LA CROSSE, Wisconsin – Seven students in the graduate program for Sustainable Agriculture traveled to La Crosse, Wisconsin to attend the 2020 MOSES Conference. Presented by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, the conference is one of the largest annual sustainable agriculture events in the Midwest and brings together farmers, academics, and anyone interested in making food systems more sustainable. Throughout the event, students were able to learn more about advancements in the field, as well as share their expertise to other attendees.
Graduate students from Iowa State attended sessions regarding a variety of topics relating to sustainable agriculture from some of the top experts in their respective fields such as Leah Penniman and Dr. John Ikerd. Lectures were both informative and inspiring, covering topics from innovative agronomic practices to strategies for integrating justice into local food systems, and everything in between. Students were able to share what they learned in these sessions with their classmates over all-organic meals and snacks provided by local farmers during the breaks.
In addition to learning from others, students were able to interact and share their knowledge and experience with other attendees. The Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture State booth was staffed by graduate students who shared their experience with those interested in the program or curious as to what students are working on at Iowa State. Several students and a faculty member were able to directly share the results of their work with attendees during the poster session. Feedback was extremely positive for these posters and the experience was a great way to practice communicating research to a general audience.
Poster presenters include:
- Derrick Kapayou, and Dr. Christina Gish-Hill – Collaborative science with Native farmers can overcome barriers to improve soil and community health
- Kephas Mphande - Optimizing pollination of muskmelon in organic mesotunnel systems
- Thanh Nguyen – Gauging Agronomic, Social and Economic Benefits of Iowa’s Immigrant Community Gardens/Farms
Iowa State students also met with students from other colleges and sustainable agriculture programs across the Midwest to share ideas on how to engage with their community through outreach such as community farms and gardens. In addition to this exchange of ideas, students were able to make connections for future work and research, or to compare results.
The field of sustainable agriculture is changing daily and requires conferences such as MOSES to share innovative ideas. Over the course of the conference, Iowa State students enjoyed fellowship, good food, and a learning experience that will undoubtedly contribute to their future academic endeavors. The Sustainable Agriculture Student Association would like to thank the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture for their financial support which made this trip possible.