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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

Farmer – Fisherman Dinner & Field Day

Nestled between the setting sun over harvested grain fields and the distant hum of highway 151, a fire crackled in Folklore Village as smoke billowed over a cabin full of friendly, hungry faces. Volunteers here were preparing for a dinner of epic proportions. The smell of the ocean still stuck to oysters, shrimp, and fish, complemented by the kick of Cajun seasoning, hot grease, and funky local Wisconsin cheese captivated a soon to be full room. Fishermen from the Gulf of Mexico and farmers alike from our Uplands group spent their afternoon laughing and cooking a meal for over one hundred guest interested in their story and work.

As the fire built in the oil drum grill just outside the entrance, the parking lot began to fill. Farmers and fishermen walked shrimp skewers and fish fillets to the open fire as guests walked past, many stopping to get a whiff of the freshest seafood most may have all year. Within minutes, Folklore Village transformed into an incredible communal space filled with people across generations and all likes of life. Plates were made, stories were shared, and lessons were learned that night as the same hands that made the meal prepared for a field day the next morning.

By sunrise our group was back to work, setting up the field day presentations and fresh seafood for a new group of producers and community members interested in the financial benefits of conservation practices. With the tent up aside Ryan Dolan’s dairy operation, and jambalaya being warmed, the space quickly filled and another fire was made. Agriculture agents, researchers, and farmers spoke on their experience with conservation practices, while a subtle wind blew the smoke across the crowd from sizzling beer brats raised just across the street at 7 Seeds Farm. After a brief tour of the land, the group reconvened under the tent to continue to build community and learn from each other through a shared meal. By the end of lunch, many reflected on the 24 hours passed and the many new connections, perspectives, and decisions all made through a commitment to stewardship, and connected by the Mississippi.

Lynn Grooms wrote about these groups in    titled Fishers, Farmers continue tradition   Read article online here