S.A.R.E 2008

SARE’s 20th Anniversary New American Farm Conference 2008 this year was held at Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, MO.

What does SARE stand for?  It stands for Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. sare8

They provide funding of various types for farmer rancher grants to university research, all with an educational component which is very important.

It is through education which will help each and every one of us to make better educated choices and to expose options of opportunity that will have a very large positive impact in a world of so much change. A must visit: www.sare.org

I was invited this year by the north central region of SARE to be a poster presenter at the conference and I was to talk about my farmer rancher grant that I had received from SARE in 2003. Through this grant I was able to plant 40 trees in order to reestablish a wind break to protect my mint crop from wind erosion. How bad can wind be? Take away all the trees and see for yourself!

I had replanted this particular area three times with hope, time and money and I can say the disappointment and frustration was challenging. The added benefits from these trees, not only wind protection, but improvement for different kinds of wild life, and, if you’re into esthetics, these trees were something to be enjoyed year round. Although mint is a perennial crop and much research has been done into the cultivation of mint, each producer has his own challenges in maintaining his mint crop due to climate change and geographical location.

I arrived in Kansas City march 24th, a day before the conference was to start. I had no expectation and no idea what was going to happen. I had been to other conferences but had found it more of a chore to be there. Now I was already thinking of what I should be doing back at the farm. So here I am in Kansas, I settled in, did some scouting, found the area I was to set up and double checked my time that I was to talk about my project. I diligently went through my paperwork to look at topics of interest and scheduling. This was when it started to sink in: it was as if a light had been turned on. 99% of all the topics to be discussed I had great interest in, so how to decide what do first? Just a sample of many topics covered were: renewable energy, brew your own biofuel, trees and farms, tapping organic markets, green house design, keeping the farm the farm and so on.

People of all walks of Life began to filter into the conference center and the amount of people added up to about 800!  From all over the country they gathered together in one location with similar causes but with the exact same belief to make this world a better place to live. I talked with and met so many different people it was almost overwhelming for me, this was just something I had never experienced.

I will be the first to admit to who ever are reading my words right now, if I was asked to describe what I liked about the SARE conference, I truly feel I could not find the words in my limited vocabulary that would do justice to these people who are behind the SARE program, for what they give to participants and exhibitors is incredible. We all have our own way of evaluating and one thing I have learned is to be a good listener and pay attention and openly admit I had to consciously tell myself to shut up and listen to what this person has to say, I was just excited, plain and simple.

Personally for me this experience validated my beliefs and my ides of sustainability, recycle reuse and greener way of doing things.

Most importantly, I wasn’t crazy! As so many people like to willingly share their judgment of how others should live, there will always be those who just won’t get it and that’s ok because we will continue to learn and educate each other so we can have the information when it becomes to that time of question (there has to be a better way of living).

During the conference I had the opportunity to talk with and listen to some of the exhibitors and the key is listening to the folks behind scene. Two groups that stood out to me are Oregon Tilth, a must visit: www.tilth.org and Moses (Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service, Inc) a must visit also: www.mosesorganic.org

I spoke with Andrew Rodman Editor of Oregon Tilth and I asked him what the challenge are of being the editor of such important organization. He replied having to go through a blizzard of important information and making the decision what to write about because it all has such great value.

From everything I have seen and listened to, these two organizations are going to be pivotal in future education as the Organic industry grows.

Among the participants on farmer rancher side of things, I found nothing but good people making a positive difference and the willingness to share there experience of success and vision of improvement. One such person was Tom Sibbernse of Iowa Coffee Company, you must visit www.info@iowacoffeecompany.com. He is looking at farm sustainability and diversification.

I encourage you to visit the web links I have offered for just a wealth of information about just about any green project you could be thinking about.

Just one more important link for you to add to your online library,  www.afsic@nal.usda.gov (afsic).  Which stands for alternative farming system information center.


The key note speakers for the conference were outstanding, inspirational and educational. I could connect with their passion very easily. This whole event was real with real people that cared they just had a great story and they are deserving of recognition.

Owusu Bandale; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in Universities. How far we have come, a vision of the future.

Jerry R Dewitt; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in Field Innovations for farm and ranch.

Judy Gifford; outreach Steering committee and sits on the northeast SARE administrative council.

Karl Kupers; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in our communities Food, health and people.

Bryant Terry; advancing the frontier of Sustainable Agriculture in our Leadership, cultivating the next generation.

Margaret Krome; policy program director for Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in east Troy, Wisconsin.

So all in all, the three days went by so quickly with a lot of deep conversations lasting into early morning hours, and I was so thankful to have this experience and wished I could have had just one more day. Thus, the only disappointment I had was leaving, but as reality would have it, all good things do not come to an end but will continue to grow through friendships that were created in that short amount of time from a common bond of to be of service.

Up to this point I had been the sharer to the masses, offering myself and experience following a dream of being a participator and contributor to something greater than myself.

I am not quite sure how to explain it so that it will make any sense but it’s when you believe in something so strongly you are willing to take that risk of putting yourself out there in front of people with the hope you do some good. This is what I found at the SARE conference, and this is what found in the individuals that attended the conference. You never know exactly the good that will become of your efforts in sharing. It may inspire, give an idea or a solution to a challenge you are facing. You just never know!

Among the many things I had learned from the conference the information is there and being added to everyday from people who care about people and the environment in which we all live. I firmly believe that any organization will only be as good as the people behind it. This and time will dictate the success or failure. However, if we truly believe in our direction, our cause, then quitting will never be an option and it is what we do today that will effect our tomorrow.




In closing I would like to give credit to my Father (James E Crosby) who was one of my strong examples of always extending his hand backward with the intent of helping people forward. And to Chief White buffalo of the long Hair Clan, Cherokee Nation (Humanitarian Chief). It was through his efforts from a small green trailer and only a telephone, White Buffalo coordinated and was directly responsible for the feeding of over one million people on multiple continents.

 Both passed in 2005 one day after each other, and they are my examples of what can be accomplished with giving and to be of Service. You are truly missed!

To the folks of SARE National and North Central I am deeply grateful for the experience of the conference and finding my Windbreak grant project worthy of recognition and allowing me to share the project. sare3

To the following individuals whom I had the honor of meeting and listening and learning from.

R Edmond Gomez, Assistant Department Head, Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture & Home Economics, NM State University.

Juan Marinez, MSU Federal Liaison, Michigan State University Extension.

Professor George S Abawi, Department of plant Pathology, Cornell, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station.

M.J. IBRAHIM, PH.D., Farm Safety, Energy & Environmental Specialist, North Carolina Agricultural and technical State University.

Michael T Keilty, Sustainable Agriculture, University of Connecticut.

Joshua Idassi, PH.D., Extension Assistant Professor, Forestry Cooperative Extension Program, Tennessee State University, Nashville.

Joan Beckman, Coordinator, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture, K-State research and Extension, Kansas State University.

Ernest Wusstig, Pacific Rim Association District’s, Guam.

Joan Benjamin, Associate Regional Coordinator NCR-SARE

Bill Wilcke, Regional Coordinator NCR-SARE

Oregon Tilth

Andrew Rodman

Dave Engel

Heather Smith

Jessica Tupa


Tom Sibbernsen

Iowa Coffee Company

It is with intent I live my life,

Embrace your dreams and find change exciting

To All My Very Best


Preserving the past envisioning the future



~ by peppermintjim on March 31, 2009.

2 Responses to “S.A.R.E 2008”

  1. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. Very very interesting post..I like this one. gotta bookmark this one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: