Aug 5, 2013

Let's Us Now Praise

Fourth Annual
Northeast USA 
Rice Conference
August 3, 2013
Akaogi Farm
Westminster West, Vermont

To grow rice in the Northeastern US might seem like folly, to some people.  For the 100 people, who attended the Northeast USA Rice Conference, growing rice is a matter of perseverance, dedication and collective knowledge.  Growing rice is about asking the right questions.
We gathered at Akaogi Farm in West Westminster West, Vermont to share ideas, learn from one another and laugh at our mistakes.  Under a tent, sandals kicked off, ages from 16 to 90, we discussed the National Science Foundation grant and Cornell rice research that is behind this conference.  The attendees included a group of refugees from Bhutan, who had come to learn how to grow rice in their adopted city of Burlington, Vermont.

Steve Jobs? Yes!  James Dyson? Yes!  Rice Farmers? YES!  Susan Mc Couch, Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University characterized everyone under the big top as innovators.
I rarely think of myself as doing anything innovative.  The more we talked with each other, the more I was convinced that this characterization was accurate.  We've all gone out on a limb.
Takeshi Akaogi

Don Brill of Brill Engineering on the Bicycle Thresher of his own invention

Our three little rice paddies on Randall's Island cannot compete with acres of rice paddies in places like Vermont and New York State.  It is possible to grow rice in New York City.  Inspired by the conference, we intend to add another paddy to our Urban Farm.  This one will be a test paddy, conforming to standards set out by the NSF grant.  Growing different varieties and keeping data related to temperature, water input, stress levels and soil content will be our goal.

If we can grow something as beautiful as this plant, I might not care if it produces any fruit.

Susan McCouth