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Program

Thursday, January 16th Pre-Conference Workshops

9:00am - 4:00pm

Sustainable Flower Farming Intensive for Everyone In this full-day intensive, you'll spend the morning learning the nuts and bolts of flower farming from Maya Kosok of Hillen Homestead and Bihiyyah Parks of EcoBlossoms Farm. In the afternoon, renowned flower grower Dave Dowling of Ednie Flower Bulb will offer two presentations: High Tunnel and Greenhouse Cut Flowers and Perennial Cut Flower Varieties. From variety selection and succession planning to harvest and storage, this workshop will set beginner flower farmers up for success and elevate advanced grower's techniques and yields. (Dave Dowling, Ednie Bulb; Christina Flores, FlowersxFlores; Maya Kosok, Hillen Homestead; and Bahiyyah Parks, EcoBlossoms Farm) Room 2112

Pastured Poultry: Plans and Practices for Sustainable Production Join Dru Peters of Sunnyside Flowers & Farm for a deep dive into sourcing, housing, feeding, and record keeping for processing, pricing, and marketing broilers and layers - with a detailed look at the true cost of operating a poultry business. Detailed instructions for constructing a moveable coop -- with wheels! This workshop is great for anyone starting from scratch, interested in adding poultry, or already up and running but struggling to turn a profit. Participants will leave with materials lists and instructions for building their own coop. (Dru Peters, Sunnyside Flowers & Farm) Room 2110
Hemp: The New (Old) Cash Crop Making a Comeback One small addition to the 2018 Farm Bill has led to big buzz in the farming world - the legalization of hemp. Farmers, advocates, and processors have long wanted to bring this traditional crop back into their fields and now they can! Spend a day with regional farmers, university researchers, and industrial hemp organizations who have grown and engaged with hemp and the legal and regulatory processes surrounding it over the past year. From licensing, soils, and seed starting, to determining ideal harvest times, production practices, and processing, this intensive will prepare you to jump into this expanding market. (Andrew Ristvey, University of Maryland; Jim Drews, Maryland Department of Agriculture; Dave Liker, Gorman Farms; Steve Groff, Groff North America; Adin Alai, 9Fiber; Rona Kobell, Abel Foundation) Room 2115

Safe Food Safe Farms: Grower Training **8:30 am - 4:30 pm** Join experts speakers from the University of Maryland for an everything-you-need-to-know workshop on how to grow, harvest, pack, and hold produce in ways that reduce risk of contamination. Depart with up-to-date information about the federal produce safety rule requirements and how to talk to your buyers about the safety of your farm's produce. Completing Produce Safety Alliance's Grower Training satisfies key compliance requirements of the federal Produce Safety Rule. (Dr. Angela Ferelli, Dr. Shauna Henley, Nicole Cook, Neith Little, Ginny Rosenkranz, Carol Allen, Dr. Naveen Kumar Dixit) Room 2106

HALF DAY (9am-12pm) FREE SNAP, EBT, and WIC Training  Join Amy Crone, the Executive Director of the Maryland Farmers Market Association, and a team of regional trainers for this free training for DC, Maryland, and Virginia farmers and farmers market managers, all of whom are eligible for free wireless point-of-sale equipment. Come and learn the benefits of being authorized to accept SNAP, WIC, and EBT, including increased customer base, increased economic benefits for you and your communities, and healthy and nutritious options for program recipients. (Amy Crone, Maryland Farmers Market Association) Room 2108

 

Highlights! Leah Penniman, author of Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land; Elaine Ingham of Soil Foodweb, Inc; Bryan O'Hara of Tobacco Road Farm; and Dave Dowling of Ednie Flower Bulb!

 

Friday, January 17th Sessions

Session I : 9:00am - 10:00am

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
Setting Up Your Farm on New Land: You've got land! Now what? It's time to transform your blank canvas into an efficient and productive operation. Learn why, where, and how to site fields, read your landscape of weeds, assess and amend soils, and determine the best places for infrastructure. Excitement and ambition often lead new farmers to make quick decisions, purchases, and changes to get growing, but sometimes a season spent surveying, cover cropping, walking fields, and building is wise. Learn what's best for you and your business here first. (Ann Sutton, Deep Roots Farm) Room 2110

TRACK2

Business of Farming
Essential Money Management for Farmers: This hour-long intensive will help farmers with one of the most important aspects of a successful business: managing money. Spoiler alert: It isn't just about paying invoices on time. Managing your labor force, designing spaces with energy and efficiency in mind, and staying ahead of potentially costly repairs all factor into the equation. Learn how to avoid the biggest money management mistakes, and about free tools and support available to you. (Tope Fajingbesi, Dodo Farms and UMD, IAA) Room 2115

TRACK3

Crop Production

Getting Started with Seed Saving: Knowledge is power. And knowledge of how to preserve seeds is essential for the future of food. There are remarkable stories embodied in our ancestors' seeds, and current policies in place that make seed keeping essential today. Join Owen Taylor for an exploration of the most important concepts for saving seeds: flower anatomy, isolation distance, and taxonomy. Participate in a hands-on demonstration of cleaning and saving both wet and dry seeds. (Owen Taylor, Truelove Seeds) Room 2101

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy

Farmers for Climate Action: Is it our duty as farmers to communicate our experiences with climate change? Where and how do we engage in climate discussions on a grassroots level, as well as politically and globally? Learn how other farmers are speaking up. Your voice needs to be heard! (Juli Obudzinski, NSAC; Sanaz Arjomand, NYFC) Room 2111

TRACK5

Grassfed: 
Meat & Dairy

Challenges and Opportunities When Raising Multiple Species on Pasture: Raising chickens, pigs, cattle, turkeys, and laying hens on pasture with no hormones, chemicals, or antibiotics has many advantages - but also a few disadvantages. Join Jesse Straight for a candid discussion about the labor, infrastructure, and knowledge required to successfully raise and market pastured meats. (Jesse Straight, Whiffletree Farm) Room 2106

TRACK6

Made Local
This is intentionally left blank. We offer six sessions at a time varied among seven topical tracks.

TRACK7

Regenerative Agriculture

Fungi in Agroforestry: Fungi and microbes play highly beneficial roles in forest ecosystems. They provide opportunities to support and grow biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services, provide food and medicine, and advance biological farming. Learn how to amplify native mycorrhizal fungi for transplant production of perennial agroforestry crops, such as bioprospecting indigenous microbes for soil, plant, and animal health -- and how to benefit from on-farm research along the way. (Mark Jones, Sharondale Mushroom Farm) Room 2112 

 

FRIDAY KEYNOTE:

10:15 am - 11:15 am

Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

Farming While Black:

African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice

 

Friday, January 17th Sessions

Session II : 11:30am - 12:30pm

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
Grants: Where to Find Them and How to Get One: Nevin Dawson (UMD Extension and Northeast SARE) and Lisa Garfield (Future Harvest, SARE Grantee, and SARE Technical Committee) will give an overview of grant programs available to farmers and ag service providers, and share strategies for turning your innovative ideas into fundable grant proposals. Nevin and Lisa will draw upon years of experience as successful grantees, grant reviewers, and grant program administrators to help you analyze requests for proposals, avoid common pitfalls, and think like a reviewer as you design projects and craft proposals. The session will include facilitated activities with a focus on Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant programs, and Lisa will share her experience as a SARE Farmer Grant recipient. (Nevin Dawson and Lisa Garfield) Room 2110

TRACK2

Business of Farming
Diversified Livestock for Profit - Adding Small Ruminants: America might be addicted to single-use agriculture, but we small- to mid- scale farmers know that running multi-species livestock can not only benefit pasture and animal health, it can create multiple income streams -- available more frequently -- for your farm. Don't be afraid to add sheep and goats to your business plan. Sandra will teach participants when and how to profitably integrate and market small ruminants with proven ideas you can implement this season and for years to come. (Sandra K. Miller, Painted Hand Farm) Room 2115 

TRACK3

Crop Production

This is intentionally left blank. We offer six sessions at a time varied among seven topical tracks.

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy
Amplifying Black Land & Food Sovereignty: Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices - from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative and CSA - have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to our decline from 14% of all growers in 1920 to less than 2% today, with corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illness related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Eric Jackson and Leah Penniman have dedicated their lives to amplifying Black Land and Food Sovereignty. They are part of a global network of farmer-activists working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid. Join Leah and Eric to learn how you too can be part of the movement for food sovereignty and help build a food system based on justice, dignity, and abundance for all members of our community.  (Eric Jackson, Black Yield Institute; Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm) Room 2111

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy

Use Your Animals to Improve Your Pasture Forage: The best land management systems are based in soil health, mimic nature, and work towards improving biodiversity. Learn how multi-species grazing, careful pasture planning, and strategic grazing can improve your pastures and woodlands while producing the highest quality products. (Mike Peterson, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture) Room 2106

TRACK6

Made Local
Buildings Are Local Too: Farm Infrastructure 101: How often have you looked back and wondered, "How much faster would this have been built if I just hired someone? Should I have made it bigger?" There is a science to determining the scope of a building project and after working with more than 100 farms in the region, Earthbound Building's team can teach you how to determine what's best for your building project, whether it's an in house project or hired out. Having seen what farms need and don't need to be successful, this team can help you map out the most efficient and cost-effective way forward. (Blain Snipstal and Dom Hosack, Earthbound Building) Room 2104

TRACK7

Regenerative Agriculture

Designing Resilient Farms - Using Permaculture to Protect Against Weather Events:  You've heard the saying, "Be flexible like a willow" -- but perhaps your farm is breaking under extreme weather events. Permaculturalist Patrick Johnson will teach you how and where permaculture design, which is a farming practice derived from nature, can help mitigate flooding, high winds, drought, and other effects of climate change -- to ensure your farm, and everything on it, can be like a willow, and withstand extreme conditions. (Patrick Johnson, Airport Farm, Diversity Permaculture) Room 2112

 

Friday, January 17th Sessions

Session III : 2:00pm - 3:30pm

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
From Farm to Market: Working with WIC and the Department of Aging not only broadens community access to fresh, local food, but explands your customer base. Learn how to capture new-to-you sectors of the market and maximize healthy food access through nutrition education intervention efforts. Talk about a win-win! Lynn and a farmer will also talk about how to build a dynamic farmers market display that attracts a diversity of customers. (Lynn Rubin Traversa, Statewide Healthy Food Systems Coordinator, UMD Extension, FSNE State Office) Room 2110

TRACK2

Business of Farming
Collaborative Marketing Programs to Grow Your AgBizWhen people talk about Loudoun County, VA, they talk about farming. The agricultural association is strong in part because of Loudoun Economic Development's work and commitment to promoting farms and ag-based businesses through grassroots, farmer-focused marketing programs, strategic branding, and high-traffic Farm Tour weekends. Loudoun County Economic Development and farmer Casey Wisch will discuss how your farm and community can benefit from collaborative marketing, the Farmer Trading Card program, and the "Seeds for Success" educational series. (Chris Blosser & Amy Mugford, Loudoun Economic Development; Casey Wisch, Longstone Farm; Bonnie Kittrell, Double 8 Alpaca Ranch) Room 2115    

TRACK3

Crop Production
The Science and Art of Pruning Woody Perennials: Proper and timely pruning keeps plants vigorous and increases yields. Fruit grower extraordinaire Wesley Cornell offers an overview of pruning theory, including hormonal response to wounds, callusing, and natural structure. Wesley Cornell will do a live demonstration of simple pruning techniques and offer an overview of his favorite tools. (Wesley Cornell, Blueberry Gardens) Room 2101

TRACK4

Environment, Policy, & Community

The Changing Face of CSA: As local food delivery grows in popularity, more customers are seeking CSA subscriptions that are convenient and accessible. Join Dr. Tim Woods and a panel of local experts to discuss diversifying your CSA drop spots to include places of work, worship, exercise, and other locations that can expand your customer base. Learn how wellness vouchers, coalition approaches, new models of CSA delivery, and partnerships are improving access to CSAs, including for limited resource consumers. Dr. Woods will also share information on the new, national CSA Innovation Network (CSA-IN). (Dr. Tim Woods, University of Kentucky; Carrie Nemec, Potomac Vegetable Farms, Joanna Winkler, Good Dog Farm, M. James Faison, Partnership For A Healthier America) Room 2111

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy

A Grazing Management System for Spring Organic Lamb: Over the course of ten years, William Bryan studied three different pasture uses raising spring grass-fed lamb in a fixed area. Hear about his experience managing the sheep and lambs for more than one crop, while choreographing hay cuttings, grazing, and keeping a buffer. (Bill Bryan, Farmer and retired Extension Researcher, WVU) Room 2106

TRACK6

Made Local
Bringing Grains to the Local Table: Sustainable grain farming is a critical component of soil health and environmental stewardship, yet value-chain gaps must be addressed in order to help consumers connect the dots between soil health, nutrition, and values-based pricing. Join this panel of experienced grain farmers as they discuss these issues, their variety selections, farming practices, and perspectives on the regional grain market. (Barrett Hightower, Common Grain Alliance; Nazirahk Amen, Purple Mountain Organics; Aaron Cooper, Cutfresh Organics; Ian Hertzmark, Migrash Farm; David Sachs, Grapewood Farm) Room 2104

TRACK7

Regenerative Agriculture
Improving Soil Health Reduces Climate Risk and Boosts Profits: Increasing soil health is a big win for farmers, reducing climate risk and restoring the natural ability of soil to produce healthy crops with fewer inputs. Learn how soil health practices like no-till and cover crops can not only increase profits but also make farmers part of the climate solution. (Dr. Sara Via, Department of Entomology, UMD College Park & University of Maryland Extension) Room 2112
 

Saturday, January 18th Sessions

Session IV : 10:15am - 11:45am

TRACK1

Beginning Farming
This is intentionally left blank. We offer six sessions at a time varied among seven topical tracks.

TRACK2

Business of Farming

Liabilities + Longevity: What's Your Capacity for Debt? What is your risk tolerance? And how do we reduce risk anxiety with real data? This workshop will examine a case study addressing difficult questions about liabilities, balance sheets, and leveraging new money for profitability. Kitchen Table Consultants will walk through an interactive spreadsheet tool to assess the risks and benefits of borrowing, then participants will then breakout into working groups to model out debt schedules and enter their own assumptions into a risk assessment model. To get the most out of this workshop, bring your laptop, balance sheet, and profit & loss statement. (Elaine Lemmon, Kitchen Table Consultants) Room 2115

TRACK3

Crop Production
Part One: Veggie Intensive - No-Till Vegetable Growing: For seasoned and beginning growers, this workshop will present the details for growing large volumes of high-quality crops in any given area without the use of tillage. The methods utilized in the no-till system have demonstrated tremendously successful weed control and reduced need for irrigation, as well as excellent soil improvement. (Bryan O'Hara, Tobacco Road Farm) Room 2101

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy

Boots on the Ground - Stories From Veteran Farmers: Transitioning out of a military career is a big life change. So is transitioning into a farming career. Hear from former service members who have navigated these changes and are now working on farms, in the agricultural sector, and with veterans in need. (Moderator: Sarah Dachos, Farmer Veteran Coalition; Panelists: Peter Scott, Fields 4 Valor; Kimberly W. Raikes, Whitelock Farm; Marcus Roberson, Woodbox Farm, LLC; Jeff Neal, Loop Closing) Room 2111

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy
Livestock and Soil Health: There has been a lot of press about how meat and dairy industries' impact the environment, but the truth is, livestock are critical to building soil ecology. Conference keynoter and world-renowned soil health expert Dr. Elaine Ingham will explain the science behind livestock in a farm lifecycle, and how integrating animals is critical for soil ecology. (Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Foodweb, Inc) Room 2106

TRACK6

Made Local

Pippin Sauce - From Sourcing to Production: Pippin Sauce is well known in the Chesapeake region, not just for its unique flavor and high quality but for Xavier Brown's collaborations with local farmers who are preserving history by growing rare and heirloom peppers specifically for the sauces. Experienced with regulatory processes for value-added products, Xavier has consulted with several local farms to can and preserve their harvests and add prepared foods to their winter offerings. Learn what infrastructure you'll need - or need access to - to enter the value-added market, why collaboration is key, and how storytelling is and should remain at the roots of agriculture and food. (Xavier Brown, Soilful City) Room 2104

TRACK7

Regenerative Agriculture
The Million Acre Challenge and More, New Farmer Programs to Build Healthy Soil: Chesapeake region farmers have an unprecedented opportunity to tap financial and technical resources to boost the fertility of their soil and better withstand extreme weather events. Future Harvest and six other partners, and a new MDA program, are offering free soil health testing, technical assistance, cost shares, economic data, and education and training opportunities to help farmers build soil health and become more resilient to floods and droughts. (Dena Leibman and Lisa Garfleld, Future Harvest; Sarah Bay Nawa, PASA; Alisha Mulkey, MDA) Room 2112

 

SATURDAY KEYNOTE: 

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Foodweb

Can Healthy Soils

Slow Down - or Even Reverse - the Impact of Climate Change?

 

Saturday, January 18th Sessions

Session V: 1:30pm - 3:00pm

TRACK1

Beginning Farming

Business Planning for Beginning Farmers: Few jobs attract more idealists than farming. Planting a seed is having hope for the future, but it takes a lot of time and planning before you can start your journey and stick that seed in the soil. Laura Beth Resnick will share stories from her seven years of experience creating and actualizing the business plan for Butterbee Farm. The secret is a values-based approach to setting clear, achievable goals. Learn why putting time into planning on the front end will relieve stress and make you a happier farmer for the long haul. (Laura Beth Resnick, Butterbee Farm) Room 2110

TRACK2

Business of farming

This is intentionally left blank. We offer six sessions at a time varied among seven topical tracks.

TRACK3

Crop Production

Part Two: Veggie Intensive -- No-Till Vegetable GrowingFor seasoned and beginning growers, this workshop will offer an in-depth look at tested techniques including solarization, composted mulches, multi-cropping, cover-cropping, broadcast seeding, and so much more. (Bryan O'Hara, Tobacco Road Farm) Room 2101

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & poilcy
A Framework for Change in the Food System: The Chesapeake Foodshed Network was intentionally created to connect agriculture and food system changemakers to build equity, increase knowledge, and empower local communities. This presentation will discuss the Chesapeake Foodshed Network's pilot projects, how organizations and individuals can engage with the network, and lessons learned from regional food system networks around the country. (Asha Carter, Christy Gabbard, Lindsay Gilmour, and Ruth Tyson, Chesapeake Foodshed Network) Room 2111

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy
Is the Slaughterhouse Your Obstacle? Would you expand your operation if you could get your animals processed within 50 miles of your farm? If so, you're not alone. Farmers and consumers are looking for local, custom meat processors they know and trust. Learn how the agricultural community in St. Mary's County, MD came together to overcome their processing hurdles, and how the phased approach to this public-private partnership is unfolding and benefiting regional farmers and consumers. (Craig Sewell, SMADC) Room 2106

TRACK6

Made Local

High-Demand Grapes for Vineyard Startups: Regional wineries need more quality grapes and we're here to tell you which varieties to grow for them! With increasing production, wineries are facing a deficit of more than 1,000 tons of grapes annually, which makes now a great time to plant some vines. Learn what you need to get started and how a newly developed financial tool, special to vineyards, can help your planning process and project expenses and revenue. (Kevin Atticks, Grow and Fortify) Room 2104

TRACK7

Regenerative agriculture
Can Healthy Soil Reverse Climate Change? Join conference keynoter and world-renowned soil health expert Dr. Elaine Ingham for an in-depth workshop on soil health for intermediate and advanced farmers. Learn how to build healthy soils and understand the various microorganisms at play in regenerative agriculture. (Dr. Elaine Ingham, Soil Foodweb, Inc) Room 2112

 

Saturday, January 18th Sessions

Session VI : 3:15pm - 4:45pm

TRACK1

Beginning Farming

Stories from Scaling Up: We often talk about "scaling up" as if it is as simple as growing twice as much of everything, but the truth is: Not all aspects of an operation scale up linearly and/or grow according to plan. As farmers and managers, our daily work and interface with the farm changes significantly as scale increases. Hear from a panel of farmers who have navigated the highs and lows of scaling up and how their farm businesses have evolved along the way. (Moderator: David Giusti, Second Spring Farm; Panelists: Dave Liker, Gorman Farms; Denzel Mitchell, Strength to Love 2 Farm; Joanna Winkler, Good Dog Farm) Room 2110

TRACK2

Business of Farming
Finding Your Inner Entrepreneur - The Story of Oak Spring Farm: To succeed, farmers must be ambitious, agile, savvy entrepreneurs. Hear one farmer's journey from homesteading to sustainable, profitable farming. Lisa Duff will discuss what she grows, to whom and how she markets, key decisions made along the way, and lessons learned. You'll also get a look at Oak Spring Farm's "Play Book" which contains their mission statement, core values, some farm financials, and details systems used. (Lisa Wheeler Duff, Oak Spring Farm) Room 2115

TRACK3

Crop Production
Weed Management Tools for Vegetable and Grain Production: What's more exciting than a new cultivation tool? Seasoned farmer Nazirahk Amen will discuss new weed management implements for vegetable and grain production, highlighting new and innovative machinery imported from Japan. Find out what is working best for regional growers and what's right for your farm. (Nazirahk Amen, Purple Mountain Organics) Room 2101

TRACK4

Environment, Community, & Policy
Social Justice in Agriculture - A Dialogue with Farmers and Farmworkers: Our food system is shaped in a way that pits people against one another, rather than bringing them together. We must work together if we are to achieve dignified working and living conditions for all. This panel will bring farmers and farmworkers together to discuss how to raise the minimum wage for farmworkers, address problems with the H2A program, support farmers seeking fair prices for their products, and work together to promote sustainable practices and minimize workers' exposure to toxic pesticides. (Jessica Culley, CATA, The Farmworkers' Support Committee) Room 2111

TRACK5

Grassfed:
Meat & Dairy
This is intentionally left blank. We offer six sessions at a time varied among seven topical tracks.

TRACK6

Made Local

This is intentionally left blank. We offer six sessions at a time varied among seven topical tracks.

TRACK7

Regenerative Agriculture

Report on Safe Urban Harvests Study: Farmers and gardeners in urban areas risk contact with heavy metals that may be in the soil. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is investigating these risks by surveying Baltimore's farm managers and community garden leaders, and collecting soil, water, and produce samples and analyzing them for the presence of heavy metals. Find out how urban produce compares to USDA-certified organic produce, and how this data will be used to develop soil safety policies for urban agriculture. (Raychel Santo, Sara Lupolt, and Keeve Nachman, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; Mariya Strauss, Baltimore Farm Alliance; Neith Little, University of Maryland Extension; Abby Cocke, Baltimore City Office of Sustainability) Room 2112