Horticulture Congress Update

Wow, what a week.  Conferences can be so much fun but they sure leave me short on time.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to reconnect with other farm acquaintances and meet new faces involved in growing our food supply.  The Horticulture Congress has done a good job of pulling people from all walks of life interested in growing and those that supply growers with needed inputs.  We set up a booth for three days this week to get connected with others in the industry.  I remember the very first year I attended.  There was one workshop on organic agriculture. This year there was a series of workshops on organic agriculture.  Our numbers are growing.  I also had the opportunity to talk with many conventional growers.  I tread lightly as I mention our interest in supporting chemical free agriculture.  Instead of trying to convince someone to change their whole farm operation, I typically offer the opportunity to have a market if they wanted to try just one or two crops of chemical free produce.  I love being able to offer that connection between our fans already sold on purchasing chemical free produce and a farmer trying to be creative in finding a way to make a living farming.  I am able to encourage a transition to a more sustainable system of agriculture but gently.  To many the mere mention of the word “organic” builds a quick barrier wall.  It is my job to break that barrier down and let them know that I understand both sides of the fence.  I understand the push in America to grow food as inexpensively as possible.  I understand how difficult it is to grow organically.  I also understand those that want a natural product and will pay what is necessary to get that product.  Many don’t realize that our produce distribution has grown to be 30% of our total volume.  We are out looking for farms of all kinds to continue growing Indiana’s ability to feed our own communities.  Right now is crop planning season.  We are hard at work talking with growers about the coming year and what produce crops they are interested in growing.  Please spread the word to any grower that might be interested in having help marketing there products.  We would love to talk with them just as we had the opportunity to talk to so many while at the Horticulture Congress meeting in Indianapolis.