An informative press release from Marbleseed (formerly MOSES):
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) is now Marbleseed, but our work remains the same: nourishing the success of organic and sustainable farmers in the Midwest through hosting farmer-led events, providing educational resources to farmers, and cultivating steadfast community connection.
A little history about our origin story as The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and our evolution to Marbleseed…
The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (or MOSES) was incorporated in 1995 after six years of growing a successful annual organic farming conference. With the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) authorized by the 1990 Farm Bill, there was a great need for farmer education and technical assistance. Increasing use of production methods that improved soil health, along with an emerging certification process created a dynamic and exciting environment for farmers who were on the frontline advocating for organic standards that could support the burgeoning organic movement. It was just three decades earlier that Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” challenged the agricultural industrial complex and encouraged a new wave of organic farming. Set upon the backdrop of the Green Revolution, MOSES’ work at that time was supporting a radical departure from the status quo.
More than thirty years after the passage of OFPA and the birth of this organization, farmers are still seeking guidance in business management, market access, and production methods. And it is within all of this context that in November of 2020, with a new Executive Director, Lori Stern, and in the midst of a global pandemic, the MOSES Board of Directors re-committed to the organization’s original mission, outlined in 1995: to support farmers in making the transition to a sustainable, organic system of farming that is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just through information, education, and research, integrating the broader community into this effort.
Marbleseed is a prairie plant native to the Midwest. It has a deep taproot and thrives in areas grazed by cattle and is one of the first to return, resilient after fire. This drought tolerant, perennial plant is often used in prairie restoration efforts, providing nectar and pollen as rewards for bumblebees, butterflies, and other insects. Although it is native, today, it can be difficult to find. For us, the nature of Marbleseed called to mind regeneration and ecosystem support. Its deep taproot and self-seeding nature speak to the resiliency, adaptability, and strong community networks needed in the organic farming movement today. And within its name, “marble” and “seed” we are reminded of this community’s commitment to the stewardship of our planet, which we so lovingly refer to as “the big blue marble.”
Changing MOSES to Marbleseed represents adaptability and reflects the needs of an established organic movement—community connection, ecosystem services, regeneration, and resiliency. As an organization working in community with 20,000 small and mid-scale farmers, researchers, ag professionals, and food system enthusiasts, we have become known for our role a connector and networker, a deep taproot for the Midwest organic farming community. Thirty-three years of the MOSES Organic Farming Conference has taught us to be successful conveners.
Today, we are excited to leverage our social capital to grow the Midwest’s small organic farming community and add value by promoting resources (educational and otherwise) to address the myriad of challenges our food system faces collectively. And like the plant, Marbleseed will provide these things in the context of organic agriculture’s ecosystem services.
With a new name, we have refreshed our branding and our communication platforms, including a new layout in our bi-monthly publication, the Organic Broadcaster and a new website launching Summer 2022. Get a sneak peek at our new website, marbleseed.org. The full website launches soon and will be a user friendly, easy to navigate resource hub for emerging and established farmers, supporters old and new, and for the broader regenerative and organic farming community.
While our name has changed, our work remains the same. We have always been farmer-led, and the extent to which we rely on a community of farmers to provide the needed solutions and knowledge remains central to how we will continue to do Marbleseed’s work. As the organic food and farming landscape continues to evolve and grow, we remain committed to the roots of this movement: care for the planet, nourishment for communities, and support for organic and sustainable farmers who are working in relationship with the ecosystems that sustain us. Farmer-led, rooted in organic. That is Marbleseed.
Find out more about Marbleseed’s transition at marbleseed.org or on social media @marbleseed.