Wise Traditions 2012 Conference Highlights

by Ann Marie Michaels on November 15, 2012

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Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Raw Dairy, Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus and son Micah, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade, Blaine McAfee of Organic Pastures Raw Dairy, and Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Wine smuggling, goat bone necklaces, raw milk outlaws, sexy butchers, bone broth makers and kombucha brewers, Prop 37 heroes, and COUGARS!

OK, yeah, so I overdid it a bit this year at the Wise Traditions conference. Let’s just say I burned the candle at both ends for a few too many nights in a row.

And by burning the candle I mean I was “running with the party crowd” (as your mom used to say when you were in high school).

Ah, but I couldn’t help myself. So many amazing people changing the food supply and improving people’s health and saving the environment — how could you not stay up late?

24 Hour Party People

That’s Jenny of Nourished Kitchen and her husband Kevin, pouring local Colorado Gewurztraminer they smuggled into the awards banquet dinner.

Yeah, OK, there was some wine smuggling going on. The Santa Clara Hyatt didn’t make it easy on us — the bar stopped serving at 11 pm. I mean, really, 11 pm? As my 5-year-old says, “You gotta be kidding me!” Note to self: Need to write that thumb’s down review on Trip Advisor.

This is my LA friend, Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. She was the one who started all the trouble. 😉

I know next time not to try to keep up with Monica, who drinks her Maker’s Mark “neat”. I do, too, but dang, y’all, that girl made me look like a lightweight.

Oh, and yeah, the bartender at the Hyatt called us “cougars”.

Ouch! I know! And no, I am NOT kidding you.

Here’s Kelly the Kitchen Kop trying hard not to fall asleep at the awards banquet dinner.

She really did have her eyes closed — I just didn’t quite catch it. But you can’t blame her, poor thing, because they don’t serve coffee at this conference. My camera worked better than caffeine — she sat right up after I snapped this.

And here’s a few more party people, Becca Griffith and Will Winter dressed up like bacon with the crew from Chaffin Family Orchards:

Will was asking everyone, “Do I look fat in this?”

Prop 37 Heroes in the House

Proposition 37 Heroes at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Dinner

Lisa Stokke, co-founder of Food Democracy Now, Steve Rye, CEO of Mercola.com, Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association & Pamm Larry, Instigator of the campaign to label GMOs in California

There was no rest for the wicked, because it’s not every day you get to go do shots with Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumer’s Association, and Steve Rye, CEO of Mercola.com. Even if you have to take a cab to Milpitas to find a Dave & Buster’s. (Yes, we really did that.)

Seriously though, Steve and Ronnie did so much for Prop 37 — it was such an honor to meet them. How could I turn down a pilgrimage to Dave & Buster’s?

And I got to give Pamm Larry, another one of my heroes, a hug at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Dinner. In case you don’t know, she’s the woman who kicked off the whole initiative to label GMOs in California.

And I got to hang with one of my favorite friends, Jeffrey Smith, anti-GMO activist and author of Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette:

Meat & Bones

I was also thrilled to meat (oops I keep doing that — I mean MEET) butcher extraordinaire Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith.

Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith

I heard someone (I won’t say who) say he had a man crush on Brandon — and it’s easy to see why. He makes butchering sexy!

And what is it with his name, Sheard? Sheared!

And then I met Tamara Wilder — another name that fits. She’s so awesome — kinda like the female version of Daniel Vitalis. Wow, another one — VITALIS: to make vital, living, or alive.

I don’t have a cool last name — but maybe I will change my middle name to Cougar.

Here is Tamara Wilder (and is that her daughter? someone correct me if I got that wrong) of Paleotechnics. Hands down, they had the coolest booth at the conference.

I bought one of their awesome bone necklaces.

It’s made of toe bones from goats and deer. And, ironically, I was drinking bone broth when that picture was taken. I was joking that if I ever get hungry, I can just boil my necklace.

Bloggers & Film Directors

Of course I also enjoyed hanging out with many of our (new and old) Village Green Network bloggers.

Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus, Gabriella Makstman of A Crafty Gourmet, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade, and Kristen Canty, Director of the film, Farmageddon

That’s Kristin Canty, director of Farmageddon, along with bloggers Mommypotamus, A Crafty Gourmet, and Food Renegade at our Village Green Network blogger party on Friday night after dinner. We were sharing our goals, which we do every year. It’s always very inspiring and motivating.

If you’re a blogger and you’re not a member of our network, you should join!

I also got to meet Graham Meriwether, Director of American Meat.

I bought a copy of the film — you can expect a review soon.

It was my first time meeting the funny and adorable Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo.

She has a great post on the Wise Traditions conference here.

Farmers & Food Activists

My good friends Victoria Bloch (arrested last year for selling raw milk — doesn’t she look like a hardened criminal?!) and sustainable farmer featured in Farmageddon, Sharon Palmer of Healthy Family Farms.

My good friend, Max Kane, founder of the brand new website, FarmMatch.com, with Farmageddon director Kristin Canty.

I’m extremely impressed with FarmMatch.com! I think this is going to be an awesome tool — go check it out!

And the wonderful Gené Walls of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund with her sweet son asleep in her lap at the fundraiser dinner. (That’s Max Kane’s smiling face to the left.)

Fabulous Exhibits

There were lots of great booths at the Wise Traditions conference — too many to cover in one blog post. Here are a just a few of my faves this year…

Yay for LunchBots! I’ve been a fan and customer of LunchBots stainless steel storage containers for years. They are the coolest.

No surprise — I looked up their CEO & founder (Jacqueline Linder, pictured above) on LinkedIn and in her former life, she was Senior Product Manager at Apple Computer. No wonder she designed such a cool product. (Did I mention that Apple was my first client right out of college?)

I met another Apple alum, Michelle Liu, was over at the VitaClay booth:

I used to cook in a teflon rice cooker. And then I found VitaClay rice cookers. I’ve been using mine for several months now and I love it! You gotta get one. I’m actually upgrading to the biggest fanciest one that will make yogurt.

I was also honored to meet founder, Steve Dickman from High Country Kombucha, one of my very favorite kombucha brands.

I think we should have our next conference in Colorado — I’m up for some snowboarding with the High Country Kombucha boyz! (No dice – it’s going to be in Atlanta. OK, someone needs to plan a conference in Colorado!)

And I got to visit with my good friends and Village Green Network sponsors, Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory of Kombucha Kamp:

And our dear friend and sponsor Sandeep Agarwal of Pure Indian Foods Grass-fed Ghee:

Another one of our favorite sponsors, Radiant Life Company, looking radiant and healthy!

Here are some of my old friends and our new sponsors, Corganic:

Look for a scoop on this blog coming soon from Corganic on their new raw cod liver oil (it’s super exciting).

And finally, Reb and Simon from RealBoneBroth.com and Wise Choice Market.

A couple of very handsome fellows who will ship real bone broth to your house for FREE. Yes, you heard that right!

And just wait ’till you try their grain-free chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s the bomb!

Okay, I could go on posting more pictures and I really wish I could because I have so many more things to share — but I have to stop here. If I didn’t get your photo in, my apologies. I simply must rest!

Yes, it’s true, I’m sick in bed from the exhaustion of staying out late being a cougar.

Video: Wise Traditions 2012 Conference Highlights

Oh, right you want to see the annual highlight video!

Here it is:

See all those pictures of our farm tour in the video? Stay tuned for a post coming soon about our “glamping” (glamorous camping) trip to sustainable grass-based Northern California farm, Chaffin Family Orchards.

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