It was a huge rush to be able to take the whole family to the MOSES Organic Farming Conference so soon after we locked down so many details about our new CSA. It was the perfect way to keep the energy and the ideas (and a heck of a lot of dreaming!) flowing. Armed with binders, agendas, pens, a hotel room, and all four kids, we started out on the road in a rented van on the three hour trip to La Crosse, WI where the conference is held at the La Crosse Center. We lucked out with the perfect weekend–while cold and snowy, we left after a big snowstorm, and made it home just before another one hit. It’s been a heck of a winter so far!
We (okay, I…) spent a lot of time planning before we went. I had each of us go through the program and highlight what interested us, and I was able to make up a schedule for everyone so we could make as broad of a brain impact as possible. We spent a lot of time chatting about the importance of going to certain sessions together, or not, as the case may be. Jeff was fortunate enough to get a scholarship this year, and so I went ahead and volunteered for a reduced price for myself. I was really pleased that the volunteer coordinator allowed us to share some shifts, freeing up one or the other of us to hit up the sessions we really needed to. It’s a LOT of information crammed into just two days! Not to mention the real draw is being able to connect with so many like-minded people over the same amount of time, tossing ideas and suggestions around. I felt like an overloaded sponge by the time we were done, and we came home with a bag of information, several new books, and a binder full of notes.
Ella had a blast helping in the Childcare room, Seamus and Aiden had a blast hanging out in the Childcare room (check out that balloon sculpture!) and Dylan tagged along with us for most of the conference. With everyone all over the place, the app that MOSES puts out was actually really helpful.
And the food was GREAT. I think this Sitka Salmon meal was hands down my favorite though. And that wild rice! Also? I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower, but however they put that together, I loved. I can smell the homemade pizza Jeff is making in the kitchen right now, and it smells amazing, but apparently I’m still yearning for this salmon meal. Just looking at the photo is making my mouth water. *drool*
We can’t wait to put some of these amazing plans in action! The googles are running fast and furious over here, and we’re still trying to sift through all of the information and contacts we accumulated. And get some sleep. There was a bit of a snafu with the hotel room (long story short, I really cannot reccomend the AmericInn Riverfront in La Crosse) and with all of the running and knowledge assimilation, we’re knackered. The chooks came through everything great (greatly due to the watering system Jeff put in, which I will share about in a later post!) and everyone was comfy and cozy at home. And we had the added bonus of being able to stop at my sister’s the next day to pick up Dash, and celebrate her graduation at the same time.
The sessions we went to were:
- Silvopasture in Practice (I LOVED this one. Our mature oaks and maples are begging for some elderberries, hazelnuts, and grazing to happen under them!)
- Regenerative Poultry System (this one was hugely packed with information, a lot of it for producing on a more industrial scale than we’re interested in. But there were still some great takeaways.)
- Organic Inputs Demystified (this one was all Jeff)
- Elderberry as a cash crop (super informative! We loved the speaker here. And we came home with elderberry starts!)
- Cover Crops for the Diverse Vegetable Farm (I have so so much more to learn here)
- Time & Money Saving Designs and Techniques (also Jeff)
- Marketing and Branding 101 (not exactly what we’d been hoping for, but still interesting)
- I was also able to attend most of the Soil Sisters’ info session about Meat.
We had a lot to take away from the weekend! I can’t wait to go again next year!