Northland College staff and students traveled to LaCrosse, Wisconsin to participate in the 2018 MOSES Organic Farming Conference, the largest event in the U.S. about organic and sustainable farming.

The 28-year-old conference draws over 3,500 people from around the nation and across the globe, bringing together all kinds of people who are working toward a more sustainable food and farming system.

Todd Rothe, manager at the Hulings Rice Food Center, attended the weekend-long conference in February with seven students who manage the campus gardens and who help preserve food at the Larson Food Lab.

“Our students are keen to the changing face of agriculture,” Rothe said. “They recognize the widening gap between small-scale diversified family farming and global corporate-commodity model of food production—and they want to play their part in re-defining what it means to be a farmer and feeding their communities.”

The trip was funded by Northland’s Parsonage Fund, designed to provide financial support for student-initiated projects.

In addition to workshops and keynote talks, students had the opportunity to meet research teams, policy advocates, and government agencies, eat lunch with a grain farmer from Nebraska, have dinner with an Organic Valley milk producer, and network with fellow students and farmers from across the nation.

“The biggest takeaway from this conference was not a new growing method, marketing strategy, or conservation practice, said senior Danny Simpson, who manages the campus gardens. “But instead the necessity for diversity, inclusion, and equity throughout the food system.”

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