Over many centuries and in every culture, people have come together over food. From holiday feasts to summertime picnics, eating forms the centerpiece of many social gatherings. Some of our folks here participated in an authentic Tongan pig roast in Pleasanton this Saturday. It was an exciting opportunity to experience the cuisine, dancing and music of these Pacific Islanders. They reported on such unusual delicacies as octopus (looked like blueberry yogurt, but certainly tasted different) and banana cream (not what one would expect from the description), as well as more familiar pork and fruit dishes.
While people still meet in coffee shops and church halls over coffee for many social and cultural reasons, people are coming together today over food for different reasons than they have in the past. One way that people are expressing their care for each other and for the planet is by coming together purposefully regarding the food that they eat. One example is Slow Food Delta Diablo (http://www.slowfooddeltadiablo.blogspot.com/), which is a local member of the Slow Food Movement working to “preserve and promote local agriculture.” Another example is the Martinez Permaculture Center (http://www.martinezpermaculturecenter.com), a group that encourages a more sustainable lifestyle through community and backyard gardening.
Buttercup Farms has long been a place where people love to gather. The farm draws friends and relatives of people who live or work here. They come for a day or a weekend. Usually they get a tour of the garden and are introduced to horses and dogs of many shapes and sizes, tortoises, cats and, of course, our neighbor’s yak
Those who stay more than a day often participate in the work of the farm. Some settle in enough to walk the grounds observing the birds and other wildlife that thrive here and admiring the views in every direction. And they almost always join us for a meal.
As our cultivation has increased and we move toward supplying others with produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, the purposeful gathering of those who support local food production and the natural attraction of the farm itself are coming together. It is exciting to watch the farm production itself in its role as a community builder. As word spreads of our plans to share our produce, we learn of people and organizations with similar goals and our network grows.
Next Sunday on Earth Day, we are looking forward to meeting some of you that we may have spoken with by phone at our seedling sale in Walnut Creek (55 Eckley Lane). Our beautiful heirloom tomato plants will be featured along with other vegetable seedlings. We hope to see you there!