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#PASA2024, Keynote

Last week I attended the always inspiring and crucially informative PASA conference in Lancaster -- the best time of the year for me to connect with farmers and others in sustainable farming, and hear how they're tackling the "minor" and major challenges that we face. 

Systems Change in Agriculture: A Return to the Planet's Own Design, this year's Keynote was presented by Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, a whirlwind talent -- an intellectual activist entrepreneur who truly embodies regenerative farming and indigenous science. Marroquin's early struggles -- as a poor, native Guatemalan boy who beat the odds -- have lent his insights a special kind of relevance and integrity. He survived without being being pressed into the civil war, and obtained a university education in agriculture.

An example of Marroquin's past entrepreneurial success is Peace Coffee, a sustainable Minnesota-based coffee roaster and distributor, rooted in the Guatemalan peace movement. His current project, "Tree Range Chicken", elegantly achieves values of soil health, animal dignity, worker quality of life, nutritional quality with a holistic understanding of success. The enterprise goes beyond a single farm, but envisions a collective web of farms and processors.

My natural skepticism didn't prevent me from attending a follow up session, where Marroquin provided greater depth around some of the themes he'd touched with in the Keynote, as well as much greater detail around "Tree Range Chicken".

I hope to present a more detailed in-person follow up at talks this spring!

 From the mundane (e.g., how a farm manages their cold storage inventory) to the lofty (e.g., how we recognize our place on the planet to improve nutrient density in the food we produce).

sessions I attended:

  • No-Sweat Marketing: Create a Realistic & Effective Plan Today / Plants as medicine

  • High Tunnel Systems for Diversified Crop Production / How Specialty Tree Crops Can Help Restore Mutualism With Forests

  • Winter Market Gardening: Advanced Session

  • Harvesting Techniques for Small to Medium-Scale Vegetable Farms

  • Cover Crops & the Soil Food Web: Building Soil Through Biology

  • Seeds: Optimizing your systems

  • Compost Tea: Brew and Use Liquid Compost Amendments With Confidence

  • Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture Systems Design & Deployment

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