Follow us on TwitterJoin us on FacebookFollow us on Instagram

Pre-Conference Program


January 12 Pre-Conference Workshops

Morning Session (9:00am - 11:30am)

So, You're Serious about this Farm Thing: Finding, Financing, and Leasing Land Learn about several regional programs that help the next generation of farmers gain access to farmland, including state-owned land. (Sarah Campbell, FSA; Keith Wills, Farm Credit; Sally Dodge & Dale Guldbrandsen, Iroquois Valley Farms; Peter Morrill, MD Department of Natural Resources)

Write an Amazing Grazing Plan!  Learn how to assess your forages and match them to your livestock needs, which tools to use, how to plan your paddocks, and sharpen your recordkeeping. This workshop will give farmers guidelines for writing or updating their own grazing plan with tips for adjusting to the changing needs of their operation. (Lee Rinehart, NSAC- ATTRA)

There's (Food) Safety in Numbers: Group GAP Basics Many market outlets require food safety certification, but compliance is difficult for many farmers. Group GAP can provide a solution. Learn what might work for you. (Lindsay Gilmour & Trish Tripp, GAP Food Safety Educators) *One-on-One GAP Consulting available in the afternoon. Scroll to end for more details .

Make Your Farm Brand Go Viral  Gone are the days when we can rely on word of mouth to spread the word about our businesses. Learn the fundamentals of creating a solid strategic marketing plan, developing your social media marketing, and the art of telling your farm story. (Kelly Pace Stegman, Pace & Love Marketing, Liz Reitzig, Ema & Tim Hegberg)

Cold Storage Hack: Super-Insulate with Straw Bales Learn how to build your own super energy efficient cold storage space using straw bale insulation and waterproof natural plasters. This ancient technique has worked for many modern storage structures. (Sigi Koko, Down to Earth Design)



11:30 - 1:30

Bring your own lunch, visit a food truck, or dine at The Commons Restaurant on-site.


Afternoon Session (1:30pm - 4:00pm)

Market Scoper: Which Market is Right For You? From CSAs to schools, farmers markets to home delivery -- have you explored all your market options? Hear reps from these markets and others spell out the pros and cons so you can scope out what markets are right for you!(Moderator: Dena Leibman, Future Harvest CASA).

The Kimchi & Kombucha Kitchen Step into the Marriott kitchen to learn firsthand how to make kimchi and kombucha with ingredients you have grown, wild-crafted, or sourced locally. You will learn fermentation and herb-drying methods and leave with a kombucha culture and jar of kimchi you made. All materials provided. (Shane & Meaghan Carpenter, HEX Ferments)

Farming The Forest   How do you farm a forest? What opporunties exist among the trees? Join us for a hand-on workshop on how to grow some forest "crops" -- ginseng, golden seal, and others -- with an overview of forest farming concepts, potential markets, value-added products, policies, and more. (John Munsell & Holly Chittum, Virginia Tech)

Beekeeping 101  What crops do better with managed pollination? Will you see an increase in your quality and yields? How do you farm with bees? Learn the basics of beekeeping and the pollination needs of various fruit, nuts, and vegetables grown in the Mid-Atlantic region.   (Robert Borkowski, B & B Apiaries, LLC & Lindsay Barranco)

Tractor Tinker: Basic Maintenance and Tractor How-To's: Join Rick Hood and one of his tractors for a hands-on session on changing oil, lubing tractor innards, and bleeding your fuel system. Rick will also cover how to shop for a tractor for your operation. (Rick Hood, Summer Creek Farm) **Limit 15 attendees. To reserve, go HERE (scroll to end of tickets).


Pre-Conference SPECIAL Workshops

Free Stand-Alone Afternoon Sessions 

(1:30pm - 4:00pm)


FREE: WIC & SNAP Certification Session

The FMNP (Farmers Market Nutrition Program) is a win-win-win: It provides fresh local produce to low-income participants, encourages customer participation at Maryland farmers markets, and puts extra income into the pockets of authorized FMNP farmers. Farmers who wish to enter the FMNP program must attend a one-hour training, sign the application agreement, and agree to abide by all program rules. Farmers may also sign up to accept DC FMNP checks if they sell at markets in the District of Columbia.

The FMNP training held at the conference is free and will be a dual MD/DC training. 

Training led by Shelby Watson, MDA & Sabrina Lewis, DOH

Sign up for this workshop HERE

(*Scroll to the Bottom of Tickets and Select "WIC/SNAP Training" Ticket)


One-on-One GAP Consulting

Bring Your GAP Food Safety questions to the experts! Gather in an informal session and bring your questions and concerns to GAP experts who will help walk you through your plan and get you on the right track!

 Consulting led by Lindsay Gilmour & Trish Tripp, GAP Food Safety Educators

Sign up for this workshop HERE

(*Scroll to the Bottom of Tickets and Select "GAP One-on-One Consulting" Ticket)