No Sleep 'Til Thornton

Up most of the night editing we headed to New Hampton bright and early on little sleep and no shower. 

The screening for High School Ag Students was at the Middle School, in a big spacious auditorium. At the end of part one, we broke the auditorium into about 7 groups of 10 students. Each group of students is in turn joined by community members, often parents, and more often than not farmers. 

We discussed the first section of the film by going over a few questions together in smaller groups, which has been working well because it allows more students to get to speak up and interact. Before, when we just had panelists in front of the audience, only the bravest students would speak in front of such a large crowd. 

After a second round of small group interaction, we had the adults go to the front of the room for a more conventional panel. It was good to hear the grown-ups speak, but I must admit that the best moments I witnessed came from the smaller group interactions, when students got a chance to share their thoughts. Too often, the panel doesn't allow the kids the opportunity to be actively engaged in the discussion. Passive involvement often leads to texting and squeaking chairs. 

After the panel wrapped, we met some more young farmers interested in being profiled for the Young Iowa Farmers video series, and hope to get the next one out to you in the next couple days. 

Heading South and West we arrived in Latimer at CAL Community with about 10 minutes to spare before the 1pm screening. We were greeted by AgEd instructor Sarah Beaver, as well as Phil Kramer of Niman Ranch and a big table of ham cube samples from Niman. Principal Meyer worked the sound, and the crowd of close to 200 took in the afternoon screening. Once again we had a wide range of farmers, many from Niman Ranch- one of our co-sponsors on the screening series, and many conventional farmers and representatives from Farm Bureau. Sure as fog in winter, there were differences of opinion. But there was a lot of respect, and never once was there any tension. Because of the large number of people in attendance, the small group sessions were a bit more hectic, with the sound reverberating off the walls. We got a surprise visit from a good friend- Paul Willis- who founded Niman Pork in the 1990s. He also generously offered up his farm as a place to stay. 

After sharing closing conversation with farmers, and saying goodbyes, we followed Paul to Thornton. We managed to stay awake long enough to share dinner with good friends Phyllis, Paul, Lisa and Dave before heading back to the farmhouse and uploading videos. Now it's time to sleep. 

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published this page in Ruminations 2012-07-18 11:04:03 -0400