Just under 3,300 people from all over the Midwest came together late last month to celebrate organic agriculture at the 23rd annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Droves of us from all over – beginning and experienced farmers, young and old alike – descended upon the quaint riverside town for a weekend of learning, networking, socializing, and delicious organic food. The positive energy, passion, and optimism emanating from such a dedicated mass of individuals and families was incredible. Talk about good for the soul!
We had a great time attending workshops, wandering the exhibit hall, meeting new friends, and catching up with those we hadn’t seen since last year. The conference is a place where we’re continually amazed at how dedicated, creative, and passionate we farmers can be! I met so many people doing so many cool things too numerous to mention. From vegetable market gardens to homeopathic animal health to on-farm pizza nights to pastured pork to biofuel production… There was simply too much to do and not enough time to do it.
Kurt Ellis was there, one of the film makers behind the documentary movie King Corn (if you haven’t seen it, you really should).
Omega Maiden made a name for ourselves there as well; we organized a demonstration to press camelina seed into oil and had an informational table as part of the conference’s Farmers’ Showcase. The camelina oil generated tons of intereste, and we were successful in winning over quite a few new customers. The good word about Omega Maiden continues to grow!
One of my favorite parts of the conference is the annual Poetry Slam. This year’s winning poem, written by a veteran organic farmer from Wisconsin, was especially touching. Read on for the full-length poem. And go organic farmers!
Poem read by Stan Szymanski at the 2012 MOSES Organic Farming Conference.
My Farm on the Hill
You can have your mansion on the hill,
As long as I can farm, it’s my will.
My fields are full of Mother Nature’s life-
Tons and tons of soil life.
My woods of maple and yellow birch,
It welcomes me, it’s nature’s church.
The church bells, across the section are ringing,
While the song birds do the singing.
I went to the university to learn to farm.
I’m so lucky, I heard nature’s alarm.
What the professors were telling me
Wasn’t working, I could see.
What the professors lacked was a farm of their own
To watch their soil yet hard as a stone.
Over fertilizing and pesticides,
Leaves the land sterilized.
I was turning my farm into a parking lot.
No help from nature, UW’s plot.
I caught on and went back to the books.
You should see how good my crop looks.
I’ve been sustainable for thirty years.
Now nature grows my crops without fears.
Now that I’ve reached retirement age,
Most guys would gladly step off the stage.
I’ve been asked to sell for the Ag. academy.
That’s for someone else, not me.
I’ll be darn they take my organic farm,
And plant it with Monsanto’s harm.
This all goes against my principles, my love of nature and the land.
We who know must take a stand.
The way our nation farms today
Is why the water no longer is soaking away.
The precious water the farmer needs
Is flooding our neighbors downstream.
Some farmers think they are rotating.
But, they’re just lucky if they are alternating.
The BT corn is no longer working.
The Frankenstein bugs are smirking.
So thanks to MOSES and ACRES you see,
We’ll teach ‘em, you and me.
Enjoy the sunsets!
P.S. The best crop you can grow is kids!
© Copyright 2012 Stan Szymanski