Farmer Services Coordinator Donn Cooper is our man in the field. This is his column from the summer issue of The Dirt, which you can receive by joining Georgia Organics!
With each edition of The Dirt, I have too many farmers to thank for their time, generosity and dedication to the good food movement. However, after a recent trip to southeast Georgia, there is one person I’d like to single out.
Coasting into Sylvania, I was not surprised to see the blue lights right behind me. My black Dodge Charger, a rental with DeKalb plates, had a little more gettyup than I was used to.
I stopped on the shoulder, gathered my license and rental receipt and handed them to the patrolman as he approached the window.
“How fast was I going?” I said.
“Sixty-eight in a 55.”
“Oh, wow,” I said, starting to sweat. Didn’t he know I would never speed intentionally? This car just goes too fast, officer.
He studied my license. “Do you know where you’re headed?”
“Relinda Walker. Walker Organic Farms,” I said, worrying how that word “organic” would be taken in this part of the state. The previous day I had driven past countless fields of conventional onions curing in the sun.
“OK,” he said, handing me my things. “You’re going to want to take a right up here on Route 21. It’s about five miles down the road.”
Now, I’m sure the ticket would have been written had I not said Relinda Walker’s name, which, I think, is the moral of the story.
The statistical indicators are inconclusive, if not disappointing, for the progress of organic farming in Georgia. Support from legislators sits between nonexistence and passing acknowledgment. Yet here is an organic farmer whose person and farm are integral parts of her community and landscape.
Integration within the local community is the first measure of big-picture success for organic agriculture. And it’s happening everywhere: from Elberton to Jeffersonville to Newton. Progress starts with people.
We’ve got a movement afoot. Thank you, Relinda.