Karla Pankow and Elizabeth Millard of Bossy Acres in Northfield attended the 25th annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference − the largest organic farming conference in America − last weekend in La Crosse, Wis., where they presented on relationship marketing.
They weren’t the only Northfield area CSA farmers in attendance as Humble Pie Farm, Gardens of Eagan, Big Woods Farm CSA, Spring Wind Farm, Laughing Loon Farm, SEEDS Farm, Simple Harvest Farm and Hulgan House Heritage Farm were represented.
“It was the 25th anniversary and we were really excited to lead a session to a standing-room-only crowd of over 200 attendees,” Millard said. “The number of Northfield connections showed off what a vibrant organic farming community is growing [here].”
Pankow and Millard opened their CSA in 2011 and took workshops on growing, transportation, farm planning and marketing. With that understanding, the partners set out not only to be a successful CSA, but also to become a resource for the community in which they grow.
Bossy Acres focuses on sustainable farming practices, strong land stewardship and community-based programs.
Now entering their fourth growing season with Bossy Acres, the partners specialize in vegetables, herbs, melons, and cut flowers and have a community supported agriculture program in rural Northfield after being accepted into Organic Field School’s Incubator Program (not for profit program out of The Wedge Co-op), which runs out of the Gardens of Eagan property.
The organic farming conference attracted about 3,400 farmers to La Crosse, illustrating the dramatic growth of organic agriculture.
A release from Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) stated that he conference has grown every year since its beginnings 25 years ago − the first conference had only 90 attendees. The growth in conference attendance and popularity coincides with the growth of the organic movement in the nation.
“In the years where I got started in the industry until now, the industry has grown from about a $3 billion industry to over a $30 billion industry,” said keynote speaker Mark Shepard in the release. “We are changing the world one organic acre at a time.”
The 25th anniversary was marked with contests, awards, historical exhibits and an anniversary celebration.
“Farmers can truly be climate heroes,” explained author and keynote speaker Anna Lappé, while speaking about the importance of consumer education at the conference.
Attendees took advantage of the conference’s 65 workshops, 10 pre-conference all-day courses, more than 170 tradeshow exhibitors and all organic food. Every year, the conference strives to be a source of education and support for the organic community, according to the release. It also focuses on the environmental and economical benefits of organic farming and practices.
MOSES is a nonprofit organization that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing farmers with education, resources and expertise.
Reach Managing Editor Jerry Smith at 645-1136, or follow him on Twitter.com @NewsNorthfield