I'll be the first to admit that I am not a good public speaker… which I know is not a usual quality in an elected official. I am, however, a pretty good photographer and good with visuals. That was my plan of attack when was asked to speak and participate in a panel at The Farm and Food Leadership Conference yesterday. I was going to dazzle them with pretty pictures while I stumbled through my talk. The topic was Local Initiatives and Challenges: Urban Farm Regulation, Building Community, and Reaching out to Schools. One panelist could not make it due to illness and the other two were present and very good speakers. They were also where they were supposed to be on time. I was in the other conference room speaking with one of our Elgin farmers when the moderator began introductions. Whoops.
So I hustle across the hall for the walk of shame up to the front to take my seat. Along the way I hand my jump drive with my dazzling slideshow to the guy at the laptop near the LCD projector only to find out he's just a guy sitting near the laptop near the LCD projector… there is noone running the laptop. He kindly says he'll pop it in for me. Nice guy, I think he may work at Johnson's Backyard Garden. It was just a handful of photos to play as a slideshow, no order, no text…what could go wrong, right?
Well none of the other panelists brought visuals so my first image popped up right away. Lettuce. It just kinda hung there. Staring. Every once in a while the screen would time out and go blue, and the nice young man would lean over and the lettuce would pop up again. I was sure he was just waiting for me to start before he started to play the slideshow. Nope, he wasn't able to get it to run at all. He was very sweet, and since it was clearly not his job to figure it out, I just spoke… well until I was cut off. And every few minutes the kind young man would lean over, push a button and the lettuce would reappear.