Michigan Organic Conference at ANR Week in East Lansing

The annual Agriculture and Natural Resources Week at Michigan State University draws thousands of attendees and a large number of organizations for workshops and conferences each March. In 2006 an adapted What Will Be in the Fields Tomorrow? was presented following the key-note as the kick-off evening for the Michigan Organic Conference. Organizer George Bird, entomology professor long involved with MSU’s Organic Farm, took on adapting and “slightly reorganizing” the script for a presentation by a smaller cast that he hand-picked as the “real thing”. These were doctorial. students, themselves Hispanic and Black, with appropriate agricultural experiences that fit the parts. George reduced the piece to six characters and adapted language to fit the gender and experience of the readers.

Fifty-two percent of the 60 member audience returned written surveys. Seventy-eight percent were interested in all parts of the reading and offered specific ideas and suggestions. Eighty-one percent believed it a useful tool for education.

Comments included:

 “Great to finally have discussions about the changes that are happening in agriculture. I find it especially disturbing that there are very few people in the ‘next generation’ staying on the farm!”

. . . ideas of particular interest. . .
“Bertie’s ideas about keeping her farm by sharing it with others.”

. . . was effective for public education because. . .
“Presented issues in a non-threatening manner.”

“Performance has a magic that can bridge gaps in perception and make broad impacts on the audience.”


The Michigan Organic Conference is co-sponsored by

Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance

Organic Growers of Michigan

MSU Agricultural and Natural Resources Week