Road Trippin': Bonnaroo 2011

The famous arch at Bonnaroo '11 in Manchester, TN.
Do you ROO?

Every June in Manchester, Tennessee, something wild and wonderful happens.  Tens of thousands of music fans from all across North America descend upon an enormous field in the middle of nowhere for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - a celebration of music and culture unlike anything else!  My husband and I had made this trip before in 2004, so this year we were packed, prepped and ready to rock with 134,000 of the strangest and most amazing people you've ever seen.

Kris Mo - wristbanded and ready for rock.
The diverse lineup of artists drew us back to Tennessee this year, and we weren't disappointed. More than 100 bands including Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Buffalo Springfield, Florence + the Machine, and yes, even Eminem rocked on multiple stages throughout the 4 days and nights at all hours.  Magic happened, my friends, and it's a vacation I'll never forget.

So what does this have to do with 'urban farming' and why am I writing about it on the blog?  Well, I was surprised and delighted to find that the love of locally-produced, artisan cuisine and enthusiasm for growing food at home was prevalent at Bonnaroo!  Gourmet food trucks came from across the country to showcase their signature dishes to thousands of fans, and we enjoyed incredible meals like vegan curry from Gastropod (Miami), and a quirky and delicious snack you have to taste to believe called a 'Petro'.        

'The Academy' run by the festival offered free workshops all weekend on topics like sustainable gardening practices, composting, and growing food in containers, even showcasing examples of different garden styles and a mud-and-straw house.  Awesome!  Watching people mingle around the gardens, reading tags and touching the tomato leaves was really cool to see, and my heart nearly burst as I watched passers-by empty their (precious!) water from their reusable bottles onto the dry soil for the plants. It was in the mid-40's all week, and the heat took a toll on everyone, including the veggies!

Here's a glimpse at the gardens of Bonnaroo 2011:

Teaching gardens at 'the Academy' - Bonnaroo 2011.

Demonstrating growing food in small spaces with repurposed containers. Sweet!

The Victory Garden surrounded a clay-covered straw bale house - a cool respite from the Tennessee heat!
In one more happy discovery, I found Oxfam at Bonnaroo too! In my last blog post, I mentioned Oxfam's GROW campaign, and they were out in full force at the festival, raising awareness of the campaign and signing up green-minded folks in droves.  Hurray!


One of the first things I learned when I began my journey to become an 'urban farmer' was that our global food system is very broken.  The sad and scary fact is that, despite having plentiful resources on our planet, far too many people are hungry.  Oxfam has launched a new international campaign called GROW which aims to build a better, fairer food system.  Awesome!

According to Oxfam:

We’ve reached a turning point. Here’s what we need to do, starting now, to grow food and justice without wrecking the planet:
• Increase the productivity, self-reliance, and economic opportunity of small-scale farmers, especially women, who depend on agriculture for income and food.
• Increase farmers’ access to resources like water and land,
and make sure they don’t have to unfairly compete with big companies for ownership of these resources.
• Increase farmers’ preparedness in the face of more-frequent and more-extreme droughts, floods, and storms.
• Modernize our food aid programs so they are more effective,
efficient, and fiscally responsible, improving the global
response to natural disasters and food crises.
• Hold governments and businesses accountable for the impacts of their policies and practices on global food security.

For the full factsheet with more information, click here.