Our beloved Hoes Down is ten times more beautiful this year, because it's ten times more diverse. Sometimes we love a giant crowd, & this is just as it should be, every height, texture & flavour with their hands in organic pumpkin muck. I trail a tiny crowd of 5, 6 & 7 year-old Japanese girls through 1,000 camping tents for a picture, but they are just too damn fast for me. They wear patchwork prairie dresses & cover their mouths as they laugh. So familiar.
It's all a big homecoming for me, since I used to be one of those little girls, with my best friend Tamiko in San Francisco's Japantown, grabbing terriyaki kabobs from a flap behind our Nihonmachi Little Friends school booth. I was an extremely tiny freckled Pinay & she a tall Black-Japanese fairy, if I remember correctly. I remember the sun's glint in her thick honey braids & the relief of removing our kimonos for tanktops as wove our way to the giant pagoda for a closer look at the Taiko drummers. Little colored hippie kids. I admit I've missed them in the organic food movement. And yet, here they are.
And it is no novelty, everyone here belongs here, not a weekend warrior in the bunch. Reallocating one's funds, one's energy from where we would spend it, to creative farmers & the Earth is a sacred thing. And I think the decadent associations are disappearing as folks are making intimate personal choices for their families. We all do what we can. The most relevant, important folks - the farmers, migrant workers, native local tribes & farm interns brought their families, their music, thier joy. They've come to play, so being in their territory, we do as they do.
Recently someone said to me, "a $4 apple does not bring anyone happiness. A movie & a Coke is what brings people happiness." I think that's about when we said goodnight. I like movies, & love a good artisan coke. And the apple galettes here made us really, really happy. The Strauss Ice Cream helped. There's room for all of it, I hope. I have to point to my boy BT, yet again, for teaching me to drop the foodie labels, to eat what feels right, since we change. And thank you to those of you who buy organic, when you can, so that it's an option for the rest of us. It takes a whole community to support a farm, & this party celebrates all of our farms, all of our community.
I also have to give big ups to whoever brought the wheeled-solar atm, complete with duck tape & bumper stickers. Sustainability in practice is a bit of commitment, plenty of creativity, some politics + jimmyriggin'. And I kinda think that's just beautiful. And so cool, to have that be one of your income streams. Keepin' it real, there's a $5 fee on that thing, & we give in to the once-a-year nature of the gig. Should it become a 365-option, we're sure the price would come down, & we'd make that work, too.
And then there's the shoes. As a stylist, I admit to my Pradas, but let me say that our town was picked for the shoes folks wear. Ready to work, ready to be removed, worn-&-years old. My kinda people's shoes.
And what else? Oh, yes, my sweet, optimistic & whip-smart baby brother flew across oceans to be with us again. At 7 years old, his joyful curiosity inspires me to catch the cool stuff before he does, but he always wins. His fresh perspective has my eyes, ears & heart wide, wide open.
Our urban-farm boys are content to just climb up & over anything that will hold them up. Bungie-ed pallets + mattresses are nothing less than heaven.
Won't you join us next year in Capay Valley? At $20 an adult, $5 per kid + food, it can be grip. Or, you can volunteer for 4 hours doing something you'd probably do anyways, camp over, dance all night & get a plate of organic sumthin'sumthin' for free. Your choice. We'll be there, regardless. And I hope you come, truly.