We have this wonderful family friend Mary who cries at the drop of a hat. It’s the most beautiful thing. I ran in to her unexpectedly at Whole Foods once and this brought her tears. As the years go by I often remark that I am taking on this trait- a compliment to myself. It also runs in our family. My Grandpa used to cry when he listened to music, or when the grandbabies were doing something especially cute. He would always say it was his allergies as he wiped big tears from his cheeks. My son, just last night while watching a cartoon started crying at a touching scene and immediately blamed it on his watery eyes. We’re criers, I said to him! So this weekend Dan and I were at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference and as the keynote speakers were being introduced I started crying. Tears dripped down my cheeks and down my neck – real big time crying. Dan gave me a smile, he’s witnessed this a hundred times. It’s important to note though that the frequency of these crying events truly does not depreciate the circumstances. I consider myself lucky to feel moved this often, and I know there’s something magic about our friend Mary – her crying is meaningful and truly touching. So why was I crying at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference? There were so many reasons.
This conference has taken place for 30 years and for the last 19, it’s been in my home town of La Crosse, Wi. 3,000 plus people involved in organic farming gather to connect, learn more, and share. Of the 3,000, one is my dear childhood best friend Jonnah Perkins; I write about our friendship and farming connections here. From third to sixth grade we spoke our own language, and cultivated a kooky, creative world of our own. We have both taken circuitous routes to farming, both spending time in New York City, in the arts and then, like homing pigeons, back to the Midwest. In addition to farming, she is a professional runner (!), coach, and all around brilliant artistic soul. We connected over how we both have two children, a boy and a girl and how we’ve found ourselves here in this spot in life. Jonnah noted how we’ve both always been committed to an alternative life, even if we weren’t always sure what it was.
The tear spurring keynote speakers have been farming organically since the 1980’s and were instrumental in writing the organic farming standards published in the Farm Bill of 1990. They’ve been preaching the good news of organic food for decades. They spoke of it being our duty to continue to share this news. It is our duty not only to grow food naturally and share it with our community, but to stand for organic on a national level; to demand better for our communities. It was powerful to see these six people closer to the end than the beginning of their farming careers, so passionate and so fervent in this belief. They were energizing and inspiring and reminded me to keep the plot, stay true to the bigger picture. It is so easy to take a deep dive in to crop planning, successions, how many plants per row, the cost of a pack shed, the list goes on, the costs go on – but how important not to forget why we do what we do. We farm to connect with our community and provide people with quality food grown naturally! I can’t wait to share the farm and it’s bounty with more people this summer. I’m dreaming up events, farm dinners, and more ways to connect with people. I can’t wait and this chokes me up.