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Marv's Blog
Hanging out with our peers
Written by Marv Baker   
Sunday, 05 February 2012

Now that it's Sunday night, Ilene and I have another North Dakota Farmers' Market and Growers Association convention under our belt. We attended the seventh annual convention and local foods conference at the Holiday Inn in Fargo and I have to say, it was the best one I've been to yet.

There was an electricity in the air. I just felt it. As I walked through the halls, people were networking. They were talking to each other about potatoes, tomatoes, onions, lamb, grass-fed beef and the list goes on. It was an incredible feeling to know that more than 300 people across the state of North Dakota were engaged in this type of conversation.

Many of the seminars were fantastic. In fact, there was one presented by John Hendrickson from the University of Wisconsin that highlighted machinery for small farms. 

Because North Dakota is only getting started in the local foods movement and farmers' markets, many of us don't have the necessary machinery to make it go well without a lot of hand labor. Perhaps Mr. Hendrickson gave us all some good ideas.

Our annual meeting was held on Friday and it was a light turnout as usual. However, this was the most exciting election that I've attended in many years. We chose our directors for the board based on one of four quadrants they live in North Dakota. 

After that, the candidates who didn't win were placed in an at-large spot for voting. There were three. We voted and there was a tie. We voted again and the same two people tied. As presiding president, I then flipped a coin, it was called and the winner was announced. 

No hanging chads in Fargo last weekend, but an exciting election nonetheless. I told the convention Saturday morning they missed a good one.

In addition, Ilene was re-elected as treasurer and I was re-elected president so the two of us will serve one more year. But this time I want to. I can feel the excitement. 

This was a wonderful convention and I hope we can have that much fun next year. It wouldn't have been possible without the help of the staff at the Entrepreneurial Center for Horticulture and the North Dakota State Department of Agriculture. Thanks for making it a memorable one.


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