Saturday, August 17, 2013

Farm Bulletin: Feeding the Dog

While contributor Anthony Boutard of Ayers Creek Farm spends a good deal of time each legislative session testifying before various state committees on proposed legislation affecting small family farmers, this week he expresses his appreciation for, and the necessity of, small farm advocacy groups like Friends of Family Farmers.

A good watch dog is well-fed and cared for, and spends its time protecting the premises rather than thinking about its next meal or wondering whether people appreciate its snarling diligence. This applies to watch dog groups as well as the canine sort. On 25 August, you all have an opportunity to feed the best watch dog on matters pertaining to small farms in Oregon, Friends of Family Farmers (FoFF), and tuck into a meal prepared by Chef Dave Anderson of The Original Dinerant. Nothing one-sided about that deal.

Shari Sirkin and Bryan Dickerson (left) of Dancing Roots Farm will host the benefit dinner at their farm in Troutdale. And there is not just a great meal in store for you, Bryan's jazz trio will soften the night air, and you will get a tour of a very different farm. We are not all stamped out of the same mold. Just to underscore this point, we have never been civilized enough to serve cocktails at an Ayers Creek ramble, but you will get them up there at Dancing Roots, and a bit of auction action.

In the thicket of groups claiming to be advocates for family farms, Friends of Family Farmers are the real deal, standing head and shoulders the rest. They are not trying to tell a story, the warm and fuzzy approach that accompanies the usual table in a farm event where people dress up in stylish boots and nuzzle chickens and pigs. This dinner is a celebration of real accomplishments in Salem this session, including a temporary ban on rape seed production in the Willamette Valley, something near and dear to the hearts of seed producers, as well as a vehicle to pump up the FoFF coffers before the next legislative session.

It is a tough business being an advocate and lobbyist for the larger public good, and it helps the soul to have friends celebrate successes. If you can't attend the event, we would endorse sending an encouraging note and a bunch of greenbacks as a fine alternative.

Details: Farm To FoFF Dinner at Dancing Roots Farm. Sun., Aug. 25th, 5:30 pm; $115 in advance. Tickets available online. Includes dinner, cocktails and beer or wine and a one-year membership in FoFF. Event at Dancing Roots Farm, 29820 E Woodard Rd., Troutdale. 503-759-3276.

Read a profile of Chef David Anderson and his identical twin brother, Ray, that I wrote for the Oregonian's FoodDay, titled "Twin Chef Face-Off."

Photo of Shari and Bryan of Dancing Roots Farm by Shawn Linehan.

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