Family of Windsor.
I, and my devoted earth mother/wife and children, have been some sort of livestockman and gardener since 1989 when we acquired Jolie Vue Farms. I have had many conversations with various professors in the Ag department at Texas A&M. When I was doing things the "modern" way, those conversations were always friendly, information-rich, and helpful. That changed when I made the decision to go "au natural". Suddenly, my friends at A&M became disdainful skeptics. Mostly, they had no clue as to how to answer my questions about organic, chemical-free, or sustainability. I stopped calling, and that was fine with them. There simply was no benefit to either party to discuss issues about which we had nothing in common.
That has apparently changed, or at least is changing. Be introduced to Dr. Monty Dozier of the Agriculture College at A&M (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is bringing his extension agents and students out to places like HomeSweetFarm to study sustainable agriculture methods. I am told by Farmer Brad, who was as surprised as anyone by Dozier's request to visit his farm, that Dozier said "this is a trend that people are interested in, we are public servants, so I am here to learn about it and teach it"(paraphrased). If our agricultural college gets behind sustainable agriculture, folks, you will see warp speed advancement in the art and therefore in the supply. Send the professor your support and congratulations - you can bet he's having to swim upstream at the college.
And how about Prince Charles, a guy who will be King of England someday? Well, he's no johnny-come-lately to the movement. In fact, he is one of the earliest leaders. Hear this, from and about the prince, as reported by the recent NY Times: "Given another life, I think he'd have been a farmer." (his farm manager) From the prince: "I can only say that for some reason in my bones I felt that if you abuse nature unnecessarily and fail to maintain a balance, then she will probably abuse you in return." and, "We no more want to live in anonymous concrete blocks that are just like anywhere else...than we want to eat anonymous junk food that can be bought anywhere".
Prince Charles owns and personally oversees Home Farm, an 1100 acre sustainable farm where he preserves British meadow and wildflowers, raises GMO-free vegetables and heritage stock, and promotes his farmer cooperative "Duchy Originals" products for the benefit of charities and British sustainable farmers.
So there you have my "heroes in unexpected places", Monty at A&M and Charles of Windsor. Congratulate them.
Yours in the local harvest,