"Bloom Where You Are Planted" was the theme of the 14th annual Mid-Mo Women in Agriculture Conference, which drew a full crowd to the California First Baptist Church facility March 6.
At the morning general session, following a welcoming message, Centertown business owner Alice Longfellow spoke on the topic "Achieving Your Dreams." Longfellow, who grew up learning gardening in her family's greenhouse businesses in Maine, is a graduate of the University of Maine, Orono, Maine, where she studied plant science.
Longfellow said she wanted to work with plants, but wanted to start her own business and create her own space. After meeting her future husband at a Michigan greenhouse conference, her plans turned westward. Bob Call had also grown up in the greenhouse business, in California — D 'n' R Plants, founded by his father.
She spoke about the Longfellow's Garden Center in 1987 in Centertown. Her husband retired from his job five years later and became the manager of operations, allowing Longfellow to tend to plants and customers. The rest is history.
A lunch was served by "Sweet Chipotle Catering," Patrick Miller, executive chef/owner. Also at noon, there was vendor recognition, door prizes and games.
There were a total of eight workshop sessions presented in the afternoon.
One session, "Garden Topics - Questions and Answers" by Alice Longfellow was offered in the morning, while another, "Moniteau County's K-9 Crime Fighters Unit" by Officer Kevin Morse and Sheriff Tony Wheatley was offered in the afternoon.
The other six workshops offered were: "Beef Production" by Bruce Shanks; "Bloomin' Gardens" by Lori Fowler, Sedalia; "Risk Management 101" by Amy Roeder, AgraView LLC; "Beekeeping" by Travis Harper; "Quilts of Valor" by Kathy Shoemaker; and "Flexibility and Health" by JoAnn Cantriel, RN.
At the afternoon general session, Dr. Sally Ellebracht-Gerke, M.D., originally from Cooper County, discussed how she opened BTC Healthcare in 2012, continuing her career in medicine by devoting time to functional medicine, which emphasizes determining the basic causes of medical conditions, and using that information to seek a resolution to the problems.
Ellebracht-Gerke said she uses holistic methods of treatment for chronic medical conditions. She completed her training in family practice in 2003. She then practiced at the Clinton clinic of St. Lukes' Medical System, Kansas City, before moving back to Cooper County in 2009, practicing in Boonville.
There were many vendors on-site with a variety of information and products, both manufactured, crafts and foods.
Following the event, those present networked with each other, visited with friends and returned evaluations.