Sunday, February 14, 2010

Belle Glade

Starting with week 7, and lasting until week 15, chances are high that I will not be posting many new pictures. The reason is that "tax season" has officially kicked in. What this means to me is that my typical work week will be anywhere from 60 - 80 hours until April 15th. However, I have promised myself that I will take the time to write my blog each week, although I will probably be using pictures taken sometime during the past year.

This week last year I took a day off and joined the Leadership Palm Beach County Class of 2009's  "Agriculture Day". I was a member of the Class of 2008 and during my year, I missed this day since it was later in tax season. I guess I should backtrack and briefly explain LPBC (which will be difficult because I can talk about this organization for hours). According to their website, "LPBC exists to identify and unite leaders from diverse backgrounds and perspectives in order to increase their understanding of countywide issues and improve their ability to lead effectively." Here's the process... those intererested in participating will fill out a comprehensive application (due in April) and then sometime during the summer they are told if they are accepted; the resulting class consists of approximately 45-50 leaders from around the area. In August they meet as a group for the first time at an overnight retreat at the Hilton on Singer Island. The purpose of these initial few days is for the class to get to know each other and the weekend is filled with a lot of team building exercises and other fun activities.

Starting in September, the class meets the bus somewhere & spends one entire day each month (until the following May) on field trips to various parts of the county. Each day is a different theme and last February was "Agriculture Day" (for more info on the adult leadership program PLEASE visit the website). We headed west to a part of Palm Beach County that few really visit on a regular basis (except those that live there)... Belle Glade. This blog entry will specifically discuss the sugarcane fields in Belle Glade.


Belle Glade is a city in Palm Beach County on the southeastern shore of Lake Okeechobee and about half the sugarcane in the nation is grown in the plains around Belle Glade and nearby Clewiston. The LPBC class spent time learning about the sugarcane industry from the fields to the factory.

I have to admit, even after learning about the entire process, it really doesn't make sense to me why they grow the sugarcane and then burn it down... and the bigger question is how the heck did the first person who did this figure out that this is the way to do it? Was it an accident... the farmer was initially very upset that his field was burned down and then wow was he happy when he realized that the sugar was hidden (somehow) until the fire revealed its goodness?

Well, in any case, it was really amazing to watch this happen, especially from so close. At first, we were watching from afar:


The coolest part was watching the birds hanging out along the perimeter of the fields. They told us that the birds know that the critters (i.e. dinner) will come running out of the burning cane fileds.


 

My favorite picture from the field is my Palm Beach County photo of the week on DPC.


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14 comments:

ArtMix2 said...

Those are amazing shots, Tammy!

Ter said...

killer shoot Tammy

nik said...

Really creative shooting.Love it.

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