Posted on Thu, March 19, 2009 by Jerusha Klemperer
1 Comments | Categories: Farms and Farming,
Meet Andy and Hilda Byrd, Terra Madre 2008 delegates who are organic farmers not too far from Atlanta, Georgia. They see their farm as an opportunity to educate children, preserve disappearing heirlooms, and responsibly and sustainably steward the land.
by Andy Byrd
With me being in the wheelchair, attending Terra Madre provided some challenges with transportation, electrical conversion, and a few other obstacles, but thank you Slow Food for giving us the opportunity to be a small part of such a huge movement. It was great being around so many different individuals from different countries who have the same purpose: providing good traditional, healthy food for our people! We left Terra Madre 2008 knowing that we are doing the right thing on our farm by educating children of all ages about sustainable farming and being good stewards of the land. In 1997, my wife, Hilda, and I were led to land near our hometown. We ultimately bought 74 acres near Walnut Grove, GA. The farm was named Whippoorwill Hollow Organic Farm after the Whippoorwill birds that flourish on the property. A seed was planted.
Blueberry bushes and other fruit trees were already established on the farm so we began with a pick-your-own blueberry business. Today, we operate an on-farm store that sells produce and organic feed. We have Community Support Agriculture (CSA), sell produce at the Morningside and Decatur Farmers Market, and we market to Atlanta restaurants supporting local farmers in search of fresh, organic food.
There are many activities involved in operating a successful farm. One of my favorite activities in my 4X4 wheelchair is providing farm tours to groups, especially children from local schools. I enjoy educating the public about sustainability and planting seeds of ideas in a new generation.
Our desire is for people to understand that organic farming is not just about growing plants. In addition to growing more nutritious fruits and vegetables, organic means taking care of the environment using natural fertilizers and non-toxic pesticides. It is also getting people to slow down, sit down, and introduce others to healthier foods and lifestyles. People arent aware of the tasty, nutritional value that spinach and other vegetables provide while nourishing the body. And, they miss out on the family traditions and values that were passed down at the table and the farm.
One item passed down through generations is heirloom fruits and vegetables. A traditional activity that Hilda enjoys involves seed saving, especially the Whippoorwill pea. A fond recollection is of her father planting their family garden, the Whippoorwill pea and other rare seeds. We enjoy sharing the Whippoorwill peas with individuals and their stories as they are seeking this lost heirloom across the USA.
Our hope is that others are inspired to plant seeds in their own backyard garden, connecting the past to the present while promoting organic farming and sustainability.