Organic Broadcaster


Virtual mega-conference draws farmers’ praise;
access still available to recordings

By Audrey Alwell

The Growing Stronger Conference combined the MOSES Organic Farming Conference, GrassWorks Grazing Conference, OGRAIN Organic Grain Conference, Midwest Organic Pork Conference, and Organic Vegetable Production Conference into one week-long event at the end of February. More than 1,600 people attended the mega-conference, which is still open for on-demand viewing through late May. Farmers have been enthusiastic about the event. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve shared:

“The Growing Stronger Conference was incredible with a wide variety of topics and very knowledgeable speakers who really went into great detail on their area of expertise.” 

Jennifer Eis, Dreaming Field Farm

 “I got ideas for my hemp, bees, goats, and chickens—I have a notebook full of ideas to start putting into practice this spring!” 

Robyn Bindrich, Valley Girls Farm

“The topics were what I was looking for and more. Access to workshops post-conference is making all the difference. I felt I could do urgent things around the farm and still be able to attend later.”

Mike Miles, Anathoth Community Farm

People who missed the live event still may register to watch over 120 hours of recorded workshops, roundtables, and keynotes. For descriptions and registration details, see the Growing Stronger website. Post-conference registration closes March 31 to allow time to view recordings before the end of May.

At the start of the conference, several farmers were recognized for their achievements. GrassWorks presented the Jerold Berg Grazing Advocate Award in memoriam to Jim Quick from Honey Creek Farm. The MOSES Board of Directors named Liz Graznak the Organic Farmer of the Year. Liz owns and operates Happy Hollow Farm in Missouri. As board member Charlie Johnson explained, the award honors Liz for outstanding organic practices as well as her efforts to expand awareness of organic food and build community around organic farming. Read more about Liz and view her farm story on the MOSES YouTube channel.

The Board also recognized Hannah Breckbill of Humble Hands Harvest, and Andrew Van Gorp and Lindsay Zimmerman of Sustain DuPage as Changemakers, an award that calls out people who are breaking down barriers and empowering others to farm in ways that are environmentally responsible, socially just, and economically viable. Read their farm stories and view them on the MOSES YouTube channel. 

Awards also were part of the Organic Research Forum, an annual feature of the MOSES Conference that includes a juried competition of research projects by graduate students. Ambar Carvallo from the University of Wisconsin-Madison took first place for her research on Obtaining Tomato Varieties Adapted for Organic Farming Systems in the Upper Midwest. Matthew Gullickson from the University of Minnesota took second place for Field Implementation of Botanical Deterrents for Organic Management of Spotted-Wing Drosophila. Third place went to Sarah Janes Ugoretz from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for Connections Between Hired Labor and Long-Term Sustainability of Organic Vegetable Farms. The virtual format allowed each researcher to explain their findings in recorded videos, which are available as “Additional On-Demand” content within the conference. 

The virtual conference format provided a unique opportunity to showcase farmer ingenuity and provide tours of organic farms by video. Conference recordings include dozens of speed presentations by farmers as well as exhibitors who provided farming advice related to their specialties.

The conference featured more than 100 exhibitors. The content they loaded to their virtual booths is still available to browse. Learn about flame weeding, setting up temporary fencing for rotational grazing, recommended varieties for milling oats, installing subsurface drip irrigation, on-farm produce safety, and dozens of other topics. Many exhibitors also shared mini-webinars on farming topics. These are available in the “Additional On-Demand” section.

Many of the exhibitor show specials are still in effect and available publicly. Take advantage of these limited-time offers.

“The conference sponsors and exhibitors are the backbone of a strong organic community,” said Tom Manley, MOSES Partnership Director. “They stepped up to support the conference so we could offer a lower registration fee for farmers. I hope you’ll join me in showing appreciation by looking to them for your farming products or services.” 

Audrey Alwell is the Communications Director at MOSES.



From the March | April 2021 Issue


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