(La Crosse, WI) The 25th annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference, the largest organic farming conference in America, attracted about 3,400 farmers to La Crosse, WI this weekend, illustrating the dramatic growth of organic agriculture.
The conference has grown every year since its beginnings 25 years ago–the first conference had only 90 attendees. The growth in conference attendance and popularity coincides with the growth of the organic movement in the nation.
“In the years where I got started in the industry until now, the industry has grown from about a $3 billion industry […] to over a $30 billion industry,” stated keynote speaker Mark Shepard. “We are changing the world one organic acre at a time.”
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) marked its 25th anniversary with contests, awards, historical exhibits and an anniversary celebration.
“Farmers can truly be climate heroes,” explained author and keynote speaker Anna Lappé while speaking about the importance of consumer education at the conference.
Keynote speaker and journalist Alan Guebert spoke of the challenges organic farmers face in the next 25 years and stressed to the crowd, “Agriculture never stops changing.”
The 2014 Farmer of the Year award was also presented to the Podoll family of Prairie Road Organic Farm and Seed in Fullerton, ND. The Podolls are at the forefront of a growing interest in research dedicated to organic production practices.
Attendees took advantage of the conference’s 65 workshops, 10 pre-conference all-day courses, more than 170 tradeshow exhibitors and all organic food. Every year, the conference strives to be a source of education and support for the organic community. It also focuses on the environmental and economical benefits of organic farming and practices.
MOSES is a nonprofit organization that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing farmers with education, resources and expertise.