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History of the Acres U.S.A. Conference

The first Acres U.S.A. Conference was held in 1972, just two years after the magazine’s founding. In that era most of agriculture was prancing around fawn-fashion at the miracle solutions emerging from agribusiness. Most family farmers did not see the perfect storm coming which would move them off the land. Farmers who kept their focus trained on natural systems, soil health, and producing high-quality, non-toxic food were few and far between.

While the monthly magazine Acres U.S.A. was beginning its mission of creating a community between these far-flung thinkers, there was a need for a physical gathering. Aside from a few special-interest groups such as Natural Foods Associates and the Biodynamic Association, there were no such conferences, certainly not for production-scale ecological farming.

Acres U.S.A. founder Charles Walters gathered some of the innovators and leaders of the day, enlisted the few vendors of eco-inputs, and spread the word. A couple of hundred people gathered, which was an amazing number given the magazine’s small reach back then.

Now there are many, many conferences serving all regions of the world and all aspects of organic/sustainable farming. But the Acres U.S.A. Conference stands apart because of that certain spirit and zest, the higher level of knowledge, the diverse points of view of attendees, its authenticity.

With the large annual conferences and a smattering of regional and focused-topic events over the years, Acres U.S.A. has now presented dozens of conferences attended by tens of thousands of farmers from every state and dozens of foreign countries. The roster of speakers who have stood behind the Acres U.S.A. podium is a Who’s Who of ecological agriculture.

Our goal remains the same now as more than 40 years ago ─ to bring the community together, to discuss new ideas, to share knowledge, and to change agriculture so that it most benefits humanity.