Anyone who gardens or farms is thinking about what to plant come spring, and the conferences are ready to help.
‘Sustainable’ not on menu. The Topeka Farm Show is coming up next week (Jan. 8-10) 20 miles to the west. If I have time, I might go take a look around, but the exhibitors list (PDF) underscores how capital-intensive today’s farms are. The 17-page list makes no mention of labor, fruits, vegetables, sustainability (although conservation appears a time or two), organic and so on, even though Topeka is in the heart of the Kaw River Valley where other than row crops can and do flourish (currently on a small scale). An aside: I just found the Kansas River Valley Foods web site. I’ll tell you more about it once I find out. Should be a good year for the dealers, given the high prices for commodities this year.
Vegetables aren’t forgotten. At the end of the week, Jan. 11-12, anyone frustrated by the lack of truck farming information at the Topeka Farm Show can head about 50 miles northeast of here to St. Joseph, Mo. for the Great Plains Vegetable Growers Conference. Organic farming and cut flower growing will get special attention.
Sustainability on tap here. In March, and 40 miles to the east, the sustainable crowd will meet at the 20th SARE National Conference. That’s SARE as in Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. Looks like they’ve got an interesting lineup of speakers. At this stage, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to go, but I’ll try. (If anybody knows anyone who’d like to pay me to do some reporting there, let me know!) You can tell this is the research crowd, though, as most farmers have made their planting plans by March.
XXXL products follow the fat. All those supersize meals have made great new business opportunities—for supersize clothes and furniture (registration required).
Local Burger gets virtual ink. Lawrence’s Local Burger gets the Ethicurean treatment, thanks to yours truly.