Posted by Tim Vidra / October 9, 2012
Virginia Farm Bureau at the Virginia State Fair
Last week Mary and I had the chance to visit the Virginia State Fair. Neither of us had been in years. It has probably been about 16 years since I've been, and Mary remembers going as a child with her family every year the fair came around.
We were invited to join the audience in a live webcast the VA Farm Bureau was putting on all about local Virginia farms. The event was set up as a virtual farm tour where we could watch what a day in the life of each type of VA farmer was like, then get to ask them questions as part of the live audience — each of the featured farmers sat on a live panel during the event.
The event we were going to was being held in The Meadow Pavilion, so we headed straight that way to go ahead and get seats.
Outside of the pavilion were the record setting and ribbon winning giant pumpkins:
Mary told me that looking at all the produce and animals had always been her favorite part of going to the fair each year when she was a kid. She also said her parents once entered her into a cow milking contest in which she won a state fair t-shirt — that's my girl! Can we get a Moo!?
Then it was time for the Farm Bureau live webcast. As I said, we sat in the live audience and got to participate in the Q&A session throughout and after the event.
Questions about conventional vs. organic farming practices came up, along with questions about GMO (genetically modified food organisms) and the importing and exporting of meats and produce across continents. Mary and I found the discussion fascinating (and sometimes scary) on many levels.
After the live webcast, we walked around the Meadow Pavilion a little bit. It was set up like an agricultural science fair on a whole other level. Mary and I took particular interest in the set up for raised bed and contained gardening systems:
I had fun chatting about possible gardening solutions for our small space in the city and what they thought about our long term goal of possibly creating a rooftop garden on our garage. They said it was doable and made a few suggestions which I tucked into my back pocket for when/if that time comes down the road. By the way, that image on the right above shows what peanuts look like on the plant.
Before we left the fair, we also had a couple of "Milk Moments:"
Obviously, we were too shy to ask anyone to take a photo of us together and don't have the Photo-shopping skills to make it happen. Oh well, try to use your imagination to picture the two of us together in this "Milk Moment."
We also strolled through the amusement and food court section of the fair but were in a hurry to get home to watch the Presidential Debate that night so didn't get to partake this go round.
All in all, we had a great time getting to visit the VA state fair and wish it had been in town a little longer so we could go back and stay for more than an hour — we promised each-other if time permits this time next year that we'll make a date of it.
And on a related note, since it's a topic near and dear to our own hearts, for anyone interested in learning more about our current food system, we recommend taking the time to rent, download, or buy and watch Food, Inc. It's the documentary that literally changed the way Mary and I think and feel about food in our daily lives.
Do you still go or have memories of going to your state or local fair each year?