Some conferences specialize in having a small number of workshops with big audience sizes. The MHG&MC specializes in having a large number of workshops (and panels) with smaller group sizes so that more people get to talk and share. More interactive. MHG&MC will have plenary speakers and big workshops, but it will also have lots of small workshops.
Many herb conferences are about education of uses of medicinal herbs (which is perfectly fine and good). The MHG&MC aims to build action alliances to get things done and serve the participants and the industry/movement as a whole. In a way, we could say the MHG&MC is about healing the economic system around herbal medicine. Hence the emphasis on panels and action planning sessions. We are here to do things that will benefit the herbal movement for years to come.
For the sake of this conference we have divided up the herb farmers into 3 sizes.
Large-scale farming is over 25 acres in crop production.
Medium-scale farming is 5 to 25 acres.
Small-scale farming is less than 5 acres.
Cottage-industry herb growers usually grow on less than one acre, sometimes quite small.
Farms: Most farmers grow and sell bulk herbs into the marketplace. Generally they sell to wholesalers, brokers, manufacturers, retail stores. There are middle-men involved.
Cottage-industry herb growers make products or value add what they grow and usually sell them direct to the consumer.
Community-supported herbalism (CSH) usually means the grower adds value and delivers directly to a set group of people who support the grower financially. There is a direct, long-term relationship. It is a specific marketing system.
Now it is possible that a person could do all of the above. A person could farm and sell into the commodity market, make and sell value-added products and also run a CSH on the side. It is common for organic vegetable farms do all three.
The idea of consolidating tracks mainly relates to panels. The individual workshops will attract the people who most resonate with the topic. Even though I might agree with the idea of consolidating the Small-scale farming and Cottage Industry opening panel, I still would like to offer all the workshops on our current list and more. It is valuable to have workshops on CSH marketing. It’s valuable to have workshops applicable to cottage industry growing. It is valuable to have workshops applicable to people who are growing acres of crops.
We are creating long-term strategy. The saying comes to mind: “If we don’t all hang together, we will all hang separately.” So there is a political aspect as well as exchanging lots of information on how to grow and market medicinal plants. I love the term and concept of CCH “Community-Centered Herbalism" that Eaglesong mentions. I think it is a component of what I am including in my definition of Radical Herbology.