In a very candid conversation with a farmer, the other day, I was asked, “what does it really take to go organic?” He mentioned that the idea had crossed his mind, he had heard a few things about it both good and bad, but he wasn’t sure.
We had started the conversation talking and laughing about his kids. How they are at that age where they were into everything and thought they could do anything. The stories he shared were hysterical. So when asked the question of what does it really take to go organic, it made sense to say curiosity.
We both instantly flashed back when I asked the question, “do you remember when you were younger, and everything was new?” Just like your kids are going through. There is a desire to explore, test boundaries, see what things are about, laugh, and learn. That his kids weren’t trying to drive him and his wife crazy or just provide good stories for when they are older, but rather being born with curiosity is a gift. It is like a spark within us that as we grow, drives change, innovation, and makes us want to continue to try. That is what it takes to go organic.
Trying Something New
When contemplating something new, almost no matter what it is, people are going to either talk up the idea or talk it down. We went through this scenario when we were transitioning to organic. The producer on our farmland was skeptical, and I was adamant. He is a family friend and was kind to compromise around the curiosity of wondering what going organic all entailed and the “what if” I was right. We agreed to support each other in the endeavor that I would help with securing the inputs we needed and market the crops, and he would farm the ground, and that’s how we got started.
Transitioning to organic now can be such a different experience than it used to be. The organic industry, as a whole, has really advanced. There are multiple training organizations available to help depending on your location, needs, and learning style. Some of us are better at a field day, and some like to combine those with online classes. The Organic Farming Research Foundation, Chico State, Kiss The Ground, Rodale, and MOSES are some interesting places to start.
- The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) – just announced that they are introducing their first learning module, Organic Soil Health Management, in their free online training program for beginning farmers, existing organic farmers, and farmers in transition to organic production.
- Chico State is now offering a masters program in regenerative agriculture. They are also developing a certificate for online classes that do not require a bachelor’s degree. It allows the ability to work on your own schedule while continuing to work full-time or attend to other responsibilities at home.
- Kiss The Ground has a Farmland Program that funds training and soil testing that supports producers (farmers and ranchers) in transitioning landscapes and adopting management practices aligned with the principles of regenerative agriculture.
- The Rodale Institute is based in Pennsylvania since the 1930s offering scientific research, farm trials, and this past year they have opened regional resource centers to help farmers.
- Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) offers field days, webinars, and an annual organic farming conference each year in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in February. Last year more than 2,800 people attended.
Check our podcast: Catalyzing Producers and Buyers to Grow U.S. Organic Acres
By Your Side
Sometimes the best thing when doing something new is to know you are not doing it alone. The organic industry is highly collaborative, and YieldOrganic is part of that community and believes in helping and supporting others. We are by your side as we advocate for both farmers and buyers every day. As part of the farming community, we endeavor to laugh and learn, share information, insight, and opportunities each month through our newsletter. Sign up it’s free.
Want to learn more? Check the video below