Worth Getting Dressed Up For

Last night Cherie and I were at a reception in the Governor’s mansion in Richmond.  Forty-eight hours earlier I’d been out in a pasture, wearing a headlamp, pushing a prolapsed pigs insides back to where they belong.  I’m pretty sure I was the only person there would could say that.

It was the first time I’ve worn a tie since my last improbable invitation to the Capitol.

IMG_4715

The First Lady, Cherie and some guy who ruined the photo

The reception was to announce the creation of a task force whose objective will be to “bridge the nutritional divide” in Virginia.  Specific objectives (taken from the press release) include :

·       Improve food distribution systems to better serve a diversifying Virginia agricultural economy

·       Improve accessibility to farmers’ markets

·       Increase acceptance of SNAP/Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and WIC/EBT at farmers’ markets

·       Encourage the development of innovative and sustainable retail models to provide access to healthy foods in areas classified as food deserts

·       Increase farm-to-school and other farm-to-institution programs

We’re hoping this project is a smashing success.

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28 comments on “Worth Getting Dressed Up For

  1. DM says:

    reminds me of a verse ..”Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings.” Proverbs 22:29. Yea, I know she is not a king, but in our form of government she is the closest there is. Congrat;’s to both of you. I remember the governor’s wife being at your farm about a year or so ago. DM

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks, but our skill levels are debatable and it didn’t feel like we were standing before kings (or queens). We did get to have a brief conversation with the governor, then a longer one with the first lady. She invited us to the reception to announce the launch of the new council because she met us at our farm that day. She has a heart for the same kinds of things that motivate us. We enjoyed seeing her again and are hopeful that lots of good will come from her work (she is chairing the task force).

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  2. Joanna says:

    That fills me with a lot of hope and sounds like you are definitely not working for just the privileged (by the way, I hope you didn’t think that is what I thought – it is just that “who are the marginalised” and “why” are always the thoughts that go through my mind, when thinking about systems, because that is what I’m spending most of my time doing)

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    • Bill says:

      We have lots of customers at the farmers market who pay us with WIC coupons (a program that helps mothers with infant children buy food) and “senior coupons” (a program that helps older low-income people buy farmers market produce). Our regular customers at our weekly delivery drop points include people who are well-to-do, people who are poor, and everything in between. In some sense everyone who is able to get food from us is privileged, in that they have the ability to get to the market and enough money to buy food. But our customers are definitely not limited to the rich and powerful.

      We’ve been active in trying to make the food system more just for all people and will continue to do that. Hopefully this initiative will bear good fruit as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, Ha, yeah, I’m sure you correct in assuming no else there was stuffing pig parts back into the pig the day before coming to the Governor’s mansion. I’ve been to a couple invitation events at the Governor’s mansion. They were connected to human trafficking in Nebraska. A few years ago I was the guest escort for a gal that was invited to the Governor’s ball. That was a Tux event. Yeah, first time I’d had a Tux on since 1978 when I was married. The truly amazing thing is that in those high society level hobnob events, I can almost always find some one I know there. I’m not sure how I end up in these places with important people or what the purpose is for that but it’s interesting to see how that level of society functions first hand. Quite frankly I’d rather be stuffing parts into a pig. 🙂

    Have a great Virginia food influential day.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve been to more than my fair share of society hobnob events, mostly from back in my lawyering days. Fortunately this event was fairly casual and not stuffy at all. There weren’t many people there and it was reasonably enjoyable (although I would have preferred to back on the farm of course).

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  4. bobraxton says:

    What you had done recently might be a very useful skill at a center of political power.

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  5. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Noble goals all…
    Good luck!!

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    • Bill says:

      Those are goals that appeal to me for obvious reasons. There are others, including working to reduce childhood hunger in Virginia. I’m glad to see these kinds of things getting attention and emphasis.

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  6. shoreacres says:

    It really is amazing how closely Cherie and your state’s First Lady resemble one another in appearance. Now, all we have to do is hope the First Lady resembles Cherie in other ways!

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    • Bill says:

      You’re not the first person to note a resemblance, but it’s not as apparent to me and Cherie. The two of them do have hearts for the same causes. They might also say they both have husbands who like to talk. 🙂

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  7. I hope the task force is decisive and action driven, and gets things done. This is a great step forward and balances out the huge down of those poultry places that are likely to develop in your neighbourhood.

    The Lieutenant Governor for our province, Judith Guichon, (the Lieut-Gov in each province is the Queen’s representative, under the Governor General who is the Queen’s rep for all of Canada) is a rancher from the Interior of BC – and she practices Alan Savory’s Holistic Management. Cool, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Very cool indeed.

      When Mrs. McAuliffe was here on the farm she mentioned wanting to keep chickens at the Executive Mansion. I asked her about it last night and she seemed excited to tell us about their coop (their chef built it for them) and their plans to get chickens soon. I asked if they’d be the only Governor’s family in the U.S. keeping chickens and she said they would be. Evidently chickens were kept on the place in the past, but the practice stopped in the late 1800s. I think them keeping chickens at the mansion will be a wonderful endorsement of backyard chickens.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Lynda says:

    Bill, I hope your ideas bear fruit!
    I am also in awe of how closely your farm experience parallel’s the life of Dr. Poll! I am afraid I would be helpless in the situation you described!

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  9. zambianlady says:

    Congratulations on visiting the corridors of power. I hope the event went well and the plans will be implemented, especially the one about farm-to-school.

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  10. rhondajean says:

    Hi Bill. It’s heartening to see real people/farmers are involved in task forces and decision making. I hope your voice was loud and clear.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Rhonda Jean. We’re not on the task force. We were just there in support of it. I was part of the transition team for agricultural policy so I did have my chance to speak up then. 🙂

      Like

  11. avwalters says:

    Did you nudge that Governor to express the importance of clean water to sustainable Ag? Perhaps the First Lady? Maybe a follow-up to point out how CAFOs actually undermine real farming.

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    • Bill says:

      I took the opportunity to thank the Governor for stopping (at least temporarily) the proposed uranium mining that would have ruined our community and our farm. I didn’t bring up the chicken factory, but I hope to have the chance to do that someday.

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  12. From stuffing pig guts to sharing a photo with the first lady— what an interesting life you lead, Bill. Maybe, just maybe, if politicians stuffed a few pig guts instead of flinging bull shit, we would have a much more rational political system. The First lady, btw, sounds like an impressive person. –Curt

    Like

  13. vpfarming says:

    Looking good! Here’s hoping you can bridge that (oft cavernous) divide…

    Like

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