July 21, 2012

Return from the OFA Short Course

After a true full night of sleep I'm now ready to rejoin the cognitive world and say something about the OFA short course.  True, I got home four days ago, but it's taken that long to recuperate.  I should mention that I spent the days leading up to the convention at a wedding, which greatly contributed to my sleep deprivation.

Lots of new varieties are showcased.  To the untrained eye (mine) they often look pretty similar.
If you have ever been to any kind of huge trade show picture it in your mind.  Then fill all the booths with the all the 'stuff' needed for the annual plant, greenhouse industry: pots, media (soil), the colorful (ugly) plastic wrap that goes on the outside of poinsettias, tags, super fancy machines that vacuum transplant little tiny plants.  Feel overwhelmed?  So did I.  The trade shows I've been to have either been farm related (tractors, seed catalogues and flannel) or public garden related (exotic plants arranged artistically).

The highlight of the trip was seeing Sam Kass speak about the White House vegetable garden.  He's an assistance chef at the White House and works with Mrs. Obama on the Let's Move campaign to help kids eat healthier foods.  Since I read "American Grown" as soon as I could get my hands on it, I knew many of the stories he told.  Like the little girl stuffing herself full of cauliflower without knowing what it was, or the fig tree rescued from the compost pile.  Knowing the garden is a success and has produced tons of food is great, but I liked hearing about their struggles best.  For example, they haven't figured out how to grow pumpkins.  Knowing that Park Service gardeners and White House staff have the same struggles as all us common gardens is a uniting feeling.

Of course I didn't take this picture of Sam Kass and the little fig tree that could.
It's from obamafoodorama.
The biggest disappointment of the trip was walking by Sam Kass later that morning and not saying 'hi' or 'thank you' or even just smiling.  He was talking to someone else, but that's a pretty lame excuse on my part.  I've now thought of what I'd say, so if you're reading this Sam Kass, walk by again please!

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