Slept in and grabbed lunch at Wholly Cow, a locally-sourcing grass-fed burger joint in downtown Austin. The place was busy, and so we waited for our food and people watched other people waiting for food. When it did arrive, truly fabulous. From there we camped out at  a cafe and sent out e-mails and downloaded footage. 

Taking a break, we found a massive park, and hiked up a dried up river bed, admiring the occasional overhang with mossy dangling plants. 2011 was the worst drought in recorded history in Texas, and many a river and creek ran dry as a result. 
Wayne flew in from Missouri for this one, which means it's going to be a smash hit, and it was. With an amazing venue, and an amazing host- The Campus Environmental Center- with student president Faith Shin doing so much of the legwork to make the event happen. 
The theater was totally packed, 375 people in attendance, with a phenomenal panel, ready to energize and provide for the people there. 
Skip and Erin, of Green Gate Farms were there, along with son Ethan. They are a legendary farm in the Austin area, mainly vegetables, and they sell directly to customers. Erin invited everyone out to work on the farm, and mentioned that they were setting up an informal dating platform, where co-eds can weed together and perhaps find a future farming/life companion.  Huge laughs. 
Robin Metcalf trumpeted the virtues of heritage hogs, about how they've been working with a non-profit in Maine to bring back endangered species of pigs. It didn't get the same visceral reaction as the weed dating invite, although I'm sure some farmers in the audience appreciated the mention of an often overlooked topic. 
Jim Richardson is a former conventional farmer, who has switched to grass-based farming, with direct sales to chefs and customers being a good chunk of his sales. He also sells to the Chipotle on Guadalupe in Austin, following the model Polyface helped set up in Charlottesville, VA. 
He said that he chooses not to certify his hogs as organic, largely because of the amount of paperwork, and also because of the extreme shortage of organic grain in Texas. I was luck enough to meet the young farmer, Cameron, I believe, who is the only organic grain producer in the state of Texas. Pretty cool, and a pretty big head start on a growing market. 
Skip steadfastly, and respectfully supported organic certification, extolling the rigors of certification, and saying that customers should really support the label, because a lot of farmers, like him, dedicate their efforts to meeting the rigorous standard. 
Bat Sparrow, moderator and professor, pointed out some of the challenges of growing grass in a drought-prone region like parts of Texas, and the fact that many aquifers are being drained because of agricultural needs. He thought that a solution would be to raise less animals, eat less meat, and help maintain, and regenerate some of the abundance of the Earth. 
Erin talked about the growing interest of young people in farming, and how their farm is a part of a program to help mentor young farmers, to actually get them into land, so they can begin the path to an economically viable farm. 



After the screening, about 75-100 of us walked across the street to Chipotle, and were able to share a meal together and talk about some of the issues in the documentary. At our table, I received some valid criticisms of the documentary, and ways in which I can improve for the next one. Which I truly appreciate, as nothing shows love like words that will help one to improve. 
On the way out, I said goodbye and thank you to Wayne and Ashley- also with Chipotle- and then talked to Skip and Kevin and Lynn. Kevin is actually Sheri Salatin's father, Lynn being his wife. It was super cool to meet Kevin, and hear the pride in his voice when talking about Sheri and the rest of his family. 
Another night, another jolt of optimism, another dose of the food system is changing and we're thrilled to be a super small part of it. 
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