Look to Jack London for Sustainability Festival on October 5

Jack London State Park

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Look to Jack London for Sustainability Festival on October 5

It's hard to imagine a Sonoma County that doesn't support sustainable farming. Today, earth friendly practices are synonymous with Wine Country agriculture … just as they were 100 years ago.

In honor of such honorable traditions, Jack London State Historic Park is hosting The Sustainability Festival on Oct. 5, with a theme of connecting the past, present, and future.

As far back as 1915, author, farmer, and scientist Jack London was experimenting with innovative methods of farming and progressive, more humane methods of dealing with farm livestock.

So from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., his 'Beauty Ranch' will showcase his sustainable agriculture ideas, ranging from then-innovative terraced fields, to a spectacular pig palace that kept porcine residents in royal accommodations while making their care and feeding very easy for a busy farmer.

'Sustainability is a natural part of our lexicon, and a concept that has become an integral aspect of life in Sonoma County,' said park spokesperson Anne Abrams. 'A recent article in Modern Farming, 'Jack London's Futuristic Farm,' sums it up: 'Jack London has been called many things throughout history, among them, an author, explorer, visionary and a socialist. He has even been called the greatest romantic of his time. However, above all these fancy titles, he was a farmer — and an inventive one at that.''

When London created his 'Beauty Ranch,' (the land that is now Jack London State Historic Park), he dedicated himself to a return to the land when he said, 'Do you realize that I devote two hours a day to writing, and ten to farming? My work on this land, and my message to America, go hand in hand … a return to the soil is the basis of economics.' See a rare video of London working on the Beauty Ranch in 1915.

He walked the talk, as a pioneer of sustainable farming, experimenting with ideas that are now standard practices like terracing, green water, mulching, composting, vegetable growing, and taking care of livestock like the valuable living beings they are.

The free Sustainability Festival will celebrate London's legacy while offering resources on how today's farmers can preserve the land for tomorrow. The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with the 'Autumn Farm Forum,' part of the popular quarterly series talking about food and farming in Sonoma County, presented by Marcy Smothers and Clark Wolf.

Next, self-guided tours will take guests through the ranch, and to information stations featuring Benziger Family Winery, Fiber Arts, Luther Burbank Experimental Gardens, Nana Mae's Organics, Oak Hill Farm, Quarryhill Botanical Garden, Sonoma County Beekeepers' Association, Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, Sonoma Water Agency, Quarter Acre Farm, The Green Team — Sonoma Valley High School Wolf Pack Recycling Team, and Two Moon Family Farm.

Breck Parkman will also be on hand to discuss his work as senior archeologist for California State Parks and as Jack London State Historic Park Master Gardener.

A family-friendly event, many stations will have DIY activities for kids, too, to introduce them to sustainable practices in a hands-on way. Music and food throughout the day will add even more to the party.

What you need to know:

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