I attended Expo West in early March and was astounded by the activity, creativity and energy the show offered this year. Not only were there over 67,000 eager attendees and 2,600 festive booths, but the educational sessions were packed with information and thought leadership. It lead me to reflect on how far we have come as an industry and how far we have yet to go in redefining the food landscape in the US. Continue reading “My Expo West: eating, partying and learning along the way”
In my previous reflections on small and big organic, I neglected to mention that agricultural trends in general are not promising for small or large farmers. The USDA preliminary agricultural census for 2012 was released in late February and had disconcerting information about American agriculture. The census showed that the number of farmers is declining and that the average farmer is getting older. This led me to ponder these question: where will our new youthful organic farmers come from? How do we foster the next generation to take up organic production and flourish? Continue reading “Where will Future Organic Farmers of America come from?”
Last week, I was lucky enough to be one of the 3,300 people who attended the 25th anniversary MOSES conference. This annual conference, held in La Crosse, Wisconsin, is the foremost organic and sustainable farming conference in North America (perhaps in the world).
The total number of farmers in the US is about 2.1 million, according to the latest government census of American agriculture. Organic farmland is approximately 1% of total US acreage, so it’s quite possible that many of the organic farmers representing that 1% attended MOSES as well. Among the crowd were many small organic producers. Throughout my week, I experienced an uncanny convergence of conversations about big organic and small organic and local farms, which led me to ask, does size really matter? Continue reading “Does Size really matter?”
The organics and natural foods industry gathers twice a year to showcase new products, network and strengthen existing business relationships. These expositions are affectionately called Natural Products “Expo East” and “Expo West”. They present the opportunity to celebrate the success of organic foods and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. In my previous Blog “Eat Party Learn”, I highlighted the educational sessions held by The Organic Trade Association and The Organic Center at Expo East last September. This week, Expo West will descend upon us with all its festivity, gastronomy and bustle. Here you will find opportunities to join the discussions that are important to the flourishing organic and natural food business community.
The first time I attended Expo West was in 1984 when I worked for the small, collectively-owned, health food store, Community Foods. We were so small and frugal that we had to room together. In those early days the show was simpler and smaller but still a place to express our vision for the organic movement. This year, there are a myriad of opportunities to join in the strategic discussions of where the organic industry can go. Continue reading “Eat, Party, Learn– West Coast Style!”