Farm Star Pizza

There is this great local pizza place here in Chico, they pride themselves on using local and organic ingredients. Although the very first time I went there to try it (about a year and a half ago), it immediately got my attention with its decorations.

The first time I went into this pizza joint this was on the wall. You guys know how I feel about fear mongering right? (and you know this corn/fish is not a real thing, right?)

The first time I went into this pizza joint this was on the wall. You guys know how I feel about fear mongering right? (and you know this corn/fish is not a real thing, right?)


The more I thought about that poster the more upset I became. So I did what any person in my generation would do, I left them a comment on their facebook page. Well a few other local farmers/ranchers saw that comment and poster and they also chimed in. A conversation was had and Farm Star realized that perhaps fear mongering was not a proper way to support local farmers and ranchers. All was well for a long time. I enjoyed Farm Star pizza’s occasionally, life was good.

Then a couple days ago something Farm Star posted on their page got my attention again.

The claim that organic  is "tastier, but it's also better for you and the environment" is one I would like to debate.

The claim that organic is “tastier, but it’s also better for you and the environment” is one I would like to talk about I mean just because something is organic does that mean it is healthy? Organic cookies are healthy? Organic pizza is healthy?.

And I did try to have a conversation with Farm Star but, internet happens, and other consumers got involved.

And I did try to have a conversation with Farm Star but, internet happens, and other consumers got involved.

This did make me LOL, Jenny does have a point that Butte County doesn't produce that much wheat and probably even less "organic" wheat.

This did make me LOL, Jenny does have a point that Butte County doesn’t produce that much wheat and probably even less “organic” wheat.

This is me suggesting that more farmers and ranchers should be asked.

This is me suggesting that more farmers and ranchers should be asked.

May I be snarky for just a second? Working on 1 farm for a season, isn't going to teach you everthing, it's just not. I've been in the ag industry for 30 years amd I still feel like I know nothing.

May I be snarky for just a second? Working on 1 farm for a season, isn’t going to teach you everthing, it’s just not. I’ve been in the ag industry for 30 years and I still feel like I know nothing.

Sometimes trying to have a calm conversation on the internet can be really hard. The internet seems to give people license to be a little more nasty, and that is easy to do when you aren’t face to face with someone. People also don’t like when something they “know” is “true” is questioned. I know it certainly bugs me when people that are not involved in production agriculture tell me all about it (especially when they are quoting a popular anti-ag book or movie).

Capture4
Over the past couple of years, I have grown a lot better at having online conversations with people. I went from basically “um, you are wrong, I am right” to “well why do you think that? Because my experience in the field has been different, let’s talk”. Especially now that I have sought treatment for my anxiety, my communication skills are about 100% better. True, I can be snarky sometimes, but after a certain point, everyone runs out of patience sometimes, especially when people start to name calling or try to go off topic. Despite it all, I sent every single one of these ladies a friend request, I really was trying to have a discussion where we all could learn something, only one accepted.

It was really important to me that Farm Star didn’t think I am a “local disgruntled farmer” (I consider myself a rancher, and I’m not disgruntled, I just want people to know what they are talking about). So I went in there to talk to them about their post. I know they didn’t mean to open a can of worms with it, but since they want to support local agriculture, I wanted them to know that not only organic agriculture is beneficial. Like I said above in my comments, ag is not that simple- organic, just like conventional ag has its positives and negatives.

I really like this place and was excited to talk to them!

I really like this place and was excited to talk to them!

Walking into Farm Star this time, they had a lovely picture of a 4-H member, LOVE IT!

Walking into Farm Star this time, they had a lovely picture of a 4-H member, LOVE IT!

I spoke to Robert at Farm Star. I apologized for high jacking the thread, and tried to tell him who I am. Sometimes it helps when I explain to people that in fact I did earn an advanced ag degree, I ranch, I work very hard for local ag, I write for all ag, I have a blog. He said he didn’t mind that there was some drama, it was basically free advertising for them. I was glad he felt that way, because I really do admire them for using local products (when they can).
I tried to explain that I really didn’t want to get into the conventional vs organic debate, because it just should not be debated. All agriculture is important, and it’s wonderful that we have a choice! I think Robert understood.

I got myself a Porky Pig!

I got myself a Porky Pig!

The organic pizza was excellent! It had potatoes and bacon on it, a great combination! And the pizza was big enough that I will have leftovers tonight! Generally I cook or my parents cook for me, so pizza is a nice splurge and treat for for me.

The organic pizza was excellent! It had potatoes and bacon on it, a great combination! And the pizza was big enough that I will have leftovers tonight! Generally I cook or my parents cook for me, so pizza is a nice splurge and treat for for me.

If you are a local Chicoan and haven’t tried Farm Star, I say go try it! It’s yummy! I really love to support local businesses that support local farmers and ranchers, after all, we are all in this thing together!

13 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, food, Humor, photos, Rants, Uncategorized

13 Responses to Farm Star Pizza

  1. Howard

    I think people do not frame the discussion as organic vs non-organic. In their minds they see it as organic/sustainable vs megacorporate agribusiness who poisons the water land and babies. In addition, I think most people do not think of sustainable and non-organic in the same breath. So you provide a really important service by blogging talking and educating people about sustainable and local farming/ranching. But people hang in to their paradigms for a variety of reasons including what’s simpler and more black and white. Subtlety and nuance require intelligence and careful thought to process. Social media and the Internet are not always a great source of either, unfortunately. Keep up the good work.

  2. Maria

    Thank you for giving Farm Star a second chance Megan. Just like you, Craig and I (owners of Farm Star) love good food. The best food is local and seasonal and that is what Farm Star Pizza is all about.
    We have tried many flours, both conventional and organic, and the best flour for our thin crust happens to be organic and costly, so I decided to brag about it on Facebook. It is not local, but there is no local source for high gluten pizza flour. Massa Organics whole wheat flour is the best whole wheat flour we have ever used, but because we are small scale and so is he, we support each other in different ways. We do use organic whole grain flours from Bob’s Red Mill which is an Oregon based company. Here is a link for other small scale local grains within 50 miles of Chico. Their unpolished barley is incredible!

    http://grassvalleygrains.com

    Supporting locals is what we do. Craig’s family is from Orland, explaining his Dad’s vintage 4-H photo, and I am an Italian-American native of San Francisco. That’s my Dad with his backyard tomatoes and zucchini in the other large photo at Farm Star. The non-GMO posters were a Chico High art department project that we were asked to display. Robert is a local gem, born and raised in Chico, and we are lucky that he chooses to work for us! Jenifer Bracy is married to Dave Bracy, our pizza chef born and raised in Hamilton City.
    We all hope to witness a healthy and prosperous new food economy in our lifetime. Personal health and the health of our environment can no longer be outsourced.
    You are a farmer and a cook, your voice needs to be heard. Lets work together and make the North Valley a mecca for delicious healthy food!

  3. Wow Meg, BRAVO. This is a great example of how to talk to folks who are stubborn in their ways without being overly offensive but also making headway in helping people learn more about ag. And I agree, one season on a farm does not a professional farmer make.

    buzzardsbeat.blogspot.com

  4. Awesome job Meg! So glad you got to sit down, have a talk and enjoy a pizza. Sometimes, just a little “face time” with people makes a big difference! Maria did an awesome job in her explanation in the comments too! I hope to hear more all the way over on the east coast about how you all fair with this new communicating relationship!
    *wink* So when will they be serving some of your pork on their pizzas? 🙂

  5. Tara Sullivan-Hames

    Farm Star we love you! For your wonderful food, committment to food/nutrition education, raising community consciousness to buy and eat local, customer service, personal service, and spirit of fun! Also for your support of the Chico Art students and their projects. I hope Megan realizes that the art posters you had on display originated from a digital/computer art class assignment at CHS that was part of a CUSD district wide competition. The assignment was to create eye catching and provocative messaging on the subject of GMOs. I’d say the corn-shark imagery was quite effective at that, especially given Megan’s reaction to it! Farm Star’s presentation of those posters represents a community spirit of partnership and support for CUSD, students, and budding artists. Great to see how controversial art can inspire dialog and deeper understanding about local topics! Tara (Mom of the corn-shark artist)

    • Hi Tara!
      I do realize that they were posters from CUSD. I think it’s great that Farm Star support local arts! Remember, I am local, and support from local restaurants and business totally helped me in high school! I cannot say enough wonderful things about business that give back to their local communities!
      However I was not amused by the GMO shark. I know you aren’t a fan of this blog, so you probably know very little about me. My soapbox is all about education and transparently, I want people to be educated about their food not afraid of it. I work very hard talking about what I do, because our society is so far removed from agriculture. GMO’s are a topic that people seem to have a hard time understanding. I realized this when I was earning my ag degree at Chico State, and the anti GMO proposition was on our ballot (back in the early 2000’s) and again with prop 37.
      I think having an assignment to create an eye catching and provocative message about GMO’s is a great idea. However I think that message would be better served if it was based on sound science and fact, no emotion and fear. How can we foster a positive and calm conversation when the message is playing upon our fears? I agree that art can inspire so much dialog and deeper understanding! Funny story about that actually…
      Your daughter’s poster inspired me to take a trip to Monsanto, because it scared me. But instead of giving into my fears, I went to Monsanto in Woodland and took a tour and educated myself. Know what? It was incredible! I learned so much, and I was able to share! Best of all, all of my GMO based fear was removed. Knowledge is power! Here read more if you’d like http://thebeefjar.com/2012/07/12/field-trip-welcome-to-monsanto/ and http://thebeefjar.com/2012/08/08/field-trip-monsanto-and-tomatoes/.
      Thank you for commenting here and for having such a talented daughter who does inspire! If you want to learn more about me, my ranch, this blog or my experience in ag, please let’s chat! Or feel free to come on over! Have a wonderful day.

  6. Tara Sullivan-Hames

    Hi Megan! Thanks for your reply and for the invitation to chat. I respect the motivations that have developed your position on GMOs and also your committment to local ag. (I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and worked nine years for a state Legislator who was a farmer and rancher.) Science and facts are indeed the key when it comes to policy making. However, there is a place for the full range of emotions (including fear) when it comes to art and messaging. I think Monsanto is especially adept at parlaying misinformation and emotional apeal in their own messaging. That’s where science, messaging, and policy-influencing/policy-making merge! And to balnce your Monsanto trip, I would encourage, even urge, you to investigate the science that finds real danger in GMOs. Here’s a starting point: http://permaculturenews.org/2012/10/24/gmo-myths-and-truths/
    There’s a very comprehensive document available at that link. The page intro reads,
    “Editor’s Note: Michael Antoniou, PhD, is leader in molecular genetics and head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group, King’s College London School of Medicine, London, UK. His work and experience with genetic engineering is comprehensive, working in the field for almost three decades, making him well placed to highlight the dangers and shortcomings of genetically engineering our crops. Kudos to him for standing up and speaking out against Big Biotech at a time when many scientists are afraid to do so. The document you can download below is an excellent addition to the armoury of anti-GMO educators and activists.”

    My daughter is a talented artist and scientist (Majoring in Physics at UCSB). GMOs is definitely not her area of expertise, but given the scientific evidence of the dangers of GMOs, she sure knows how to get a point across through her art! Since there is rather profound scientific evidence pointing to the dangers of GMOs, I think her poster does not convey misinformation, but rather represents a heightened sense of the urgency to investigate these potential health threats and to proceed very cautiously into the dangerous waters of GMO foods. That’s a job skill to support in today’s media market!

    • Hi Tara!
      Thanks for coming back! I truly love to foster conversation on this page.
      First let me say, I feel like you feel I am attacking your daughter. I want it to be very clear I am not. I do not know your daughter. Although I can tell she is very talented and you should be very proud! I did not agree with her poster’s message, and that is fine, I can disagree with her art without attacking her.
      I’m so pleased that you have experience with agriculture; it really makes conversations like this much easier to have. Also I am thrilled to see you recognize the importance of science and fact when it comes to policy making. But what about science and fact when it comes to education? Shouldn’t science and fact be more important than emotions when we are discussing science based issues? I did earn a bachelors’ of science and my professors really drove that point home with us. Fear motivation does not yield rational results and I believe we want rational results in this matter.
      And indeed I have really tried to balance my education about GMO’s. That is why I went down to UC Davis’ Organic Garden to meet with Dr. Ronald (check it out here http://thebeefjar.com/2012/06/25/field-trip-uc-davis-organic-student-farm/). Due to my intense “agvocating” for all agriculture, I also interact with farmers, PhD’s and plant scientist on a daily basis about this topic.
      It seems like you have already made your mind up about “the dangerous waters of GMO foods” so I won’t try and change your mind. However, you did encourage I “investigate the science that finds real danger in GMOs”, well may I suggest the same thing to you only why don’t you investigate the science behind GMO’s? I do my due diligence when learning about this topic, I went to Monsanto, I went to UC Davis’ Organic Farm, I farm/ranch, I talk to plant science professionals, I read (and write articles related to this topic) and I never plan on stopping.
      I’m going to leave you with a few good links to explore.
      Mark Lynas changes his mind http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/01/03/mark_lynas_environmentalist_who_opposed_gmos_admits_he_was_wrong.html
      A couple who are learning more about our food supply from the outside in http://onehundredmeals.com/2012/11/06/what-our-fields-actually-need-is-a-heavy-application-of-honesty/
      “The false dichotomy between conventional and organic isn’t just misleading, it’s dangerous. Our constant attention to natural versus synthetic only causes fear and distrust, when in actuality, our food has never been safer. Eating less fruits and vegetables due to fear of pesticides or the high price of organics does far more harm to our health than any of the pesticide residues on our food.” http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2012/09/24/pesticides-food-fears/

      A farmer that grows GMO’s http://thefarmerslife.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/i-occupy-our-food-supply-everyday/
      Dr. Folta is just amazing http://kfolta.blogspot.com/2012/02/natural-news-tv-amazing-distortion-of.html
      This has some benefits and some great explanations! http://takingstock.asas.org/?p=2408
      Biofortified.org- just one of the best science based blogs out there. http://www.biofortified.org/2012/02/evidence-stacking-up-against-biotechnology-critics/

      Again if you like to discuss this more, please feel free. Also I’m dying to go to Monsanto again, so if have an interest in that I might be able to arrange another field trip! Have a wonderful day!

      • Tara Sullivan-Hames

        Thanks Megan! I’m so sorry that my writing conveyed I felt you were attacking my daughter! No I don’t feel that way at all. I am probably just defending her right to make art with the messaging that she thinks matters. (And probably sounding like a defensive Mommy while doing it!) I really do not feel offended. I think fundamentally we just disagree about the purpose of the poster in terms of art. I discern that you are very experienced and knowledgeable about the subject matter of ag and GMOs and food but I’m not sure you entirely “get” the purpose of art! No criticism, just how it seems to me.
        Also, I would never claim to have “experience with agriculture”! I was an employee of the state Legislature for nine years and worked in the local field office of a State Assemblyman who was a farmer and rancher (lots of cantaloupe, some other specialty crops, and also cattle) and who was one of the leading members of the Ag committee in the Legislature (a person for whom I had huge respect- he was one of the few real “statesmen” serving at the time). I worked with and was around a lot of the ag business and family farm operators in the central valley as a result. The most I can claim is to say that the experience gave me an appreciation for the people and business of agriculture, it’s importance in our local, state, and even world economy and the unique challenges it faces, especially the family farms. It also gave me an awareness and alertness to some of the negative aspects of big Agribusiness. But it was politics, and let’s face it– politics brings out all sides of an issue or industry! Thanks for the links to articles/info. I do try to be informed and I am open to new information so will try to peruse the info. However, I think I have already read enough proven scientific information to feel secure in my opposition to GMOs as a solution or pathway to advance. Regarding Monsanto, I do suspect the presence of corporate greed/profiteering has something to do with the “science” they develop and promote. Do you think their approach is mostly altruistic and that health of the consumer is among their top priorities of concern when it comes to GMOs? I do hope you will read the academic science based article by a leading genetic engineering researcher that I shared in the earlier post. Thanks so much for being an advocate for what you believe in! I understand your spirit and determination and hold it in high regard.

  7. Hi Tara!
    You’re right, I guess I don’t get “art”. I am just a simple ranch girl. Although it was because of my art history class and not my ag classes that got me into the phi theta kappa program at Butte College. I also did the backpacking through Europe thing to see art (sculptures and museums). For me art is something that is creative, expressive and emotional. Art can have rigid rules or be free flowing…..For example, neoclassical art in known for its Greek and Roman influences but Pop art challenged that by using imagery from pop culture, many “artist” didn’t consider it art for a long time. I understand you are saying that art can expand our minds and give us new ideas. But I’m kinda confused why art is a subject we are talking about in regards to GMO science.
    Science is science, like Dr. Neil de Grasse says “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

    I think maybe you are trying to have a talk about art and I’m trying to talk about science?
    Regardless if you don’t think you have ag experience, I think you do. You eat everyday right? And it sounds like your work experience with the government exposed you to a ton of ag! Rejoice in that, you know a lot more than your average bear.
    I am going to take issue with your claim that you “think I have already read enough proven scientific information to feel secure in my opposition to GMOs as a solution or pathway to advance,” how can you say that when one sentence above you claim “I do try to be informed and I am open to new information so will I try to peruse the info”? How can you be informed if you won’t accept different points of view/new information? We are learning more and more about this topic every day, it is not stagnant. Why do you act like it is? My teachers taught me to always keep learning and questioning, that is just how I roll, so I’m confused when people don’t want to do that. Knowledge is power, right?
    In terms of Monsanto, I don’t think their “science” has anything to do with greed. Please refer to the Dr. de Grasse quote. Also I went there and spoke to them about it. As a rancher and consumer I can tell you they are doing great things, and farmers would not use their product if it didn’t work. But again, don’t trust me, go for yourself!
    Thanks for commenting and being nice, it’s very rare when that happens.

  8. Tara Sullivan-Hames

    “Science is a living, breathing, exciting, evolving subject.”– Brian Greene.

  9. Wasn’t the world flat before Columbus sailed the ocean blue?

  10. “Science is a living, breathing, exciting, evolving subject.”– Brian Greene.

    Interesting. Brian Greene says the science is EVOLVING. That means it’s not staying the same, it’s constantly changing and new things are being discovered. Yet the very person who quotes him is saying

    “However, I think I have already read enough proven scientific information to feel secure in my opposition to GMOs as a solution or pathway to advance.”

    So she’s making the point that science is constantly changing and then says she doesn’t need to read any more or learn anything new because she already knows it all? Isn’t she contradicting the very person she just quoted?

    Maybe she should have read a few more quotes by Brian Greene…

    “We need to make clear that science is not something that you can willfully ignore. All of the major decisions going forward, from stem cells to nuclear proliferation to nanotechnology to genetically modified food to alternative energy sources to climate change, have a scientific component. How can you be part of a democracy if you can’t participate in the discussion about these ideas?” – Brian Greene

    Now seems to me that if you’re saying “I’ve read enough to know….” Then you’re WILLFULLY IGNORING the latest developments and discoveries being made through science. So how can you have a discussion about the issues, one that belongs in a democratic society, if you don’t have a firm grasp of what you’re talking about? If you’re not up to date with the latest scientific information?

    “These ideas are so vital to a full picture of reality,that even though they’ve been explained before, people haven’t really absorbed them. Everything from climate change to nanotechnology to genetically modified foods to costly spaceflights involves scientific issues. I think we can help create a cultural shift where science isn’t seen as an esoteric subject but rather as part of a full life, central to participation in the democratic process.” – Brian Greene

    Oh dear, it seems that Brian Greene WANTS us to absorb the scientific issues behind a number of matters, even if we THINK we know it all. He wants us to embrace science because it’s part of a full life! How can we do any of that if we don’t explore both sides of the issue? How can we live in a world with a democratic process if we have closed minds, jump on the “Monsanto is evil!” band wagon without even going to Monsanto themselves and letting them explain their point of view? We’d be just ignoring that point of view, and remember, ignore, that’s where the world ignorance comes from. And ignorance is not part of science or part of a democratic society.

    “The key thing in being part of the future of a democratic society is to ignore all science, ignore any new understanding or discoveries, to develop a belief and stick to it and to never get the other sides Point of View. to close off ones minds, and to create pictures of CORN SHARKS!” -Brian Greene … (no I’m kidding, that’s something he would NEVER say.. pretty sure about that)

    Oh and one more thing regarding Art and Science…. Art can be a work of fantasy. Science is supposed to teach us a factual lesson. When Art proclaims it is teaching science, than it is no longer art or science. It’s propaganda, and that’s a fact.

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