Dr. Noah Ranells, co-owner of Fickle Creek Farm, and me at the Durham Farmers Market.I also got to see how Ben and Noah engage with the public. I learned a lot about patience and grace from Noah dealing with customers at the farmers market. Even though it’s a crunchy, hippie farmers market vendors we sometimes get treated like we work at a department store. I also learned a lot by joining Ben when he led groups of the public around the farm. There are a lot of difficult and controversial issues related to how we produce food, and Ben provided a nice balance by explaining both the ugly side of modern food production with the hopeful side of sustainable practices. And I think he did that not to be simply provocative, but to lead people to question their own choices and role in the big picture and provide them with potential solutions. If you can only provide one half of that equation, you’re doing the public a disservice. I think one trick to good outreach is to provide both. I still think back on these walks with Ben when I do public outreach for my own research.
When it comes to Fickle Creek Farm and Durham, NC I could wax on all night and into the wee hours of the morning telling you about all the coincidences that happened there that got me here. And then I could talk some more about the beautiful natural history of the area, i.e. the Eno River was my church. But I’ll stop here because I’m hungry (I can’t imagine why). So if you’re ever near Durham, it’s definitely worth a visit. Bring a hungry belly, some re-usable shopping bags, and your farm boots.
Note: for more information on Fickle Creek Farm (including their Bed and Breakfast) go to http://home.mebtel.net/~ficklecreek/.
All photos on this post are by AGua.