Hayes fills auditorium in keynote presentation

AFP Correspondent

NEW BRUNSWICK — Experienced farmers, new organic gardeners, mothers with small children and people just beginning to be curious about a healthier way of life packed an auditorium at Princeton University to agree with keynote speaker Shannon Hayes that they don’t want to be identified as consumers.
Most knew Hayes as the author of “Radical Homemaker” and wanted to hear her describe life on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Warnerville, N.Y.
She was keynote speaker at the Northeast Organic Farming Association-New Jersey Winter Conference last month.
Hayes’ message centered focused on that common feeling that to be identified as a “consumer” misses the point of may people’s lives.
She and her husband, Bob Hooper, along with her parents, operate an organic farm, raise grassfed lamb and beef and pastured pork and poultry. She writes cookbooks, but is most known for the book Radical Homemaker, and speaks on the “meaningful, socially significant work” of raising and preserving healthy food.
“John Adams was a farmer,” she said, pointing out that both men and women were responsible for the home and farm once. Today, when fewer people grow their own food and take control of their health, one in four Americans have some diagnosable mental disorder.
“Deadened by industrial agriculture,” is how she described what has happened to many Americans, but Hayes said she is seeing larger and larger audiences of people feeling the need to get away from that lifestyle.
She advocates for “stripping off the trappings of material culture” and got a round of applause for calling for clotheslines in the backyard.