About a month ago, I attended the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Conference in La Crosse, WI.

IT. WAS. AMAZING. So much information. So many happy, helpful, and excited people. Inspiration, motivation, and re-energization in one fell swoop. Oh, and really good food.

I took away SO much (including four bags of potting soil) and am grateful that I was able to attend. And I’m already excited to go back next year and the year after (and the year after… you get it).

There are a lot of directions that a farmer can go with organics and there are a lot of reasons for a farmer to be interested in organics. My feeling was that most farmers got into organics because of something they wanted for themselves, their families, their land, their animals, and their community. Doing things for yourself and the people you care about are some of the strongest driving forces in the world. I believe that people are selfish, but I think we are more often driven to action for the people around us than we are for ourselves. These feelings are what started the tradition of organic farming and have kept it alive. It is the sharing and spreading of these feelings and ideas which has kept it growing.

That spirit. This need to care for others. This desire to go against all conventional “knowledge,” to be the social outcast, to take risks and depend on nature, to take a longer-term view of a business, and to go against the government-agricultural-medical-pharmaceutical-industrial complex comes out of individual wants and needs. It will only continue if there is big, deep, personal evidence and conviction that this is the way a farmer wants to farm. Without that conviction, it will fail. The farmer will fail, the field will fail, the ideas will become corrupt, the motives will become ulterior. When organic farming becomes forced from the outside in; when it depends on approved policy more than it depends on individual choices and preferences; when it follows regulation instead of logic; that is when it will fail.

There are already forces at play that are creating the “laws” that define “Organic.” In the 14 years since those rules have been enforced, the law is already behind the science and the consensus of actual farmers. It has only been a few short years since the USDA has not actively sought to destroy organic farming as an industry. The solution to this problem is not a change in the national policy. It’s not in electing the right people and hoping they hire the right people, who hire the right people, who hire the right people, who hire… and so on. It’s not in forcing GMO labeling or forcing NOT forcing GMO labeling. It’s not in the USDA. Or the FDA. Or the EPA. Or any other government program that now says it supports organic farming. The solution is the farmer and the consumer.

Organic farmers and consumers need to shore up their relationship with each other and with their food. They need to care about themselves, their families, their land, their animals, and their community. They need to reach out to one another, learn the other’s wants, needs, and desires, and help each other meet those ends through the means of voluntary action, farmer to consumer exchanges, and education, education, education.

Organic farming is the future that I have chosen for myself because it is how I will be the change I want to see in the world. It is what I want, how I can care for others, and how I can live the life I want, everyday. And I want to be able to make decisions about my farm, myself. I don’t want to be forced, coerced, or threatened into making choices that are not in line with my values or the values of my customers.

Organic farming is my gateway to spreading libertarian values. As a libertarian who doesn’t know you, I don’t care what you eat. As a fellow libertarian (who you kinda know because you’re reading this), I’m asking you to not disparage the choice to eat, grow, and buy organic food. This is a choice people want to make freely.

As an organic farmer who is also a libertarian, I do encourage you to make the unconventional choice and buy directly from a farmer. The conventional choice is dripping (or completely slobbered over) with government corruption, intervention, and regulation. Buying local and organic (certified or not!) is one way that we can get out from under the power that government has over our lives.

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