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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Georgia Organics Celebrates Lean, Green Foods

Farmers from around Georgia met at the Augusta Convention Center for the 21st annual Georgia Organics Conference, a celebration of the relationship between organic farming, personal health and environmental protection.

At the February 16-17 event, wait sta served a colorful array of dishes such as goat cheese, kale and tumeric spread with certified organic peanuts, and White Oak Pastures smoked pork shoulder with creamy sauerkraut, fingerling potatoes and cornbread pain perdu (French toast).

Between dishes, organic farmers gave speeches, with sustainability as a constant theme, and awards were given out. Loretta Adderson and her husband, Sam Adderson, won the Land Steward Award. During her acceptance, Loretta issued a plea: “We need more farmers!” she said. “I’m still trying to grow more farmers.”

Even though she and her husband are retired, Adderson says she is motivated by future generations to continue farming and teaching.

“What are we feeding our children?” she asks. “What are they having? Certi ed organic vegetables?”

No. According to a study by Gandarvaka Miles and Anna Maria Sie- gaRiz published in 2017, french fries are the number one vegetable toddlers are eating in the United States.

“This is why Sam and I are still farming,” said McDonald. “And I still love it. I still love farming.”

While McDonald spoke about the need to create and sustain new organic farmers, others spoke about food and the American culture of wasting it.

Fighting Food Waste is Key

Steven Satter eld, a tall, lean, bearded man, was the keynote speaker. A celebrated Georgia restaurateur who owns Miller Union in Atlanta, he won the 2017 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast.

And as a self-proclaimed “loud voice in fighting food waste,” he has a bone to pick with modern food culture.

“The truth is, we have done more damage in the last 50 or 60 years than we have in the last 10,000 to our food system,” Satter eld said about halfway through a speech charting America’s change from a rural, agrarian society to modern consumer-based markets.

“Factory farming, feed lots, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotic use—it’s all completely dizzying,” Satter eld said. “The further we stray from our farming roots, the deeper the disconnect there is between us and food.”

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