Organic Broadcaster

At MOSES 2018, Farmer to Farmer Podcast host Chris Blanchard shares advice gleaned from the show to help farmers create balance in their lives.

MOSES Conference gave farmers, ag professionals chance to recharge

By Audrey Alwell, MOSES

“Fantastic, excellent, eye-opening, awesome, second-to-none” are the adjectives people are using to describe the 29th Annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference that took place last month in La Crosse, Wis. Nearly 3,100 people shared in the three-day event, making connections, getting ideas to put into practice on their farms, and recharging their batteries for the work ahead.

“MOSES is not only a way for me to gather information for making farm decisions, it’s also a critical time every year for me to check-in with the trends, controversies, successes and direction of organic in the Midwest, the country, and the world,” said Jordan Scheibel of Grinnell, Iowa.

“I learned a great deal of information,” said Charreise Norris of Minnetonka, Minn. “I had questions answered that have been sitting with me for months.”

“I found the social aspect of the conference extremely valuable, too,” said Kaitie Adams of Ferguson, Mo. “Every (crazy delicious) meal I ate was shared with different people from across the Midwest. I learned so much from these moments eating, sharing, and laughing!”

“Halfway through the first workshop of the conference I attended I was already emailing my bosses, exclaiming how ready I was to start growing and start the new season!” said John Williams, Urbana, Ill. “What an amazing place to recharge, kick start the new season and make amazing contacts.”

The conference kicked off with an award ceremony for the 2018 MOSES Organic Farmers of the Year: the Rosmann family of Harlan, Iowa. “This has been the highlight of our lives,” Ron and Marie said about being recognized for the good work they’ve been doing on the farm and out in the world.

The nomination period for the 2019 farmer of the year award is open now.

Melinda Hemmelgarn, Food Sleuth Radio host, encourages the audience to question advertising messages.

The conference featured three keynotes. John Mesko, executive director of MOSES, encouraged the audience by charting a bright future for organic and sustainable farming, noting the widening use of cover crops and focus on soil health—both with roots in organic production. Melinda Hemmelgarn, Food Sleuth Radio host, cautioned people to pay attention to underlying messages in ads from chemical ag companies, and presented easy steps to push back against those messages. Chris Blanchard shared advice from his Farmer to Farmer Podcast guests as well as his own life to help people prioritize what they value in their farm lives.

Rep. Chellie Pingree explains the initiatives she’s supporting in Congress.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) made a guest appearance on stage to share her own farm story and talk about the work she has been doing in Congress to support organic and sustainable farming. Her brief talk, the Rosmanns’ farm story, and all three keynotes are on the MOSES YouTube channel.

Workshops took center stage at the conference, with 66 offered in two days. The Farm Bill, organic integrity, and equity and social justice in the food system were hot topics—growing industrial hemp drew a crowd as well. Audio recordings of conference workshops are available in the online MOSES store. The MP3 downloads are $5 each. The complete set of workshop recordings comes on a USB drive for $75. The store also has a limited selection of T-shirts (unisex sizes small and medium, and fitted large, which compares to the unisex small). Shirts are $18, plus tax and shipping.

The MOSES Organic Farming Conference will return to La Crosse Feb. 21-23, 2019 for its 30th anniversary. If you have suggestions for workshops or presenters, submit those online prior to May 10.

Audrey Alwell is the communications director for MOSES.



MOSES Equity Statement

By John Mesko, MOSES

At the MOSES Organic Farming Conference last month, we heard from LaDonna Redmond about diversity, inclusion, and equity in her workshop “Equity & Justice in the Food System.” Redmond started her workshop with a call to MOSES to make a commitment to equity in our organization and programming.

For as long as I’m aware, MOSES has made a genuine effort to be open and welcoming to all types of farmers from diverse backgrounds, and there are many evidences of this effort. However, we realize there is a gap between intention and impact, and we want to bridge that gap. The issues of equity and inclusion in agriculture extend far beyond MOSES, and given our leadership role in agriculture, how we embrace the challenge of addressing these issues not only impacts our organization, but also the broader farming community.

This is uncharted water for us. As an organization, we acknowledge our monoculture, and seek to learn and grow. We know we can do better.

We don’t have all the answers, but as part of our strategic plan, we will be developing intercultural competence at MOSES through specific trainings and by reaching out to the diverse members of our community. The complete pathway and timetable are still coming together, but I can assure our community of one thing: as we move forward, it will be with thoughtfulness, transparency, and sincerity. We are committed to creating lasting change that will benefit our community, and all of agriculture.

We invite you on this journey with us. If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas about ways MOSES can become a more equitable organization, please share them with us. Send your comments via email to:



From the March | April  2018 Issue

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