I spent last weekend in Des Moines, IA, at Niman Ranch‘s invitation for an appreciation dinner for their hog farmers. In brief, the trip was nothing short of inspiring – in large part due to the hospitality and warmth of Niman Ranch hog farmer Paul Willis and his family.
Paul’s unwavering dedication to respecting the land and everything it provides is an essential part of who he is and how he relates to the people around him. You only need to observe how he greets friends, colleagues and any visitor to his farm to know that this is a man who walks the talk on environmental and agricultural sustainability on every level. And it’s not limited to him. His wife, Phyllis, and his daughter, Sarah, are as big-hearted and generous, evidenced in the feast that Phyllis prepared for almost 70 of us that Friday evening.
The trip has left me flooded with many many thoughts about how we eat, the food system we live in, and the decisions that we make concerning food. And these thoughts are leading to some big changes for Bon Vivant over the next few months, which I will write about in more detail, along with my thoughts about the weekend, soon. Due to a recent car accident (which I fortunately survived without any complications), I’m taking some time to recover and deal with all the necessary paperwork that comes out of these unfortunate incidents.
In the meantime, I thought you’d enjoy some images of cute, newborn piglets and hogs striking a pose. You could also head over to Lick My Spoon where I’ve published my first recap of the weekend, or the Bon Vivant Facebook page for more photos.