After attending the 2013 MOSES Organic Farming Conference on Feb.21-23, FoodCorps Iowa members were charged with the task of writing a reflection on the experience. Below is my response.
I’d like to start my reflection by sharing how grateful I am to the MOSES staff for the full conference scholarship for the second year in a row, without which I would not have been able to attend. I am so appreciative of all the hard work MOSES (the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service) does to put on such a wonderful conference and to ensure that us service members are able to attend and benefit from the great education, resources, and networking that comes from the Organic Farming Conference!
There are several reasons why I enjoyed going to the MOSES OFC last year and was so eager to return as a second-year member this year. The education gained in the wide array of workshops is great. The wealth of resources, from the exhibition halls to the bookstore, is great. The entertainment is great, and the food, of course, is great. But the primary reason I love the MOSES OFC is the people – people who have similar interests as me, people who have jobs and lives that I want to have in ten years, people who just have great stories to share, people that I never would have met if I’d stayed in the office.
In the life of a FoodCorps member, it is all too easy to get bogged down in the ups and downs of day-to-day service. This conference brings together so many amazing people doing so many amazing things. And the networking that takes place – from a formal Farm to School networking session over lunch to someone stopping you in the hall to say, “Hey, that’s a neat shirt. What’s FoodCorps all about?” – is truly priceless.
The conference is a great way to stop and reflect on the service term thus far, to step outside the bubble and remember that this movement is bigger than a school, or a region, or even the country, and to celebrate all the strides, both big and small, that are occurring everywhere to help reshape our food system to produce healthier food, land, people, and communities.
All of this is just a really roundabout answer to the questions at hand. “What will I take away from MOSES and apply to my service?” and “What did I learn that I will apply to my next steps post-FoodCorps?” I could sit here and list off the different facts I learned, the websites and pamphlets and books I received, the garden tips and tricks I heard, and the career advice I was given, but that would be boring write (and probably more boring to read). The simple, honest answer is inspiration to go back into my community and my schools and get things done and a feeling of empowerment to continue on a career path in the food movement. It’s real, it’s here, and it’s important work of which I do not intend on missing out.