We rolled out of the Oak Motel and headed over to Stanford's college radio station where Leslie Chung and Michael Cleveland Osborne of KZSU 90.1 fm hosted us for a conversation. Often on the road, when talking about similar topics, you find yourself telling the same stories again and again. Leslie was very prepared and thorough and engaged a conversation that broke out of the routine talking points that generally come up. This is both exciting, because often new ideas are discovered, and a bit perplexing, because when away from routine, it is easy to get lost, in either the words being spoken, or the emotions coming to the surface. 

Michael told us to take the Dunbarton Bridge to Touro, and we did, arriving at the odd campus- one that is in the ruins of an old naval base- just in time for our noon screening. A crowd of 50 trickled in, and unfortunately, we were in a venue that seated substantially more than that. Because we only had an hour, we showed clips of the documentary and then talked about the context of the scene in the larger story of the film. As the clips played, I talked with our hosting professor Lucy, in the back shadows of the cavernous old stage, as the picture flickered on the screen. She's Kenyan, and has a natural kindness of spirit, offering to help our organization on a number of projects we are working on, including connections with some school gardens in her native country.



From there we inhaled lunch before heading to Acta Non Verba- latin for Actions Not Words- an urban garden in Oakland started by Kelly Carlisle. Kelly has a big personality, and a warm charismatic spirit. Everything she says has an aura of importance, and purpose. Her deep love and concern, and above all service, to her community is an inspiration. She talked about what she meditates on as she gardens, that as she prunes plants, she thinks about how she needs to prune some people out of her life, with a chuckle, people that bring her unnecessary drama. She talked about how she thinks about pruning out cigarettes of her life, before something happens to her health. Her honesty is so refreshing, and we're honored to have her as our first Young California Farmer. 



From there we jumped back in the white corolla rental, and drove to Berkeley, where we arrived at Sibley Auditorium to find hundreds of people clamboring for free burritos. Julie and Alannah carried them in, and we gave out the free food to the first 100 people in line. As people ate, behind the closed doors of the auditorium, myself and a few professors and volunteers were trying to get the 1980s equipment to play audio. The screening scheduled for 7pm, began to look precarious, as it seemed that the ancient technology may have ultimately crapped out. After over half an hour of switching out computers, cables, restarting everything again and again, we ventured a momentary solution- to have the panel discussion before the film, and then to buy speakers and project them from the laptop. I gave a longer-than-usual introduction- without a mic- to the 250 people in the auditorium, which as it turns out- bought just enough time for a very kind individual- who just emerged from the audience- to figure out and fix what looked like a truly hopeless situation. The movie played, with sound and everything. The projector was probably from the 1970s, and periodically added psychadellic RGB distortion to dark colors on the screen.


Following the film, Novella led the panel, moderating with ease and confidence, asserting her authority right away when a loud enthusiast began to list off a number of random ideas. Novella told her no, we'll only have questions. That set the tone. Nicolette Hahn-Niman talked about her unusual path weaving through environmentalism, law, cattle-raising and vegetarianism, often bringing the crowd to laughter.

John Wick talked about how he started out as a conservationist, meaning that he wanted to preserve nature. To do this, he bought land and got rid of all the animals on it, allowing it to return to its natural state. What he discovered was that the land actually needed animals to thrive, and he began reintroducing cattle, which in turn, reintroduced a plethora of grass species and unseen micro-organisms within the soil. 

Gareth and Maura were there with a very newborn infant, talking about life as young farmers, and in a way, introducing themselves and what they do to the Berkeley community. We're ready to provide you with food, Maura said, with smiles abound in the audience. 


Lynn talked about how she appreciated the balance of the documentary, a public complement much appreciated. She's a professor at Berkeley who has been working towards goals that dovetail with John's, to essentially show how agriculture and healthy ecosystems can overlap. Nicolette offered improvements when it came to some of our calculations, which we will examine and certainly take to heart. 

After the after-conversation with the engaged Berkeley community, we shared a late-night meal at the Chez Panisse café, grass-fed steak that won't soon be forgotten. It all seemed a dream, to be honest, just as much a weird one as a good one.

After food, we headed North to Sacramento and checked into Mike's home, which we found on the new thrifty site, Air BnB. 

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