Attending the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture's (PASA) 2016 Farming for the Future Conference made me feel a lot of things. And I was expecting to feel a multitude of positive emotions. It was absolutely incredible. Yet there was one sensation that resulted from the conference that I didn't expect to feel:
Does this mean you should never attend a PASA conference and immediately dissociate with the organization?
NO. Kind of the opposite, actually.
The inadequacy was felt because a majority of the PASA conference attendees (vendors, presenters, and organizers included) live, eat and breath agriculture in one way or another. A lot of them have been in the game for many, many, MANY years. On the "front line" if you will. There were fascinating people around every corner swapping innovative knowledge and sharing captivating stories.
These people, they never fall short of passionate.
They withstand trying day after trying day.
And they have to. Because they are saving the world as we know it.
As a one-woman operation, Against The Grain does what it can to support farmers, artisans and small businesses alike. Yet, when I walked away from PASA 2016, I knew there was more that could be done. If there's more that Against The Grain can do, there's more that many of us can do.
It starts by simply educating yourself. Some might do that by rolling up their sleeves and digging their hands in the dirt. Others may read a book. Any way is fine, as long as you find a credible resource and use it for the greater good. Integrate sustainable agriculture into your life in some way. That does NOT mean that we all have to immediately write a giant check for a sustainable agriculture organization (but by all means, if you're into it...).
There are over 300 million people in the United States alone, so if most of us can be doing a little bit more, it's going to add up. Gosh, even if it starts with some of us doing more, it will make a difference.
Not just a difference in your health.
Not just a difference in your mood.
Not just a difference in your personal realm.
It will make a difference in everyone's future.
Feel free to start learning here and find your best fit in time. It will be the most rewarding thing you ever do. And don't worry if a sense of inadequacy pops up at some point. Just know that your contributions matter — big or small.