By Elizabeth Henderson
Upper Midwest Organic Farming Conference, February 2004
“We aim to rescue the government from the control of the privileged few and made it function for the use and benefit of all by abolishing monopoly in every form.” Declaration of Principles of the Farmer Labor Association, 1924.
It is truly an honor to be here again!
The past 3 decades have been years of solid achievement for organic agriculture. Like a chestnut tree seedling, we have been growing our roots, sending them down deep into the soil before putting our energies into growing upwards towards the sun and outwards into the air. Without much help from the government, university researchers, or the extension services, we have created an ecologically sound way of farming, an effective system of verification, organic certification, the most highly respected of all the eco-labels, and the only sector of US agriculture that is attracting young people and arousing hope for the future of rural communities. Our growth is bringing us to a critical crossroads. Will our trunk grow straight or crooked? How high will we spread our branches? Whom will they shelter? Whom will we feed?