Farmer, author talks regenerative, organic agriculture in ‘Gallatin Valley 2040’ series
By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
GALLATIN VALLEY – After taking a break in December, Gallatin Valley Earth Day is back with a new installment in its virtual event series, “Gallatin Valley 2040.”
Gallatin Valley Earth Day is an organization of volunteers started by Anne Ready in 2019. Ready grew up on a small farm in the Midwest and later moved to Pennsylvania, eventually landing in Bozeman in 2015. After retiring from being a computer programmer, she became active in climate change volunteering and recognized the need for an Earth Day celebration in Bozeman.
At the beginning, GVED’s mission was to simply plan an Earth Day festival at the Bozeman Public Library. When 500 people turned out for the festival, which included talks, exhibits, food, music, dance, art and theater, Ready decided to go even bigger.
After the success of the 2019 festival, GVED decided to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a larger event, the 2020 Gallatin Valley Earth Day Festival, but the event was cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19. Since then, GVED has adapted and is finding new ways to hold virtual events.
One example is the “Gallatin Valley 2040” event series which was inspired by a screening of the 2019 documentary “2040,” an upbeat look at how the climate crisis can be addressed and Earth improved by the year 2040.
The monthly event series aims to help attendees imagine, explore, and work towards a brighter, healthier, vibrant 2040.
“We hope to inspire people to think about and work towards transforming our community to improve our climate and create a strong foundation for growth in jobs, and improve our health based on a more sustainable model,” said Ready.
The Jan. 20 event, entitled “Good seeds in healthy soil for a healthier us,” featured speaker Bob Quinn, a Montana organic farmer and author of the book “Grain by Grain,” along with surprise guest Montana Sen. Pat Flowers.
Quinn works his organic farm near Big Sandy, Montana, and is a progressive leader in promoting organic and sustainable agriculture throughout the state and beyond. In 1990, he founded Kamut International, a company that exclusively grows organic KAMUT Khorasan wheat, an ancient strain of wheat from Egypt known for the large grain size and prized for its nutrition, firm texture, sweet nut-buttery taste and ease of digestibility.
During his talk, Quinn shared his personal journey from Montana to University of California-Davis where he earned his Ph.D. in plant biochemistry, back to Montana to work on his family’s farm. He discussed his introduction to the ancient wheat that is now trademarked by his company, and the early experiments he conducted in organic growing methods.
Quinn also shared information from “Grain by Grain,” discussing why ancient wheat might be the solution to gluten sensitivity, and how time-tested farming practices can replace toxic pesticides and fertilizers, among other topics.
“It’s time to turn the ship around,” he said. “We are headed for the iceberg pell mell, and it will be a high price to pay if we don’t turn it around quickly.”
Quinn emphasized the need to grow quality food using sustainable practices, which he said will in turn revitalize local communities and promote individual health.
After a short Q-and-A session following the talk, Quinn yielded the floor to Sen. Flowers who briefly discussed how to support healthy soil in Montana and detailed various legislative efforts he has been involved with to support this goal.
Quinn’s succinct closing statement captured the theme of the evening in a few powerful words.
“The future is organic; the future is health.”
Visit bobquinnorganicfarmer.com to learn more about Bob Quinn’s story and his book.
Visit gallatinvalleyearthday.org for more information on the organization and to access the entire “Gallatin 2040” event series.