ST. PAUL — The Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference—the only national conference that brings together farmers, educators, food system activists, and other women in sustainable agriculture—takes place this October in St. Paul, Minnesota. The event features workshops, demonstrations, and meetings on leadership, empowerment, and farm business success.
Known as the WISA Conference, this is a collaborative event that has been put on by various organizations around the country over the past 15 years. The Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) hosts this 6th WISA Conference, bringing the event to the Midwest for the first time. About 350 women are expected to attend.
The WISA Conference takes place Oct. 17-19, 2019 at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront hotel in downtown St. Paul. Tickets are $240 for Thursday evening through Saturday, or $160 for a single day. The full agenda and ticket information are online at mosesorganic.org/wisa-conference.
“This conference offers a diverse agenda focused on powerful peer-to-peer learning to build on the work women are doing to encourage sustainability within the food system,” said Lauren Langworthy, Interim Executive Director at MOSES. Presenters come from the rich network of women working locally as well as nationally to support sustainable agriculture.
The event opens with four add-on intensive classes: Regenerative Farm Design, Resilient Bodies & Minds, Opportunities & Community for Women in Livestock, and Plate to Politics: Storytelling to Create Change. Each class includes an afternoon tour at a related farm or business in the Twin Cities. The intensives cost $150, with capacity for 50 participants in each class.
Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) has partnered with MOSES to offer the “Plate to Politics” intensive and track of workshops focused on developing women’s leadership skills for roles in local, state, and national politics.
“So much of our work at WFAN focuses on encouraging women to speak up and to speak out, to take on leadership positions within their communities, and to join foundational conversations to create change within the food system,” said Sherri Dugger of WFAN. The WISA Conference gives female farmers, food producers, advocates, and activists a chance to “reflect on and share the good work they do, and to find inspiration and renewed energy from a wonderful community of smart, powerful, and respected women,” Dugger added.
In addition to workshops, the conference offers smaller breakouts on specific topics to give participants the chance to connect and explore interests and potential collaborations. The event also includes an exhibit area with local resources related to sustainable farming and a bookstore with titles focused on farming and food system issues.
MOSES is a nonprofit organization that promotes organic and sustainable agriculture by providing education, resources, and practical advice to help farmers succeed.
— Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service