The Song of the Lark by Jules Breton, at the Art Institute of Chicago

Two years ago, the SOSP board officially formed. We coalesced around our desire to extend the sense of community, camaraderie, inspiration, and intellectual curiosity that characterize the Student Organic Seed Symposium beyond the annual event. The goal was to maintain the momentum of SOSS as attendees left studenthood and became organic seed professionals.

Beyond that shared sense of what we wanted to accomplish, the road forward for SOSP was anything but clear. In order to sustain aligned action, we needed to clarify our vision, mission and scope. So, we engaged the services of a strategic planner beginning in May 2017. The process took a full year, but we came away with a powerful roadmap for the goals we want to accomplish, the values we want to embody, the distractions we intend to avoid and the interpersonal norms we want to establish among the SOSP leadership and membership.

There were many steps to the strategic planning process, beginning with a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, progressing through a creative visioning and mission-crafting process, cresting with a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and wrapping up with a distillation of priority objectives, short term goals, and immediate tasks. As part of our initial visioning experience at the AIC, we each had to select a piece of artwork that we would want to hang in the front hall of SOSP’s someday office. In describing why we picked each piece, we began to create a vocabulary for our vision for SOSP. Serendipitously, two members of the strategic planning team picked the same artwork: The Song of the Lark. Something about it made us feel that the woman in the picture- feet firmly on the ground, farm implement in hand, face lifted to a moment of spontaneous wonder- might as well have been one of the organic seed leaders we aspire to emulate.

The SOSP board will continue to follow our strategic plan. One of the outstanding tasks is to elect a board development chair, to ensure that we have an active pipeline of new board members ready to keep the SOSP leadership vibrant. For more information on the mission and programs of SOSP, please see the About and Member Benefits pages. And, if you’re interested in joining the board (great! excellent idea!) please email