Matt Olson has worked at Mississippi Market for 7 years and has been in his current position as Selby’s produce manager since 2011. Each year he attends the MOSES conference to connect with growers, learn about what’s new in organic farming, and be inspired by the talks and workshops.
March 1st 2014 was the 25th anniversary of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) organic farmer’s conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. What started as 90 people coming together in 1989 to talk about organic farming has grown to over 3300 attending this year. It is a great opportunity for farmers, educators, or anyone involved in organic agriculture to come together for a weekend. There is no better place for people to learn, teach, meet, and celebrate all that is happening in the vast world of organic farming.
I have been fortunate to attend a few conferences over the years with other co-workers from the Mississippi Market. Every year I come back excited and reinvigorated. The keynote speakers, workshops, and vendor showcase all offer myriad opportunities for me to learn about the latest happenings in the wide world of organic agricultural. As the produce manager in a food Co-op, it is imperative that I stay on top of the latest trends, concerns, and innovations. Quite frankly there is no better place to do this than MOSES.
This year I came away with new knowledge about nutritional levels in organic produce (studies have proven that antioxidant levels are generally higher), renewed passion to speak out against GMO’s (organic farming produces higher yields through floods and droughts and does not contain harmful pesticide or insecticides that are imbedded in GMO’s), and a renewed reminder that organic farming can feed the world!
While all of the scheduled events are exciting and educational, my favorite part about the conference is seeing people I haven’t seen in a while and meeting new people I have a common connection with. It is a great chance for me to see produce managers from across the region, farmers we buy from, and other people in the industry I rarely get an opportunity to talk with outside of the produce backroom or the sales floor at work. I consider myself quite fortunate to be able to work with such amazing and inspirational people. The MOSES conference is a testament that organic agriculture makes a difference and will continue to thrive, innovate, and grow no matter the obstacles.
From 90 people to 3300 in twenty-five years! No one can know what the future will hold, but I came away from the conference with the belief that in twenty-five years, organic agriculture will be bigger, stronger, and more influential than ever thought possible!
Meet the 2014 Organic Farmers of the Year, the Podoll Family. Theresa and David Podoll presented at the MOSES conference this year. At Mississippi Market, we are excited to be carrying their organic seeds at our West 7th store.