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Outpost's Board of Directors will use this blog to discuss issues the board is exploring as it envisions Outpost's future. Can't make it to a meeting? Check here frequently to read what the Board is up to. Your current Outpost Board of...
Your Board

The Word from MOSES

Board Beet
By Your Board on April 4, 2014

So, I got together my gumption and attended the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) organic farming conference February 27 and March 1 in LaCrosse. I heard tell that some Outpost staffers were there, but in the crush of 3,000 plus attendees, who could tell?


It was astounding and the energy level was through the roof. For me, this was a whole new thing, even the vocabulary was strange and different. As my family owns a small farming operation in southwest Wisconsin, and as we are converting from conventional to sustainable farming this spring, the program was exciting on that level.


As an Outpost Board member, I learned about urban farming and some of its victories and tribulations. Representatives of two Madison urban farms discussed the challenges of farming both scattered site lots, as well as a tract bounded on all sides with no feasible expansion capacity. The Outpost Board has, this winter, heard from Tim McCollow, of the City of Milwaukee HOME GR/OWN project who discussed the City’s vision for reclamation of vacant lots for purposes of urban farming, so this was particularly interesting for me.


I also attended a session on Federal Farm Policy, subtitled, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, particularly as it affects organic farming and food production.  Federal farm policies, of course, help dictate what all of us find on our tables everyday. There is, in my opinion, a seemingly unscalable mountain of federal policy inertia arrayed in front of organic interests, and the interests of Big Ag seem insurmountable.


There was also a session on marketing organic food to current and future generations, which in my opinion, sought to commodify all of us, particularly as the session was presented by an employee of Horizon Dairy, whose reputation in the marketplace is, shall I say, checkered.  The lawyer in me say it’s time to shut up on this subject, so I will.


The attendees were from all over the upper Midwest, and as varied as I could have hoped for. Young, old, overalled and hipstered, crunchers and old-time farmers, lots of women, a true grab-bag of folks made this inspiring and fun.  Please contact me if you have any interest in attending this next winter!

– Nancy Ettenheim, director


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