NEW TIMES: What do you grow on your farm in North Carolina?
WILL: I own 45 acres of hardwood trees. I am also in my fourth year of growing ginseng, a seven-year crop. Ginseng is the basis of Chinese medicine; I will sell my crop to China for about $900 per pound.
NEW TIMES: What will you discuss during your presentation at the Bioneers’ Conference?
WILL: I am going to discuss how petro-chemically dependent we are. In the eventual collapse of this, we are going to need millions of small farms. With my staff at the nonprofit Foothills Connect Business and Technology Center, I am teaching the Appalachian people to use their land to develop a new, small-scale agriculture. This ag focuses on specialty crops, which are sustainably grown and sold directly to customers through the Internet. This new farming movement competes against the industrial agriculture system (or Big Ag).
NEW TIMES: What about the conference are you most excited for?
WILL: I am excited about coming together with people who understand that the food system is broken. We can generate ideas to prevent disaster and plan the future for our children who will be the most affected. Currently we have the first generation of people who don’t know how to grow their own food. Clearly we are moving away from who we are.