Monday, February 28, 2011


Every February, the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) holds their Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, and every year I've been envious of friends who go and learn amazing things about organics, agriculture, sustainability, and so on. Lucky for me, this year I was able to go to the conference because the People's Food Co-op is a major sponsor.

This conference is the largest organic farming conference in the country, and it was amazing to see 3,000 large-scale and small-scale farmers, people interested in organic food and farming, and supporters of organics all gathering together to learn cool stuff. I learned quite a bit about policy and the government's role in organic certification, sustainable poultry farming, growing mushrooms, the ability of animals to seek out the minerals their body needs, growing hops, and much more.

Here are a few things I found randomly interesting.

- The USDA is supposed to regulate the labeling of organic fish, but it does not yet have a mechanism for doing so. If you see a fish labeled organic, it is most likely not.
- We Care Organics sells sewer sludge labeled as "bio-solid compost" in Home Depot, Lowe's, and other DIY centers. It is definitely not organic.
- Culture (for example, what your mother teaches you) plays an equally large role in what and how grazing animals and humans eat. It's not just genetic that an animal prefers a certain food.
- Hops will die rather than grow counterclockwise around twine. Always wind them clockwise.
- A vine has tendrils it uses to climb, while a bine has microscopic hooks. Hop plants are bines.
- You can grow edible mushrooms on a roll of toilet paper.


Sarah Loos said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Do let me know how the TP mushrooms turn out (though, somehow I feel like your worm poop would be a better growing environment...).

Laura said...

Actually, we have a mulched area outside that should grow winecap mushrooms pretty well. We're thinking of giving that a go before resorting to TP on the kitchen counter. I just found it funny that it's possible.

Aer Conditionat said...

This is a great article. I’m glad you could go to the conference. Thanks for sharing these amazing stuff with us. I had no idea you can grow mushrooms on a roll of toilet paper. That’s hilarious.