Time to get educated!
A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Minnesota Organic Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was insanely cold, but holy cow! What a mecca of learning for a newbie like me!
This conference had it all!
Classes about grant writing, organic certification, crops, animals, high tunnels, legal issues, marketing – the list goes on an on! All of the classes were taught by organic certification specialists, organic farmers, university professors and researchers, and other industry professionals. I seriously filled over half a notebook with all of the information I learned.
There was also an expo with exhibitors of all kinds, like organic certification, plants and seeds, animals and feed, water, soil, equipment, research, co-ops, and government agencies. I am not ashamed to say I brought home a two foot pile of information (it’s making for inspiring winter reading)! The nice folks manning the booths were so friendly and incredibly helpful, especially for someone with as little experience as me.
The food they provided was fantastic!! All locally grown and/or organic food. Let me tell you, I’ve worked quite a few trade shows in my day, and we never had food this good. The lunch the first day was a complete roasted chicken dinner. Delicious!!
If you’ve never attended a conference like this, I highly recommend it. Whether you’ve been farming forever, or haven’t even been successful at container gardening, if you have an interest in all things organic and sustainable, fire up Google and search for conferences or groups in your area. The ticket prices vary based on the size of the conference, but it is so worth it for everything you learn, the new things you discover, and the awesome people you meet. I’ve never been involved in an industry that is so friendly, non-competitive, and willing to help newbies. Small, organic and sustainable farmers have such a welcoming community.
I’m already looking forward to the 2015 conference, and I’m checking out others within driving distance. Maybe I’ll see you there!
(Stay Tuned: Tonight I start the Living on the Land Workshop Series offered by the University of Minnesota Extension’s Small Farms Program. I am so excited! I’ll keep you updated on all of the fun stuff I learn over the next 8 weeks!)