Growing The Growers Filming Trip 2010

Diary with pictures of our trip to the USA and England to meet with people that have successfully encouraged more people to garden and farm organically

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Abingdon Farmer's Market

In an area where tobacco used to be the main crop grown it is not surprising that the agricultural sector is depressed. On this trip to the USA we decided to venture into some quite unknown territory to find out just what happens away from the buzz of California and the expertise to be found in NE Maine.

If you enjoy learning about the world by reading fiction you can learn about this area of Virginia in Barbara Kingsolver's wonderful novel 'Prodigal Summer'. In fact this visit to southern Virginia was inspired by her book Animal Vegetable Miracle - a year of food life. Our 'growing the growers' question was "just how much impact can one book have on the way people eat, the food choices they make and the way the food is grown?"

The answer is "a huge impact".  World wide the concept of eating local is now on the agenda and even In this conservative backwater of the United States a determined band of stubborn individuals are working at offering feasible agricultural and marketing  alternatives. Our pilgrimage was heading us towards the Meadowview Farmers Guild & Harvest Table Restaurant however Meadowview is a very small village and there is no accommodation so we had to spend the night close by in Abingdon. And what a treat that turned out to be. 

Four crazy Australians visiting Abingdon VA - what better time to test Google with a few questions.

Q: Who supplies the Harvest Table Restaurant with vegetables? 
A: Antony Flaccavento (and others)
Q:  Antony Flaccavento 
A: Abingdon vegetable farmer who started the Appalachian (pronounced - Appala-ch (as in Czech)-an) (Czech will feature later in this blog so be reassured it is not a random illusion!)  Sustainable Development  organisation.

So off to the Abindon Farmer's Market to find Antony Flaccavento local food activist and grower and to find out what you can buy in this small town in the middle of the week.

What a stark contrast to San Fransisco! This is not a buzzing, high end, glitzy tourist attraction rather it is a warm focus for a small community  where locals can come together to buy their food from growers they know and have a chat with friends. 

I am still not sure whether or not this building was purpose built but it is a great place for a market. Lots of covered space and a park in front..

Fred Jan and Mike talk to the market manager.

Had to put this one in!

. . . and this was such a beautiful stall.

Spring seedlings of course.

if space hadn't been a luggage issue I would have bought a few of these beautiful baskets.

Never seen these at a farmers market before. 

What a beautiful array of cauliflowers

. . . . and of course the grower - Anthony Flaccavento!
What an interesting man. So much to talk about, so much to learn.
We made arrangements to go out to his farm the next day and also visit the headquarters of ASD (Appalachian Sustainable Development) the organisation that he started.

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