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Romancing the Farmer Side of Wine Country

The Agrarian Lovers Ball — not your grandparent’s barn dance.

By Guest Blogger Evan Wiig

Between rolling hill after rolling hill of sprawling grapevines there simmers in Sonoma County an insurgence of agrarian romance, thanks to the Farmer’s Guild. Nodding to yesterday’s traditions but also beckoning a future that’s within reach, these green-thumbed guerrillas and carbon cowboys gather to speak not only of tractors and the price of alfalfa, but of using soil to reverse climate change and collaborating towards a system of true food justice. And on behalf of visitors to Santa Rosa and its surroundings, this same community is working hard to assure that you’ll have something to eat alongside that glass of Chardonnay.

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Each February, brought together by The Farmers Guild, aspiring ranchers, well-seasoned farmers, local food advocates and more all converge in Sonoma County. Attracting crowds from across the state, their annual “Farmers Guild-Raising” concludes with an open invitation to the general public: come stomp some boots, share the bounty, and show your love for a new generation of sustainable agriculture: the Agrarian Lovers Ball.

IMG_6806Three years running, this month, on February 20, the ball takes place at the pavilion of Shone Farm, the gorgeous outdoor educational facility of Santa Rosa Junior College. A homegrown meal, local beer and wine, plus swingin’ live music to keep the crowds moving, this amorous celebration welcomes lovers of the soil, food-centric families, farm-bound couples ready to rekindle a post-season romance and yes, plenty of single young ranch-hands looking for love.

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This isn’t your wine-country Pinot Noir tasting stuffiness that some associate with Sonoma County, but a down-to-earth, DIY, dirt-under-your-fingernails kind of crowd. And while you’ll certainly find epicureans among them, the collective vision forged at The Farmers Guild and the upcoming Agrarian Lovers Ball is one in which good, honest food is a basic human right, one that is threatened each day by global warming, monopolization and the simple yet dangerous fact that America’s farmers are aging faster than we young clod-hoppers can fill their boots. So to preserve that right, that legacy and that basic human necessity, we must work hard, fight for food system reform… and, yes, make some love while we’re at it. Come celebrate with us!

For more information, visit www.farmersguild.org

evan wiig headshotEvan Wiig is the Director of the Farmers Guild, a statewide organization promoting the next generation of sustainable agriculture headquartered in Sonoma County.



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