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2021 Conference Program

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Thursday, January 14th Pre-Conference Workshops

 

Owning Your Own Land: Resources and Mentorship 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Many people say that finding land is the single biggest barrier to growing the next generation of farmers. While there are many ways to go about finding and accessing land, this workshop will focus on two paths to long-term land tenure: land purchase and long-term leases, with the majority of the time spent guiding participants through the process of finding and purchasing farmland. A panel of new landowners will share and answer questions about their journeys, and give frank feedback on the various support programs available. Representatives from FSA, MARBIDCO, and Farm Credit will talk about their respective programs and answer questions. (Part I: Buying Farmland: Adrienne and Jason Granston, Cusheeba Earth Farm, VA; Ann Sutton, Deep Roots Farm, MD; Becky Seward, Red Tree Farmstead, MD; Emma Jagoz, Moon Valley Farm, MD; Bryan Alexander and Joanna Winkler, Good Dog Farm, MD; Steve McHenry, MARBIDCO; Amy Rowe, Farm Credit; Leah Peterson, Farm Loan Specialist. Part II: Long-term Leases and Preservation: Rachel Bynum and Eric Plaksin, Waterpenny Farm, VA; Michael Kane, Piedmont Environmental Council, VA)

  Online Sales Platforms Winners and Losers: Farmers' Review 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Come learn about the variety of online sales platforms available to farmers. We'll talk about which ones work well in local markets, explore best practices, and learn about legal considerations when direct marketing products. This pre-conference session includes small breakout sessions led by our farmer experts so you can share your experiences, too. Considering Harvie? Feeling comfortable with your DIY setup? Not sure whether to use Weebly, Square, or Squarespace? This is the session for you! (Andrea Davis-Cetina, Quarter Acre Farm, MD; Mary Ackley, Little Wild Things Farm, DC; Sarah Rider, Flying Plow Farm, MD; Sarah Everhart, UMD-ALEI; Nick Stavely, Derel Farmer, and Pierre Grahn, FRESHFARM Markets.
  Predator Protection for Livestock and Poultry 1:00 - 4:00 pm Learn from renowned predator protection expert and author Jan Dohner about how to keep your livestock and poultry safe from large and small predators, roaming dogs, and birds of prey. The first portion of the workshop will cover how to perform an assessment of potential threats, identify predator damage, and use practical prevention strategies such as predator-proof fencing, livestock guardians, secure housing, good husbandry, and fright techniques. The remainder of the workshop will delve deeper into the fundamentals of using guardian animals, including information about the pros and cons of using llamas, donkeys, and dogs, how to choose the right animal for your farm, and basic care. We will also cover typical training or troubleshooting issues and discuss the use of livestock guardian dogs with poultry. (Jan Dohner, Expert and Author) 
 

Stronger Together: Cooperative Farming Models 1:00 - 4:00 pm Farmer cooperatives are nothing new, but the recent explosion of interest in all manner of cooperative models is. More small-scale farmers are banding together to gain greater market access and compete with larger operations. Cooperative models range from informal collaborative marketing, multi-farm CSAs, shared accountants and expertise, and bulk ordering all the way to legally structured, worker-owned business entities. Hear from experts in the field who will give an overview of the various forms of co-ops that are best suited for farming. A panel of farmers will present a broad range of models. Attendees will meet other farmers and producers in the region interested in collaborating. (Dom Hosack, EarthBound Building and Climate Justice Alliance Regenerative Finance Fellow. Panelists Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Blain Snipstal, EarthBound Building, MD; Chris Newman, Sylvanaqua Farm, VA; Hana Newcomb, Potomac Vegetable Farms, VA; Tahz Walker, Earthseed Land Co-op and Tierra Negra Farm, NC. Financial and legal expertise from BRED and Parag Khandhar, Gilmore & Kandhar.

Friday Opening Keynote : 9:00 am - 9:45 am

Tope Fajingbesi: Dodo Farms, Author, UMD-Institute of Applied Agriculture Lecturer, and CPA 

Growing A New World

Agriculture is often viewed simply as an economic activity. To millions of people and communities around the world, agriculture has been, is, and will continue to mean, so much more. Through stories and historical examples, Tope will speak about the critical role farming has played in healing, growing humans, shaping culture, and helping communities overcome adversity, and call on all of us to rise up and explore ways we can use farming to heal our communities during this difficult time in US history.

 

Friday, January 15th Sessions

Session I : 10:00 am - 11:00 am

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
Part- to Full-Time Farming: Can You Make It Work? With a whole lot of hard work, personal savings, and a little bit of luck, Meghan Ochal and Erik de Guzman of Dicot Farm scaled, over six years, their 1/3-acre hobby farm into a full-time, both-employed, two-acre operation complete with infrastructure, seasonal employees, and robust sales outlets. Hear how their long-term plan, decision-making process, adjustments, pivots, business planning, leveraging of non-farm sources of income, and flexibility helped them on the ever-evolving and challenging farming journey. (Meghan Ochal and Erik de Guzman, Dicot Farm, MD) 

TRACK2

Business Of Farming
Challenges When Transitioning to Organic: A Grain Case Study Transitioning to organic grain production is no easy feat. The 3-year process involves a shift in management practices, equipment, markets, and short-term financial expectations. Join the Great Grains Project team members to learn more about their research trials (and tribulations) as they attempt to find the most profitable and soil health building rotation during the transition phase. For those interested in local edible grains and familiar with market outlets, specifically for corn and sorghum, we invite you to join the discussion as the team looks for new varieties to add into local grain rotations! (Dr. Ray Weil, Professor of Soils, Environmental Science and Technology Department, UMD; Aaron Cooper, Cutfresh Organics, MD; Dave Cavanaugh, San Sanino Farm, MD; Ian Hertzmark, Migrash Farm, MD; Dr. Nazirahk Amen, Purple Mountain Organics, MD) 

TRACK3

Crop Production

Weed Control: The Right Tool For the Right Job This panel will delve into weed control on two farms. Hana Newcomb, co-owner and general manager of Potomac Vegetable Farms in Vienna and Purcellville, VA, will discuss mechanical cultivation. The farm has been growing produce "eco-ganically" for more than 50 years. They have tractor implements for a Farmall B, a Farmall Cub, and one Tilmor. Hana will share her experience plus lessons learned in adapting basket weeders, finger weeders, a Williams tool system, bushhog, and Perfecta among other implements into their regular use for organic weed control. Josh Volk of Slow Hand Farm in Oregon will discuss hand tool cultivation. He'll share the list of tools he uses to keep his hand-scale farm cultivated along with how to best use each tool and how they fit into his larger system of weed control on the farm. (Hana Newcomb, Potomac Vegetable Farms, VA; Josh Volk, Slow Hand Farm, OR)

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy

Resilient, Crisis-Ready (RCR) Chesapeake Food System How can we create a regional food system that is more resilient and crisis-ready than what we experienced during this pandemic? That question is at the heart of the new Resilient, Crisis-Ready (RCR) Project, which is creating an open source, available-to-all "RCR" action plan for addressing ill-suited infrastructure, skilled labor shortages, systemic racism, and other obstacles faced by farmers and other actors along the seed-to-stomach supply chain. This session will share results to date of our RCR survey, where farmers and other stakeholders laid out their ideas of necessary changes to our food system. Come ready to listen, learn, and share. (Dena Leibman, Future Harvest Executive Director, and guests)

TRACK5

Grassfed: 
Meat & Dairy

What You REALLY Need to Know About Electric Fences Electric fencing can be a big investment, especially when you don't know exactly what you need! Join Brad Shaw of Pasture Management Systems to learn how to choose between semi-permanent, temporary, and portable systems, posts, reels, netting, and how your wire selection affects your energizer choices. More than 50% of grounding systems are inadequate, so this workshop will also discuss proper grounding procedures and the how-to's of testing. (Brad Shaw, Independent Farm Consultant, TN)

TRACK6

Regenerative Agriculture

Cover Cropping and Reducing Tillage Within Annual Vegetable Production As vegetable farmers, we often spend lots of time planning and nurturing our cash crops because that is what pays the bills. If similar attention is paid to integrating a robust cover crop plan within our rotation, it can greatly benefit the soil health, overall productivity, and long-term income of your farm. We'll discuss cover crop basics, including regionally appropriate species, mixes and timing, rates for seeding, and how to establish and terminate crops at various scales. This workshop will also discuss specific experiences with no-till seeding and planting of vegetable and subsequent cover crops into winter-killed or roller-crimped cover crops. (Casey Gustowarow, VA)

 

Friday, January 15th Sessions

Session II : 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
Herbal Self-Care for Farmers We are skilled at growing fruits and vegetables, but do we know about or use the cultivated and wild plant medicine that often surrounds us? How can we use herbal medicine and holistic healing practices to take care of ourselves as we take care of others? Join farmer and herbalist Violet King of the DC Herbal Mutual Aid Apothecary for a workshop and discussion around herbal self-care for the busy farmer. We will talk about the common ailments we face and ways to incorporate herbal medicine and simple habits into our routine to ensure we are nourished and thriving throughout the growing season. (Violet King, Herbalist and Farmer, DC Herbal Mutual Aid Apothecary)

TRACK2

Business Of Farming
Pickles, Potatoes, and Pesto: Bridging Customers and Farmers During COVID Over the course of a few weeks in spring 2020, Number 1 Sons transformed its business from primarily selling pickles and ferments at farmers markets into a DC home delivery service for their own wares plus products from local farmers and producers. Throughout the year they adjusted their model to meet the needs of their own business, farm and producer partners, and customers. This session will feature Number 1 Sons owners, local farm partners, and other producers sharing how they started and improved the new business model. They'll share tips for other businesses and producers interested in collaborating, whether in response to COVID or just because it makes sense! (Caitlin Roberts, Number 1 Sons, VA; Stacey Carlberg, The Farm at Sunnyside, VA; Meghan Ochal, Dicot Farm, MD)

TRACK3

Crop Production

Record Keeping and Crop Planning with Josh Volk from Slow Hand Farm Josh Volk refers to Slow Hand Farm as "a one-man operation run by him." How does he have time to farm solo, market, and consult? Careful record-keeping and planning! Josh will share his tips for integrating both into day-to-day work on the farm and how to make the most of your records once you're saving and organizing them. With examples from his own farm, participants will see how records inform everything from weekly priority planning during the season to longer-term marketing and production plans. (Josh Volk, Slow Hand Farm, OR

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy

Leveraging Our Local Food Supply: Montgomery County Maryland's Farm to Food Bank Program In response to increased food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, the Montgomery County Farm to Food Bank Program was established through a public-private partnership between the Food Security Task Force, Montgomery County Food Council, Manna Food Center, Montgomery County Office of Agriculture, and the Greater Washington Community Foundation to provide produce to food assistance recipients in Montgomery County, while supporting Montgomery County farmers and promoting a sustainable and resilient local food supply for 2020-2021 and beyond. Learn about each of the organizations and farms involved in this program, and strategies that can be leveraged to implement similar initiatives throughout the region, such as developing creative partnerships within local government agencies and the local food system, securing funding, and collecting data. (Catherine Nardi, Montgomery County Food Council; Jenna Umbriac, Manna Food Center; Jeremy Criss, Montgomery County Office of Agriculture; Tom Farquhar, Sandy Spring Gardens; Tanya Doka Spandhla, Passion to Seed Gardening)

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy

Key Tips for Raising Small Ruminants Naturally Raising sheep and goats can be challenging, particularly in terms of health. Small ruminants are susceptible to internal parasites, hoof problems like rot and scald, and a host of bacteria and viruses. With careful breeding stock selection, biosecurity, routine hoof care, attention to nutrition, and a few basic management strategies, you can raise them naturally and prevent a lot of problems. Renard Turner will share his key tips for raising healthy and happy small ruminants for meat on pasture. (Renard Turner, Vanguard Ranch, VA)

TRACK6

Regenerative Agriculture
The Million Acre Challenge (MAC) Presents: The Dollars and Sense of Soil Health Of course soil health matters! We know you know that. But, how do you manage it while juggling everything else? More importantly, how is it going to impact your bottom line? In this session, learn from three top-notch farmers from across the country who are making soil health work on their farms. They will offer insights into organic, no-till grain farming, specialty crop production within a farm collective, and livestock for food and fiber. Together, in this moderated panel session, we'll delve into the dollars and sense of soil health. The MAC presents this compelling line-up of panelists as part of its ongoing soil health programming. A new, collaborative project helping Maryland farmers build soil health, increase farm profitability, and improve water quality while making farms resilient and active in the face of climate change, the MAC is farmer-focused and uses soil health science, economics, education, and incentives to achieve its mission. (Jill Lada, Green Things Farm Collective, MI; Keisha Cameron, High Hog Farm, GA; Rick Clark, Farm Green, IN)

 

Friday, January 15th: Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtables and Clinics

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

 

  Cultivating Conservation: Understanding Opportunities to Access Federal Conservation Programs This discussion will be an opportunity to ask about, and share your experiences participating in, federal USDA conservation programs. University of Maryland Extension agents will offer important tips on how to incorporate best management practices on your farm through voluntary and cost-share programs, and how conservation programs can fit into an overall farm plan. If you are considering implementing conservation practices on the farm or have tips to share with other farmers starting this journey, this roundtable is for you. (Sarah Hirsh and Erika Crowl, UMD Extension) 

 

  Meet a Loan Officer! If you have considered or begun the process of applying for a loan, you probably already have some questions. This roundtable discussion will be facilitated by regional loan officers from USDA-FSA and Farm Credit as well as program officers from MARBIDCO. Each one will be in a separate break out room and can help guide you through the process. This Q&A style roundtable may be most helpful to attendees who participated in the pre-conference session "Owning Your Own Land: Resources and Mentorship" but attendance is not a prerequisite. If you have experience using FSA loan programs and want to add your voice to help other farmers navigate the journey, please join us! (Joseph Scott, Farm Loan Chief; Allison Roe, MARBIDCO; Amy Rowe; Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit)

 

 

Getting to The Root of it All: Let's Talk Beets and Carrots Come learn and share tips for growing great roots! Perfect your techniques on two crops with long-term storage capacity and potential to boost your winter market sales. Sometimes understanding what didn't work is as helpful as what did! Join Lisa Duff, owner of Oak Spring Farm, and other roundtable participants to glean valuable ideas and lessons learned. (Lisa Duff, Oak Spring Farm, MD)

 

 

CSA Roundtable: Reflecting on 2020 We have a lot to discuss! We'll reflect on the year in terms of profitability, increased consumer demand for local food, and member retention. We'll talk about what kind of support CSA farmers want, equity in the marketplace, how different farms fare in the changing landscape, and what a more equitable market would look like. And we'll consider: Is the cooperative model the way to go? (Garrett Zeigler, MSU Extension, West Michigan Growers Group and CSA-Innovation Network)

 

 

White Allies Caucus Join a white allies/accomplices affinity group to do some group processing out of emerging themes. White affinity group spaces are confidential, supportive environments for white people to not only process issues and emotions without burdening BIPOC friends and colleagues, but to hold each other accountable for working towards racial justice. (Sonia Keiner and Lindsay Gilmour)

 

 

Reading Your Soil Samples and Creating Nutrient Management Plans  Bring your soil tests and questions or come and share your expertise during this roundtable discussion of all things soil. Lisa Garfield, former vegetable farmer and Million Acre Challenge Manager for Future Harvest, will be on hand to listen, help, and talk about the various ways to observe and measure soil health and advise on how to use that information to make practical management decisions on your farm. (Lisa Garfield, Future Harvest and Million Acre Challenge)

 

Friday, January 15th: Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtables and Clinics

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

 

 

It All Starts With a Seed This discussion will "peel back the veil" of the seed world by offering a behind-the-scenes explanation of organic seed development, production, and distribution. We'll cover organic variety development and product pipelines, current seed production challenges, seed availability, and offer Q&A opportunities to discuss organic varieties in depth and to hear directly from farmers about their experiences with seed companies and seed availability. (Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange; Laura Goldshein, High Mowing Seeds)

 

 

CSA Roundtable Discussion: Where is the "Movement" and How Should We Be Evolving? At this inflection point for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model, we'll consider if it is time to strengthen and develop the model more, define and redefine the "C" in CSA, and develop this marketplace equitably. Join the CSA-Innovation Network in this very important and timely discussion! (Megan Larmer, Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, NY, and CSA-Innovation Network)

 

 

Vegetable Variety Lightning Round! Rather than pine over seeds we can't buy anymore, let's talk about the ones we love that are still in the catalogues. Does they yield well? Are they gorgeous to look at? Is the flavor out of this world? Can you find organic certified seed? Join us to share about your favorites. (Mariette Hiu Newcomb, Potomac Vegetable Farms, VA; David Giusti, Second Spring CSA Farm, VA)

 

 

A Case for Reparations and Pigford Debt Cancellation: What is the Justice for Black Farmers Act All About? Recently, US Senators Booker, Warren, and Gillibrand introduced a bill that aims to end USDA discrimination and right some past wrongs. Previous attempts such as the 1999 Pigford v. Glickman class action racial discrimination lawsuit left many Black farmers with unconscionable debt, threat of forclosures, and no legal recourse to save their farms. This roundtable chat is facilitated by lawyer and policy expert Tracy Lloyd McCurty. It is recommended that participants read the bill in its entirety and study the historical background in advance (links found in the conference agenda inside the virtual event) (Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Black Belt Justice Center, Acres of Ancestry Initiative/ Black Agrarian Fund)

 

 

Finding Balance Part 1: Farming with Children Work-life balance is challenging for everyone. This chat will focus on the demands of being a working parent whether that means welcoming a newborn, balancing child care (or lack there-of!) during COVID, or keeping up with evolving needs of your children as they get older and even move out of your house but still need their adults. Join us for some real talk but also the joy and laughs. It's not all struggle! Come share and learn tips for survival. Jokes and sarcasm welcomed.

 

 

 

Fertility Management with Fertrell How much and what kind of fertilizer should you be using? When should you apply it for the best results? Does what you apply depend on the preceding crop? Find out in this discussion led by Sage Dennis from Fertrell. All participants are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge generously. (Sage Dennis, Fertrell)

 

Saturday Keynote : 9:00 am - 9:45 am

Chris Newman, Farmer, Writer, Activist. Sylvanaqua Farms

The Next Agriculture Economy

The future of farming in America faces broad, systemic challenges, including access to land, markets, and capital; processing infrastructure; distribution; farm succession; farmworker exploitation and quality of life; land-use change; and environmental degradation. Our settler/colonial culture, unfortunately, with its reverence of the individual, has largely atomized the discussion to be about farms and consumer behavior rather than systemic change. This has led to a sustainable agriculture movement that's big on cultural capital but small on impact. In this keynote, Chris will discuss an emerging design for an integrated, BIPOC-led food system in the Chesapeake Bay region that creates the necessary conditions for truly thriving farms, communities, and the environment.

 

 

Saturday, January 16th Sessions

Session III : 10:00 am - 11:00 am

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
Finding the Right Farm Job: Lessons Learned From Beginner Farmers Are you looking for a good farm job? Where do you look? How do you start? What questions should you ask during the interview? How do you make sure that your future employer can offer you a welcoming, safe space to learn and be yourself? How do you set personal and professional boundaries while still engaging in the social aspect that is such an important part of each farm? Hear from two farmers who will generously share their experiences, tips, and insight having worked for non-profit and for-profit farms in the Chesapeake region and throughout the United States. (Anita Adalja, Agri-cultura Cooperative Network, NM; S Policastro, Owls Nest Farm, MD)

TRACK2

Business Of Farming

To Scale Up or Scale Down -- That's the Question Do you know which crops are making you a profit? What you can sell more of and where to cut back? The answers to these questions are the making of a great crop plan. Dive into crop costing and tools available to see who's really paying the bills on your farm. We'll look at simple enterprise budgets, as well as a more dynamic costing tool. We'll balance that with ideas about volume, scalability, and what investments in tools might really make a difference to your cost structure. (Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit)

TRACK3

Crop Production

Hot and Bitter: Growing and Marketing Spicy Peppers and Radicchio Two of Farmer-Chef Casey's favorite crops to grow, sell, and eat. While these specialty niche crops may take a little extra care in both growing and marketing, they can be winners if you do them right. He will discuss growing practices, timing, and varieties along with information on how to market these crops to farmers market and CSA customers and value-added producers and chefs. (Casey Gustowarow, VA)

TRACK4

Environment, Policy, & Community

We're Still Here: How the Farm Alliance Used Community Resources to Help Micro-Scale Farms Survive the Pandemic This workshop will provide the narrative and process the Farm Alliance of Baltimore used to respond to the emergent needs of its 16 member-farms and six community gardens. The organization used mutual aid and leveraged philanthropic donations to respond with a 5-point program that allowed its members to not only survive but thrive through the pandemic. (Alison Worman; Denzel Mitchell, and Mariya Strauss, Farm Alliance of Baltimore) 

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy

The Economics of Small-Scale Poultry Production How much does it really cost to produce a dozen eggs? And to grow a broiler? If you want to keep your flock afloat for the long haul, these are critical financial considerations. This presentation will show you - in detail - how to calculate the feed, housing, labor, losses, processing, storage, and delivery costs under different production systems and share Excel spreadsheets for layer and broiler enterprises that will all be made available for you to use to analyze your own operation. (Dale Johnson, Agricultural Economist, UMD)

TRACK6

Regenerative Agriculture
Making Even Better Compost Compost can seem complicated, but it doesn't need to be. Learn practical and dynamic ways to approach compost without solely relying on carbon-nitrogen ratio calculations. Instead, see how to view compost in terms of hot or cold, and wet or dry. Without having to memorize numbers, you will be able to assemble a compost pile of any number of materials by relying on your own direct observation. Learn about certain kinds of compost that are better suited to specific soil types. YOU are the tool you need to build even better compost! (Stewart Lundy, Perennial Roots Farm, VA)
 

Saturday, January 16th Sessions

Session IV : 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
Irrigation Systems for the Small, Mixed Vegetable Farm Growing mixed vegetables demands different systems for adequate irrigation; identifying the appropriate system is a top priority. In this workshop, Adam Cottrell will dive into the basics of irrigation, discuss irrigation methods appropriate for different vegetable types, and cover how to develop an effective irrigation plan. (Adam Cottrell, Floating Lotus Farmstead, MD)

TRACK2

Business Of Farming

Mitigating Financial Risk in the Time of COVID-19 This workshop is a follow up to Future Harvest's Spring 2020 webinar during which Fajingbesi, a CPA and co-owner of Dodo Farms, helped farmers identify, plan for, and manage anticipated financial challenges on the horizon due to world events. Now, we will review how to identify strategies for dealing with potential loss of revenue as a result of closed channels, cost implications of additional safety procedures, and planning for uncertainties. Jenna Rodriguez participated in the spring training and will also share concrete examples of how she used these strategies during the 2020 season, and share any lessons learned to help with planning for the 2021 season. (Tope Fajingbesi, CPA; Jenna Rodriguez, Seafield Farm, VA)

TRACK3

Crop Production
Hand-Scale Cover Cropping Learn what cover crops are, how and when they grow, and which ones might work best for you. You don't need a tiller and Cindy Conner will show you how to manage them with only hand tools. Cover crops covered are cereal rye, wheat, oats, hairy vetch, winter peas, crimson clover, red clover, alfalfa, oilseed radish, cowpeas, and buckwheat. (Cindy Connor, Homeplace Earth, VA)

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy

Feeding the Fight: Black Farms, Communities, and How CSA's Can Get Political Throughout American history, Black Americans have been forced to exhibit uncanny creativity and ingenuity merely to survive. Take the modern CSA, for instance. Community Supported Agriculture, something taken for granted as a feature of a food system for the wealthy and White, actually has origins in the Black Belt South among farmers navigating the economic stranglehold of the Jim Crow economy. This session will take you through that history and into the inner workings of a unique DC-based initiative called The Black Farm CSA, designed by Black food systems leaders Violet King and Zachari Curtis of Dreaming Out Loud. Hear how it started, the challenges they face, and what they think is the potential of CSA as a tool to organize communities against structural racism and toward transformative justice. (Violet King and Zachari Curtis, Dreaming Out Loud)

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy

Lessons Learned From Adopting and Grazing Summer Annuals Growing annuals as forages can be costly. Choosing the most appropriate species, mixes, and methodology for establishment are crucially important in adaptive livestock systems. This workshop will highlight the good, bad, and ugly of what the American Farmland Trust's Sustainable Grazing Project taught us during the 2020 summer grazing season for calves, backgrounded on summer annuals and improved grazing practices. We'll discuss adapting existing infrastructure, temporary systems for more intensive management, and the economics of grazing summer annuals versus perennial cool season grasses. (Jacob Gilley, American Farmland Trust, Sustainable Grazing Project, VA) 

TRACK6

Regenerative Agriculture

Healthy Soil for Plant and Planet Small, diversified farms in the mid-Atlantic region have fed us throughout our brief history - and their numbers are growing. Joint Brent Wills as we discuss how farmers are using regenerative practices and actually building soil, providing myriad ecosystem benefits for us all, from better rainfall infiltration and reduced erosion to increasing soil carbon, mitigating many of the climate-altering methods practiced today, and all while producing foods that are healthy for us and for our communities. In this workshop, Brent will speak to the specific parameters and management techniques of biological and regenerative methods that farmers are using to get those benefits on farm while enhancing the overall ecosystem health of their communities. (Brent Wills, Wills Soil & Stream, VA)

 

Saturday, January 16th: Farmer-to Farmer Roundtables and Clinics

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

 

 

Yoga As Part of Farmer Self Care We all know that taking care of ourselves is important, but do we take time each day to put that into practice? Join this virtual session and make today be one of hopefully many.

 

 
Clinic with Farm Consultant Ellen Polishuk This small group clinic is a unique opportunity to get some of your questions answered by retired farmer now farm consultant Ellen Polishuk. The clinic is intended as a follow up to the preceding workshop, "Scale Up or Scale Down?" Space is limited. If you are unable to get into one of the scheduled meetings, you can visit Ellen's exhibitor profile to schedule a consultation with her in the season ahead. (Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit

 

 

How Much Should I Be Spending on Labor, Insurance, and Infrastructure? There are a lot of resources to help create business plans and enterprise budgets, but sometimes a spreadsheet doesn't give us all the answers. Are you curious to know how your expenses compare to other farms of similar size? Join Meredith Epstein of UMD's Institute of Applied Agriculture for a facilitated chat about the cost of staff, buildings, insurance, and more. (Meredith Epstein, University of Maryland, IAA

 

 

Black Farmer Facilitated Roundtable Part 1 of 2: RETURN - Iteration and Imagination This is a visioning space for Black farmers and growers to create tools and rituals of rootedness and re-imagining, as we envision what thriving and togetherness looks like in the space that we are navigating. Our Ancestors have been here before.They know this place. During times of great upheaval and unearthing, how can we learn from our Ancestors' wisdom-stories in order to shape this iteration of the world and stake our claim on freedom? Black/Afro-descendant people have accessed powerful and sacred portals of code and conjure, poetry and prose, seed-saving, spirituals and self-determination, root medicine and reclamation, mourning and ritual throughout our existence - past, present, and future. This session is a tribute to the lineage of the people who could fly. (Terican Gross)

 

 

Let's Talk: Employee Management, Communication, and Retention We talk with one another about where to post jobs and find the right employees, and yet spend very little time discussing how to successfully navigate and engage in the employer-employee relationship throughout the season. Whether you have a few years of experience or are about to hire your first employee, join farmer-owner Liz Whitehurst for a facilitated discussion about methods, SOPs, employee handbooks, facilitating shared leadership, and tips for a successful, returning farm team. (Liz Whitehurst, Owl's Nest Farm, MD)

 

 
Reading Your Soil Samples and Creating Nutrient Management Plans  Bring your soil tests and questions or come and share your expertise during this roundtable discussion of all things soil. Lisa Garfield, former vegetable farmer and Future Harvest Research Manager, will be on hand to listen, help, and talk about the various ways to observe and measure soil health and advise on how to use that information to make practical management decisions on your farm. (Lisa Garfield, Future Harvest and Million Acre Challenge)

 

Saturday, January 16th: Farmer-to-Farmer Roundtables and Clinics

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

 

 

Book Club: Sacred Cow In Sacred Cow, registered dietitian Diana Rodgers and former research biochemist Robb Wolf explore the quandaries we face in raising and eating animals - focusing on the largest (and most maligned) of farmed animals, the cow. We're told that if we care about our health - or our planet - eliminating red meat from our diets is crucial - that beef is bad for us and cattle farming is horrible for the environment, but science says otherwise. Despite what anti-meat groups, vegan celebrities, and some experts say, plant-based agriculture is far from a perfect solution. Let's talk about it. This session will be guided by participants with questions from the facilitator. It is not necessary to have read the whole book, but attendees should come prepared to learn what happens at the end. (Amanda Cather, Million Acre Challenge)

 

 

Clinic with Farm Consultant Ellen Polishuk This small group clinic is a unique opportunity to get some of your questions answered by retired farmer now farm consultant Ellen Polishuk. The clinic is intended as a follow up to the preceding workshop, "Scale Up or Scale Down?" Space is limited. If you are unable to get into one of the scheduled meetings, you can visit Ellen's exhibitor profile to schedule a consultation with her in the season ahead. (Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit

 

 
Seed, Plant, and Fertilizer Costs There are a lot of resources to help create business plans and enterprise budgets, but sometimes a spreadsheet doesn't give us all the answers. Are you curious to know how your fertilizer costs compare to other farms of similar size? Wondering how much of your budget should be going to seeds, plants, fertilizer, and other farm supplies? This informal roundtable chat facilitated by Carrie Vaughn, vegetable production manager at Clagett Farm, aims to introduce you to your peers and uncover innovative ways to cut costs on infrastructure or open up a new source for plants and supplies. (Carrie Vaughn, Clagett Farm, MD)

 

 

Black Farmer Facilitated Roundtable Part 2 of 2: RETURN - Iteration and Imagination This is a visioning space for Black farmers and growers to create tools and rituals of rootedness and re-imagining, as we envision what thriving and togetherness looks like in the space that we are navigating. Our Ancestors have been here before.They know this place. During times of great upheaval and unearthing, how can we learn from our Ancestors' wisdom-stories in order to shape this iteration of the world and stake our claim on freedom? Black/Afro-descendant people have accessed powerful and sacred portals of code and conjure, poetry and prose, seed-saving, spirituals and self-determination, root medicine and reclamation, mourning and ritual throughout our existence - past, present, and future. This session is a tribute to the lineage of the people who could fly. (Terican Gross)

 

 

Finding Balance, Part II Farming with Family Work-life balance is challenging for everyone. This chat will focus on the challenges of balancing your farmer identity with your family identity. You might think the grass is greener on the other side, but the truth is all of us have experiences to share and questions to ask whether we farm with our family, in community with chosen family, and/ or struggle to make it home on time for dinner with loved ones who also make demands on our times just like the vegetables and livestock.

 

 

Minerals, Feed, and Balance Join Alyssa Walsh from Fertrell and fellow regional livestock farmers for a discussion on minerals, feed, and balancing the nutritional needs of your herds and flocks. (Alyssa Walsh, Fertrell)