Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Recap of the 24th Annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference

Johnny’s Selected Seeds Maine-based Territory Representative, Ken Fine, attended the 24th Annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference held recently in La Crosse, Wisconsin (February 22–24, 2013). This was Ken’s 12th year attending the show as an exhibitor! Johnny’s was pleased to serve as a sponsor of the tradeshow, as well.

Johnny’s double-sized booth was located on the corner of the third row of exhibitors, near the entrance to the educational sessions and lunch room. Some of the items we displayed this year at the booth were our 60-lb. JSS 'Polar Bear' Pumpkin with an informational poster board, a video of our new Quick-Cut Greens Harvester in action, and various informative materials about our new Salanova® Lettuce Collections.
This year we also brought our Quick-Cut Greens Harvester, along with live pea shoots and wheat grass, so Ken could demonstrate how efficient and easy to use the tool is to tradeshow attendees.
According to the MOSES website, over 3300 people attended the conference.
Participants came from all over the U.S. and overseas — the 'most adventurous' award goes to the person who came all the way from Nigeria! It was great to see the complete range of ages at the conference — if it takes a village to get things done, the organic farming community is well on its way to creating a brighter future.
Some additional highlights from the conference:
  • Keynote Speakers: Filmmakers Jeremy Seifert and Joshua Kunau, and organic farming pioneer Carmen Fernholz. Fernholz, who has been farming organically for over 40 years, shared his view of the ideal food system, one which includes engaged and informed eaters.
  • Charlie Johnson of Madison, South Dakota, was honored as the 2013 MOSES Organic Farmer of the Year. The Johnson family farm has organic roots dating back to the 1970s, well before the organic farming movement had gained serious traction.
Have a look at some of Ken's photos from the Conference, below. Whether or not you, too, attended the conference or you simply wish to share your thoughts, we'd enjoy hearing from you in the Comments section below. Or, visit us on our our Facebook page anytime!
The Set-up Process of the Booth Begins
A Look at the Booth
Attendees Begin Exploring the Booth
Folks Filling out the Raffle Tickets
An overview of the Conference
Another Look at the Tradeshow Floor


Johnny's Attends the 2013 NOFA VT Winter Conference

Johnny's Maine-based Territory Sales Rep for Vermont, Chris Hillier, recently attended the NOFA Vt Winter Conference held in Burlington, VT at the University of Vermont, on February 15–17, 2013.

This year’s Winter Conference featured more than 70 diverse workshops, intensive seminars, TED-inspired talks by food system innovators, a second annual seed swap, a collective art project with local artist Bonnie Acker, and much more.

According to the conference website:
Whether you’re a gardener, homesteader, commercial farmer, researcher, forager, chef or consumer, you are certain to find something at the Winter Conference to enrich your skills, inspire your goals, and deepen your understanding of resilient food and farm systems.
Growers from all over New England attended the three-day Winter Conference.

Chris spoke to conference attendees about our new-for-2013 products, including the new 'Salanova' Lettuce line and the Johnny's-bred, AAS Winner 'Jasper,' as well as the Quick-Cut Greens Harvester. At the Johnny’s booth, we also featured live Salanova product, grown by a Johnny’s customer in the Southeast and shipped to Vermont, for conference-goers to see the product first-hand. Along with the product, Chris displayed our Salanova brochure, as well as informative product sheets on some of our newest products and existing customer favorites.

Conference attendees who stopped by the Johnny’s booth were able to sign up for our free raffle, where one grower won a $100 gift certificate to Johnny’s. Congrats, Enrique Peredo of Two Guys Blooms in Hinesburg, VT.

Below are a some photos of Chris’s trip, Johnny's booth, and some other great sights at the conference. If you, too, attended, please feel free to drop us a line, share your thoughts in the Comments section, below, or visit our Facebook page anytime!

Harvest New England Ag Marketing Conference & Trade Show

Johnny’s (Maine-based) Massachusetts Sales Reps, Ken Fine and Liz MacKinnon, recently attended the 2013 Harvest New England Ag Marketing Conference & Trade Show. Held Wednesday, February 27–Thursday, February 28, 2013 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, Ken and Liz made the 4-hour drive from Johnny’s offices in Winslow, Maine.

While exhibiting over the course of two days, Ken and Liz spoke with growers from all across New England, including Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, as well as with customers from the New York region.


At the Johnny’s booth, we enjoyed giving a lot of Jang Clean Seeder and Quick-Cut Greens Harvester tool demonstrations for interested attendees. People love seeing these tools in action!

The focus of the conference zeroed in on the subject of marketing. Senior VP of Marketing at Cabot Creamery, Roberta MacDonald, was featured as the Conference Keynote Speaker. According to the conference website, “[I]f you're a grower, value-added producer, new farmer, farm store manager, farmer’s market manager, ag service provider, or just interested in agriculture, this is the agricultural conference for you!” The Conference offered over 25 workshops on marketing, social media, agritourism, financing, and much more.
You can learn more about the conference at their website, and also view the full conference agenda and list of attendees at http://www.harvestnewengland.org.

Here are a couple of our photos from the conference, below:


Johnny's Time Spent at the NOFA NY Winter Conference and the PASA Farming for the Future Conference

Johnny's Maine-based Territory Sales Rep, Kristen Dubord, recently attended the NOFA NY Winter Conference, held in Saratoga Springs, NY, January 25–27, 2013 as well as the PASA Farming for the Future Conference in State College, PA February 6-9, 2013.
NOFA NY Winter Conference
The conference offered a great selection of workshops on topics such as sustainable farming, soil health, grain production, and many others. Each morning, tradeshow attendees could additionally participate in a yoga session! The Keynote Address, which you can read here on the NOFA-NY website, was given by Scott Chaskey of Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, NY. You can also view conference programs for 2004-2013.

While at the Johnny’s booth, tradeshow attendees could demo our Four-Row Pinpoint Seeder, grab a free Johnny’s bumper sticker, take a new catalog, enter our raffle, ask Kristen any number of growing questions, discuss concerns, and learn about our new selection of products. Congratulations to our raffle ticket winner, Jacob Diaz of Slow Roots Farm in Kingston, NY. You can learn more about Slow Roots Farm at their website.
While at the conference, we found the most popular informational sheets we offered concerned our Planting Programs. You can learn more about these programs, such as What a Planting Program Is, What the Key Elements Are to Implementing a Successful Program, and Why to Use a Planting Program at Johnnyseeds.com, as well as which varieties are best to plant (and harvest) when.

We give out Johnny's bumper stickers at our booth

A look at the Johnny's booth, all set up

The conference program
 You can learn more about the NOFA NY organization, as well as their Winter Conference, at their website and official Facebook page.

PASA Farming for the Future Conference
According to the PASA website, this year’s conference hosted an audience of  “around 2000 people from 30 states. Attendees included over 950 farmers, and 219 scholarship recipients.” If interested, you can also check back at the PASA website to hear audio files from the conference, from Organic Voices.

The conference offered three full days of educational workshops, opportunities to explore the exhibitors’ booths, social events, and more. On Friday evening at the conference, there was a movie viewing of three films, as well as a social hour featuring “snacks and drinks that [were] regionally sourced.”  

Once the Johnny’s booth was set up, we featured poster boards with information on the Quick-Cut Greens Harvester and our 'Lunchbox' Series of Snack Peppers. We also featured several information sheets on new and best-selling products such as our 'Jasper' tomato, specialty pumpkins, butternut squash, and our organic pepper lineup.

If you, too, attended either of these conferences, we'd love to hear from you in follow-up. Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section, below — or visit with us on Facebook anytime!