Yesterday my father, and younger sister, Tirzah, arrived in La Crosse WI for the MOSES (Midwest Organic Sustainable-Agriculture Education Service) Conference. It is our fourth year attending this event and I come prepared with what people I want to meet and what I want to learn. However, as these things happen, it doesn’t always go according to my plans, people are unreachable, sessions are cancelled, but always I end up getting a few surprises along the way.
A pleasant surprise this year was when sitting down to eat at a table being joined by a farmer friend of father’s and a former customer of mine from the LaGrange Farmer’s market. I had learned last summer that his job involved agriculture, but wasn’t expecting to see him again this soon. He and his wife had always been favorite customers of mine and it was a pleasure to see him again. Over lunch and through the rest of the day I was able to catch up with an old customer and learn more about a fellow farmer.
Among my various associations I’ve made at the conferences, I have come in contact with several of the staff and board members of MOSES, and it was nice to chat with a few of them and find out what they’ve been up to over winter.
Within the exhibit hall you would find many of the same, familiar faces from previous years, both in exhibitors and attendees. My father had his various rounds to his friends and I did the same with mine, leaving Tirzah bored by listening to either of us.
My favorite both has always been, and will probably continue to be the MOSA (Midwest Organic Service Association) booth. This certification company was the one I worked with when certifying Alden Hills Farm and through that process I came to know many of the inspectors and employees that frequent the conference circuit. As usual they were kind and helpful when I talked with them, getting a few questions I had answered and socializing a bit.
At the suggestion of one of my inspector friends I chatted up the other certification booths, telling them of my intentions to pursue education to become an Organic inspector, they were all very encouraging and gave me the information of who to contact when I have my licensing and let them know my plans. Right now there are not many inspectors, not enough at least to fulfill the demand.
I suspect that many of these agencies are glad to see a young man such as my self showing such an interest in their industries.