MOSES is a nonprofit organization that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing the education, resources and expertise farmers need to succeed.
The organization has its roots in the Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference, which was created in 1990 to help educate the growing number of farmers interested in organic agriculture. 1990 was the year that Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act, which created national standards for organically produced products. Members of the Wisconsin Organic Crop Improvement Association Educational Fund realized that an annual conference would help farmers learn about the standards and would give them a place to share the organic production methods that work best. That first conference in 1990 drew 90 farmers, including one young market farmer named Faye Jones.
Faye’s passion for organic farming soon had her volunteering with the conference planning committee. In 1995, she became the conference coordinator. In 1999, when conference attendance rose above 1,000, conference planners decided it was time to create a new entity to meet the educational needs of organic and sustainable farmers. The Wisconsin OCIA Educational Fund was reborn as MOSES with Faye as its sole employee.
MOSES’ first office was a closet in Faye’s home near Spring Valley, Wis. As the organization grew, it was housed in a trailer on her farm. In 2009, MOSES moved to a 4,200-square-foot building on Spring Valley’s main street in order to accommodate its growing staff and services.
Today, MOSES has a staff of 10 that manages educational events, programs, publications, and more to help farmers succeed in organic production. The Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference has become known as the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, or simply, the MOSES Conference. It is now the country’s largest event for the organic farming community, reaching more than 3,500 attendees each year.