Ami’s Farms 2 Forks experience.

As we mentioned last week, we are off to Hawaii for the week! We will be helping 150 Whole Foods Employees become plant-strong at one of our corporate immersion programs.

Over the course of the year we also hold public immersion programs that we call “Farms 2 Forks” we had our first weekend immersion in March, and had a wonderful time. One of the participants wrote about her experience, and we thought we would share it with everyone.

If you are interested in going to a Farms 2 Forks Immersion, please check it out. We still have a few spots left in Chicago, San Francisco and New York. You will want to book soon, space is very limited.

“I was sitting in my car just before dawn in a freshly mown field in Austin, TX.  I woke up early, I went for a run and still managed to get to the Boggy Creek Farm for the Farms 2 Forks Immersion Weekend before anyone else.   Like a kid at Christmas, I was nervous and excited! Yesterday, I drove 737 miles to get here so I could spend my weekend with the experts who helped guide my husband and I to a plant-based whole foods lifestyle.  We had been vegetarian and vegan off and on for the past couple of years.  Even still,  we had both put on weight since we were married in 2010.  After a couple of false starts, we became serious about being Plant-Strong on December 27th, 2011.  Since then, we both have never felt better.  My husband has lost 40 pounds and I have lost 25!

Boggy Creek Farm is an urban organic farm nestled on 5 acres in the Austin metro.  Approximately 250 people gathered here to learn more about being Plant-Strong.  I was worried about attending by myself.  My husband couldn’t get off work to join me on the farm.  “What if there is no one else like me there?” I asked Bill, my husband.  He said, “They are all like you silly…they are all seeking a better way.”

After registration, breakfast was served and the group settled in for a word from our master of ceremonies, Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet.  Rip delivers our itinerary with humor and ease.  We are in for a wonderful experience.  Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. speaks.  We learn about the care and keeping of our endothelium and the simple things we can do to become nutrient dense warriors: eat our greens and oats!

We all picked up our boxed lunches and wandered about to find a spot to sit and take in the view.  The farm was beautiful. Rows of flowers, countless vegetables and a bunch of free range chickens make up the bounty of this place.  People strike up conversations about why they are here.  Themes string from one conversation to the next as we all find out how much we have in common.  The food was phenomenal – a red pepper hummus wrap, a salad and one of the largest apples I have ever seen.

Over the course of two days our speakers were amazing! Jeff Novick, MS, RD is the perfect foil for the misinformation most of us thought we knew about nutrition.  He has us all laughing and learning every time he takes the floor.  Dr. Doug Lisle endears us as much with his art as with the truth behind The Pleasure Trap.  Carol Ann Sayle, owner of Boggy Creek Farm talks to us about organic gardening and the pure joy that is growing tomatoes.  This brings tears to my eyes as an urban farmer myself, there is nothing in this world like growing dinner in your own yard.  Ann Crile Esselstyn gives a rousing lesson on food products, recipe ideas and more.  She leaves us all laughing so hard, my sides hurt!  I won’t tell you what went on, but  there were sweet potatoes involved.  We also got invaluable tips on how to cook great meals in just minutes from Jeff and Ann – so simple a 7 year old could do it.  The group was treated to appetizers created by The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts, demonstrated by the effervescent Leanne Valenti. Brendan Brazier, endurance athlete and author, helped to dispel the myth about protein and athletes as well. It seems to be working for him!

Our candlelit dinners in the farm fields were a time to converse and reflect over our days here at Boggy Creek Farm.  The food was prepared with love and care for us, so we would leave this place nourished and full of the knowledge that we can do this ourselves.  I never expected to feel so welcome and so inspired by the incredible group that came from all over the country to be here.  I had many wonderful conversations with not only Farms 2 Forks attendees, but the speakers and support staff as well.  I felt like my family just grew by leaps and bounds.  The best cheerleaders, motivators and educators I could ever have in my corner were there, for me.  We exchanged hugs and emails like a bunch of kids on the last day of summer camp. Some of us teary-eyed and waving good-bye on the way to our cars.

If you get the opportunity to attend one of these events – do! It was a weekend I will never forget.  I cannot speak for everyone, but I felt it deep down.  Change is taking place, we are choosing a better way.  People are asking questions. People are learning how.  Plant-Strong IS Ami Mackey

(Ami is wearing one of our Kale t-shirts)

Thank you for sharing your story Ami! Did you attend our Farms 2 Forks immersion? We want to hear what you thought!