History lesson: The Ethicurean's Bonnie Azab Powell tells the story of the fire at Vacaville's Soul Food Farm. Really, it's ultimately about the stirrings of a phoenix-like recovery for the family-run pastured chicken-and-egg operation, which Powell calls the Bay Area's "It Farm." Here's Powell's vignette of farm owner Alexis Koefoed speaking at a fundraiser at Pizzaiolo last month:
Alexis gave a speech that left few dry eyes on the patio. She talked about how hard farming was, how isolating, and how easy it was to forget at 6 a.m. when your hands were covered with chicken poop about all the people who felt a connection to your food. The fire had woken her up, she said, and the outpouring of support had at first embarrassed her, then touched her, and finally had made her think differently about what she did. "Soul Food Farm belongs to everybody now," she said. "All of you. I can't fail." And she urged everyone there to reach out to other farmers they knew, to offer a helping hand, or even just a hand in friendship.Cool. Even thought the efforts of friends Sam Mogannam of Bi-Rite and Daniel Patterson of Coi helped keep Soul Food Farm from immediate fail, the whole incident showed many us about how much we value a place like Soul Food Farm. Even if we rarely -- make that never -- buy its offerings. Still, we wanna know that someone, even just one tiny commercial farm in Vacaville, is raising birds the way generations of farmers did, before farms became animal-fattening factories.