PeachFest Kicks Off Monthly Speaker Series: PeachTalks
PeachTalks are an initiative from the team at PeachFest to continue the conversation about agriculture while engaging and educating leaders in business and technology about ways they can assist in creating a safe, honest food system right here in our home state. At every PeachTalk, we aim to find a problem, present a solution, and eat & drink well. Here’s what we found from our first PeachTalk on January 31, 2018.
After sampling smoky, cucumber flavored Mezcal cocktails on the first floor of Flatiron City in Downtown Atlanta, around 35 guests sat in a circle to learn more about PeachTalks.
PeachTalks, a monthly speaker series focused on Georgia agriculture and technology, launched on Wednesday, January 31. The first talk featured three speakers: Founder of Cochon555 Brady Lowe, Lucror Resources Managing principal Arun Nijhawan, and City of Atlanta Urban Agriculture Director Mario Cambardella. Guests enjoyed wines from Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region, alongside spanish cheese, as they discussed ideas and issues that came up during the talk.
Organized by some of the minds behind PeachFest -- which returns to Broad Street on July 29, 2018 -- PeachTalks are an extension of the educational experience built into the festival.
As an introduction to the series, the goal was to understand what some of biggest issues are surrounding Georgia agriculture. To put it mildly, there are a lot of issues.
For starters, small scale, family farmers lack many basic necessities they need to scale. Processing facilities are few and far between, broadband internet is spotty at best in many rural areas, and there is a serious lack of information and support as resources are directed towards big, industrial agribusinesses.
There are also several issues on the consumer end. Do they understand the value of good food? Do they know where to find it? Do they know how to grow it? Would they know how to cook it even if they did? Would they know how to preserve it for the winter?
For most people today, the answer to many of these questions is “no.” Less than 2% of Americans farm. Almost nobody remembers how to can food. Few people cook anymore, and even fewer eat seasonally. These actions were all staples of our society, community and economy until recently. Now they are forgotten, much like our farmers.
Ultimately, the crowd agreed that more education and resources need to be directed towards a new food economy. An economy that prices in the cost of carbon or potential health costs, that helps small farmers create business plans that keep their barns open, and that encourages landowners to grow some of their favorite foods themselves.
Future PeachTalks will dive into some of these issues and offer potential solutions. We are thrilled to gather some of the brightest minds in Georgia to get them thinking about agriculture, and look forward to more conversations throughout the year.