Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Central Florida Fair

For two weekends in a row now, we have trekked out to the Central Florida Fairgrounds to volunteer for a few hours at the Simple Living table.

I am constantly amazed by the enormous diversity of people filtering through an event that stop and chat with you about their interest in eating food from their own garden, or the health aspects of eating what you grow, and of course those who love to dig in the dirt.

I especially appreciate those individuals who stop yet aren't really sure which part they are most interested in because they haven't done much of it. They want "to do something", but aren't necessarily sure where to start. These wonderful people are like seedlings; they need lots of sunlight (a warm greeting and a friendly smile), a good base soil (invite them to come to a workshop or check out what they could be doing) and lots of water to spur the grow (encouragement that starting with just one pot is wonderful).

Below are a few conversations that stuck out in my mind, that I though I would share;
One women, Wanda, who we saw at a previous event, was interested in everything and eager to find people who would take the time to answer her questions. We talked about ways she could possibly improve her health and remedy a long suffering skin irritant. My husband talked her ear off with enthusiasm about his experiences in health and wellness. Wanda was even a brave enough soul to try the sunflower sprouts, even though at the time we weren't positive what type of sprout they were. ;)

A man who came by who was interested in growing primarily as a means to get his son involved outside, and so we talked about how excited my son has been to dig, pull, cut, snip WHATEVER he can do to be  part of a gardening experience. He was concerned that his son was too young at first, but I think our story has inspired him just a little, to know that any age, any pace, any ability can come out and do what works for them through Simple Living.

Lastly, I spoke to a women from New Zealand. She indicated back home it is common to have a garden. In fact, the "norm" is to see people out tending to plants and animals. She also mentioned she had a good laugh watching the First Lady out on the White House lawn using a spade when she had clearly never used one. To me, it was heartening to see Michelle Obama, out there. Politics aside, the exposure brings more people searching for ways to bring some of what the "First Family" does back into their lives and I would love to see some of New Zealand brought to North America by way of gardens.

The Central Florida Fair is apparently a big deal here- who knew? We thoroughly enjoyed the small town feel coupled with the openness of the participants. A big,Thank you, to the fair coordinators for putting us in a high trafficked location that allowed us to pass out ever copy of Real Florida Gardner magazine and chat with some excellent folks!

Ann S.

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