The MOSES Organic Farming Conference is an opportunity for farmers around the Midwest to connect, learn, share, and come together as a community. For the second year, members of the Marquette Climbers’ Co-op had the opportunity to attend with fellow members of Northern Michigan University’s Students for Sustainability club thanks to support from the university and scholarships from the MOSES.
Ivan Swart said he went because he wanted to connect to the farming community and to learn what farming looked like, but he also went because he wanted ideas he could apply to the on-campus Superior Acres Permaculture Garden as well the greenhouse and garden at the Marquette Climbers’ Co-op.
“I learned a lot,” Ivan said which was undoubtedly true for everyone in attendance. Sessions ranged from national farming policy to how to grow mushrooms in between your crops.
One of the sessions members of the co-op were the most excited about was a presentation about agroecology, or in essence permaculture growing practices. The presenter showed pictures of his personal home growing area with hundreds, possibly thousands, of plant varieties growing together which is directly in line with visions for the garden at the co-op.
“What I learned was matched by what I became inspired by. The passion and practical applicability of the knowledge in the organic community really supported our mission and gave me a sense of hope and community in our food community. What I took away was that farming is more than making food. It’s a connection to the land and life around me.”
The mission of the Marquette Climbers’ Cooperative includes being a model of a sustainable community. One of the major ways members strive to do this is by producing as much of their own food grown with organic methods as possible and as well as purchasing local foods.
Ivan also added he learned, “Farming and eating organic is hard work but it’s worth the effort.”
It’s important for members of the co-op to be able to connect with the larger organic growing community in order to learn from and share with others.
Co-op groundskeeper Andrew Adamski said, “I learned how important it is to just talk to and connect with as many people as possible and form the connections that will keep the field moving towards an innovative future.”
Written by Melissa Orzechowski