You guys have heard me talk about Organic Valley a bit on my site and a lot on my social media accounts. The truth is, I love them. I love them a lot more now after visiting them in Wisconsin for the Organic Connection: An UnSymposium. I didn’t even know that UnSymposiums existed but Organic Valley (OV) opened my eyes to this life!
Traveling to Wisconsin
When I arrived to Wisconsin on Monday, I had a couple hours to myself to get my life together. Traveling from Atlanta I normally don’t have too many layovers but I had a major one in Minneapolis. Brief side note: the Minneapolis airport is pretty amazing. It’s massive and it has an amazing bookstore in there that I could have spent hours in. But if someone offers you a ride on one of their golf carts, take it. Seriously.
Now I’ve never been to Wisconsin before and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. With racial tensions being what they are in the world today, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that I was nervous about it. While my experience in Wisconsin was great, I could use one hand to count how many people looked like me the entire time I was there.
The Organic Connection: An Unsymposium
I had no idea what to expect. I’d already stressed my husband out over what to wear for each agenda item but I really was clueless on what to be prepared for. Our first night there we had a really casual panel discussion that included the CEO of OV. Guys. The panelists themselves were really amazing. We spoke with George Siemon, the CEO, Theresa Marquez (we met at ShiftCon this year so I was really excited to see her), and Jerome McGeorge who was the first CFO.
Not only was the panel hilarious with their anecdotes but they were filled with so much passion for what they do and why they do it. When George opened his mouth he sounded like a hippie and I immediately thought, “I’m with my people”. Theresa is a firecracker filled with passion and fight. Jerome looks like a wizard and had so much wisdom to share. As if that weren’t enough, we were paired up with other speakers and attendees to get to know each other.
I felt at home. I know that’s crazy but when you’re surrounded by people who are even more passionate than you about saving our future through food and the positive treatment of our environment you can’t help but feel, well, at home.
My apprehension was gone. I was ready to learn. The first part of the day we spent inside the OV building. We talked about all things organic, why they matter and more. I thought I was going to be lost because I’m a city girl living a make pretend farm life in my head but they broke down the codependent relationship of grazing cows to the health of a pasture in such an easy to digest way I felt like I was grass-fed (inside joke, ha!). But this information was timed perfectly because we got a chance to go out to a certified organic and grass-fed farm to take a look at their cows.
The cows loved me. Seriously. One came up and even requested a #cowfie. I loved seeing the cows up close and personal. I’d recently learned that cows are some of the easiest to train animals and it this was something I was able to see in real life. And these cows had personality too! On the farm we visited there were multiple babies that were too cute. Learning about the breeding process was interesting as well.
After we hung out with the cows, a local restaurant catered a dinner for us with local goodies. I even tried ghost pepper sausage and lived to tell about it! Ha!
For the bulk of this day we talked about shopping and how to be a mindful shopper. There are so many labels on foods that are advertising their supposed health benefits for us that it’s hard to figure out what we should be paying attention to. This was something that we went over in detail and that I’m excited to share with you in some follow up posts. We also talked about the information and connections we gained from being part of the UnSymposium–which were a lot.
This is a pretty vague post about the UnSymposium and that’s on purpose. I’ve mapped out a series of posts that will fill you guys on in all the learning I did and then some. I left feeling empowered and ready to share with you guys so that we can all be living healthier lives with intention so just stick with me on that. wink wink