The Mid-America Organic Association Conference and Expo was held here in Kansas City last week. Farmers, gardeners, agriculture experts, and consumers came from all over the mid-west to share their commitment to clean, healthy, chemical-free, naturally grown food crops. Manufacturers showcased many innovative and environmentally sound products and services. The exchange of information and ideas was incredibly inspiring and created an atmosphere that was nothing short of electric.
Each individual we spoke with had a passion for cooperating with Nature in the growing of our food and was firmly committed to healing and caring for the land. We met with speakers such as David Yarrow, sustainable farming researcher and advocate, and Joel Adams of Adams’ Osage Ridge Aronia Community Farm, who are both tireless in their endeavors to farm, research, educate, innovate, and bring together many schools of agricultural thought for the purpose of growing the highest quality food possible.
We were privileged to spend an hour with Jim Porterfield, a brilliant agricultural researcher who has been involved in cutting edge science and innovation in growing nutrient dense crops. We visited a number of vendor booths that featured products with an emphasis on trace minerals combined with humates and inoculants. We witnessed the “mineral message” gaining momentum among organic farmers and those who supply them with carbon building inputs.
We also met with farmers like Michelle from Illinois, mother and homeschooler of five, who was excited to learn about soil amendments and how they could help her transform an acre of clay-heavy soil into a minerally balanced, sustainable and diverse teaching garden for her children. And we met with Tasha from St. Louis, a community activist who is passionate about turning vacant urban lots with poor soil into community gardens. Frank LeBeau, Garden Educator with Heal the Planet Farm, stopped by to chat about the need for mineralizing the soil at their 350-acre organic permaculture farm located at the base of the Ozark Mountains in Southern Missouri, an area where traditional farm acreage suffers from depleted soil.
This diverse group of individuals and companies made it profoundly clear that healthy, nutrient-dense, sustainably grown, humanely raised food is imperative to the well being of our families and communities, our country and our planet. But paramount to all this, is the sobering truth that this can only be accomplished by us. Yes, US!
It will take consumers directing the resources of their pocket books toward the purchasing of this food. Our organic and biodynamic farmers stand enthusiastically ready to produce more and more for the growing demand. Existing organic markets will thrive and new ones will be established. Supermarkets will become dominated by ever-larger “organic departments,” until one day we are daily nourished by the quality of healthy food once enjoyed only by our ancestors.
These necessary changes in the way we produce our food cannot be left up to our government or multi-national agribusiness corporations. WE must direct their policies and actions. That which the consumer demands ultimately determines what is produced and how it is produced.