Note: This program has already occurred, but feel free to review to get an idea of the scope of the conference. And make plans to attend our next conference January 15-18, 2014 in Mobile, Alabama.
2013 Conference Program
Our conference program is, as always, loaded with practical information tailored for those in the South producing organic and sustainable food on a commercial scale and for those in our region working to improve local food systems.
We’ll have two full days of Pre-Conference activities starting Wednesday morning, including an excellent variety of Short Courses, Mini Courses and Field Trips, plus a Virtual Farm Tour Extravaganza and a Seed Swap.
Then the two full days of General Conference activities start Friday morning and will include Educational Sessions, Networking Sessions, a Trade Show and a Silent Auction. It will conclude with the big Taste of Arkansas Dinner banquet dinner Saturday evening, which is included in the general conference registration fee.
Check out the incredible Pre-Conference and General Conference offerings below.
We highly recommend you bring a partner so you can split up and get the most from this program!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 and Thursday, January 24, 2013
Intensive Short Courses
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
If you are looking to start or expand a farming venture, our Short Courses are designed to give you the knowledge you need to be successful. These intensive courses combine 1½ days of instruction with extensive take-home materials. Our down-to-earth instructors use their great teaching skills, as well as their years of experience and success farming, to provide comprehensive information. This is a high-value learning experience. We’re told the take-home materials alone are worth the price of the courses! You must register to participate in the Short Courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.
The four Short Courses we are offering this year are those in greatest demand:
Short Course #1
Start-Up Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing
Instructors: Cathy Jones, Perry-winkle Farm (NC) and Daniel Parson, Parson Produce (SC).
Short Course #2
High Tunnel Production and Marketing
Instructors: Alison and Paul Wiediger, Au Naturel Farm (KY).
Short Course #3
Controlled Grazing Management: Theory and Application on Livestock Farms
Instructors: Ann Wells, Springpond Holistic Health and Ozark Pasture Beef, LLC (AR) and Ron Morrow, Ozark Pasture Beef, LLC (AR).
Short Course #4
Growing Farm Profits
Instructors: Ellen Polishuk, Potomac Vegetable Farm (VA) and Gary Bullen, North Carolina State University (NC).
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
If you want to boost your knowledge in a specific topic of interest, our Mini Courses are for you. These ½ day courses give participants an opportunity to spend an afternoon learning what the experts know and how they do it. You’ll leave ready to go home and make improvements on your farm right away. This year we are offering Mini Courses on four hot topics. You must register to participate in the Mini Courses. Pre-registration is strongly recommended, as space is limited.
Please note that these Mini Courses are being offered at the same time as the Field Trips.
Mini Course #1
Lambs to Market: Raising Sheep for Meat and Profit
Instructors: An Peischel, Tennessee State University (TN) and Mac Stone, Kentucky State Univ.
and Elmwood Stock Farm (KY).
Mini Course #2
A Cut Above: Fresh Ideas for Growing and Marketing Cut Flowers
Instructors: Mark Cain, Dripping Springs Garden (AR) and Karen “Mimo” Davis, Urban Buds and Lincoln University (MO).
Mini Course #3
Bug-Tusslin’ with Dr. McBug: Sustainable Pest Management for Your Vegetable Crops
Instructors: Richard McDonald, Symbiont Biological Pest Management (NC) and Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms (NC).
Mini Course #4
Regional Food Hubs: Moving From Ideas to Action
Instructors: Jeff Farbman, Wallace Center (VA); Alan Moore, Local Food Hub (VA); and Sean Siple, Good Food For Good People (TN).
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
For those who learn best by seeing other farms, ranches and gardens, we offer five excellent field trips this year. Field trip participants will travel on comfortable motor coaches equipped with restrooms (no private vehicles permitted). All field trip motor coaches will depart from outside the front entrance of the Peabody Hotel at 12:30 p.m. sharp! No refunds will be provided to those who miss their ride. The field trip registration fee includes a light snack. Space is limited, so register early. Pre-registration is strongly recommended.
Please note that these Field Trips are being offered at the same time as the Mini Courses.
The five field trips we are offering this year are:
Field Trip #1 SOLD OUT!
Arkansas Natural Produce
Hosts: Jay and Deanna Fulbright
Field Trip #2 SOLD OUT!
Laughing Stock Farm and Little Rock Urban Farming
Hosts: Josh & Anna Hardin and Chris Hiryak
Field Trip #3
Host: Ryan Neal
Field Trip #4
Freckle Face Farm
Host: Mitchell & Jamie Latture with NCAT-ATTRA specialists
Field Trip #5
Hosts: Damian Thompson and Ryan Norman
Virtual Farm Tour Extravaganza
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Tour ten farms all in one evening! Each of the ten 20-minute DVDs in Southern SAWG’s Natural Farming Systems in the South series will be shown. Learn about Cut Flowers, Organic Vegetables, Meat Goats, Pastured Turkeys, Pastured Broilers, Pastured Beef, Pastured Dairy, and Cheesemaking. (no ticket required)
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
We’ll provide space and envelopes for those who wish to swap seeds. This will be a good opportunity to meet seed savers and learn about varieties dear to their hearts. Don’t forget to bring your seeds! Bring photos and samples too if you can.
GENERAL CONFERENCE BEGINS
Friday, January 25, 2013 and Saturday, January 26, 2013
With more sessions than ever, the General Conference gives you the opportunity to learn about many different things. We have sessions about organic and sustainable vegetables, livestock and specialty crop production, unique marketing strategies, business and finance management, community food systems work, useful federal farm programs and agriculture policy developments. The line-up includes a whopping sixty-two 1½ hour educational sessions, a state networking session for each of the 13 states in our region, along with 13 information exchange sessions where you get to exchange ideas and information with those who share your interests. Also built into the general conference schedule is a Trade Show, a Silent Auction, a couple of Plenaries and a Taste of Arkansas Dinner!
With the 1½ hour educational sessions, there is a choice of nine different sessions offered at a time. Following each session description, we’ve used codes to help you select which of all of these sessions might be of greatest interest to you. The codes are: (H)-Horticulture, (L)-Livestock, (C)-Community Food Systems, and (P)-Policy & Advocacy.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Trade Show Open
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
While we come from different states and have differing roles in the food and farming system, we are here to share knowledge and to grow the movement. In this session, we’ll gather together to greet one another and kick off our two-day general conference. Come to celebrate of our collective wealth and connections.
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Our Story: Teaching Youth Through Urban Farming — The Durham Inner-city Gardeners (DIG) program empowers teens by teaching organic gardening, sound business practices, healthy food choices and food security values. DIG youth are paid a stipend to cultivate fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers and mushrooms, which they sell at the Durham Farmers’ Market and distribute to neighbors. The youth also participate in innovative activities such as the “Healthy Food-A-Thon” and “Youth Are What Youth Eat” peer education program to reinforce healthy eating habits. Teen DIG participants, along with their program coordinator, will share challenges and accomplishments from the past 12 years of this youth-driven, leadership development program. Santos Flores, SEEDS Durham Inner-city Gardeners (NC) and youth TBD. C
Soil Health: Are You Helping or Hindering? — It’s often said that soil health is the foundation for a successful farm. Join Ray Archuleta for a lively demonstration and discussion of how healthy soil is created. Learn what practices support it and what practices break it down. This presentation will help you think about how you are treating the soil on your farm. Ray Archuleta, NRCS National Technology Center (NC). H, L
Effective and Efficient Irrigation: Selecting the Right System — Learn which irrigation systems are most reliable for particular crops, field layout, and soil conditions. An irrigation specialist and an experienced farmer will compare costs, durability and maintenance, and help you understand how to choose the right system for your farm. The session will also include a hands-on demonstration of setting up a basic drip irrigation system. Clif Slade, Slade Farms (VA) and Michael Pippen, Irrigation-Mart (LA). To be repeated. H
Planning Crops for Multiple Markets — How do you plan your crops to come up with the right mix of products all season long, especially when you have multiple markets? How do you incorporate both field production and high tunnel production? How do you coordinate the rotation of your ideal product mix with your organic field plan? Hear from Hank Delvin, Jr., who along with his family, manages a 140-acre organic farm and markets fresh produce to five weekly farmers markets, multiple grocery stores, and through a CSA. Hank Delvin, Jr., Delvin Farms (TN). H
Organic Elderberries: A Sustainable and Profitable Crop for America? — Organic elderberries are in high demand for health products because of their antioxidant properties and medicinal effects. Producer and entrepreneur Terry Durham is working with farmers, researchers, processors and marketers to develop a viable elderberry industry in the U.S. that can be controlled by local growers. In this session, he will tell about the work he has done and explain the potential opportunities for other producers and entrepreneurs. Terry Durham, Eridu Farm (MO). H
Creating a Successful Heirloom Pork Enterprise — Learn some of the key components of organic pork production and marketing from Russ Kremer, a diversified family farmer. This session will address breed selection, pasture management, sustainable facilities for humane and natural rearing, and good practices for promoting health and quality. Building on his experience as president of Heritage Acres Foods, a network of nearly 100 family farmers, Kremer will also discuss the best ways to market pork products by connecting with consumers. Russ Kremer, Heritage Acres Foods (MO). L
Reach the People: Thirty Marketing Ideas for Direct Marketers — You may grow a great product, but it’s not always easy to find customers. Whether you’re isolated in a rural area with limited local markets, or trying to sell farm products in an area with lots of buyers but also lots of farmer competition, creative approaches are needed. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to apply classic marketing thinking to the local food and farm customer base. Define who your audience is… and reach the people! Learn practical, doable marketing steps from both the presenter and your fellow attendees. Bridget Kennedy, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (NC). H, L
Profitability: How Does It Happen and How Much Can You Expect? — Have you ever wondered how your farm compares to others financially? In this session we’ll use studies of small diversified farms to give you a general benchmark of how much they earn. Then two long-time sustainable farmers will discuss how much their profits have increased over time, and what management decisions they made to improve profitability. Ellen Polishuk, Potomac Vegetable Farm (VA) and Daniel Parson, Parson Produce (SC). H, L
Food and Agriculture Policy 101 — Public policies regarding food and agriculture affect the sustainability of our food system and often define the “playing field” for our work. This session will explain the roles of public officials and private citizens in policy development, and introduce you to groups that work for better policies. Learn what you can do to keep up with important issues and get engaged in efforts to enact policies that support healthy food and sustainable farming systems. Helen Dombalis and Shavaun Evans, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC) and Lydia Villanueva, CASA del Llano (TX). To be repeated. P
10:30 a.m. – Noon
These facilitated group discussions provide you the opportunity to exchange ideas and information with your peers from around the region. Come prepared to ask and answer questions, share your experiences and listen to others. The 13 topics for discussion this year are:
Solutions for Common High Tunnel Problems — Join long-time producers for a discussion of some common problems (especially around heat and disease) in high tunnel production. Come ready to ask about problems and share solutions. H
Predator Controls for Horticultural Crops — Share practical and low-cost tips on how to control deer and other predators such as rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, groundhogs, voles and feral pigs. Discuss fencing, dogs, botanicals and other deterrents. H
Pastured Poultry: Problem Solving — What are your biggest challenges – feed, housing, predator control, heat, processing, others? Compare systems. Share your solutions, tips and innovations. L
Pasture Management: Problem Solving — What are your biggest challenges – maintaining forage through seasons, rotations, fencing, systems for predator control, others? Compare systems. Share your solutions, tips and innovations. L
Tools and Innovations for Limited Resource Farms — Discuss low cost ways to make your own tools and supplies, and how to source used materials and equipment inexpensively. Learn how to share ideas and innovations through sources like Farm Hack. H, L
Developing a Regional Organic Seed System — A 2011 survey found that the lack of locally produced organic seed was one of the most important challenges and that research on which varieties perform best in the Southeast is one of the most important priorities. Share your ideas on how we can support the development of seed varieties that are adapted to southeastern organic production systems and a regional system for growing and distributing organic seed. H
CSAs 2.0: Tips and Innovations — How is the CSA model adapting to new customers and communities? Discuss your experiences and challenges with multi-farm models, year-round vs. seasonal, models with more or less on-farm contact, meat products, value-added products, etc… Share your tips and innovations. H, L, C
On-line Farmers Markets — How can markets serve larger growers who market all season long as well as smaller growers who drop in and out of the market weekly? How can you reach more customers? Share your troubleshooting ideas for operations and tips for increasing outreach and sales. H, L, C
Food Hubs — What are the most pressing challenges facing groups that are aggregating and distributing good food? Pricing, distribution, working in rural areas, others? Share your solutions and innovations. C
Community and School Gardening — Can you teach about food security and community food issues along with food production through community and school gardens? Join a discussion on what topics can be taught, and the tools and curricula available. Share your experiences. C
People of Color in the Movement — How can we get more People of Color involved in the sustainable agriculture and community food movements? What can be done to make the movement more inclusive of all? C, P
Capturing and Communicating the Results of Our Work — How do we know if our work is effective in changing the food system? How are we communicating impacts to our constituents and funders? Share your ideas and tools. C, P
Policies That Promote Healthy Food and Healthy Economies — Learn how the Food and Agriculture Policy Collaborative, a partnership of national and local organizations, is promoting healthy food and healthy economies by changing public policies. They will discuss specific initiatives of the Collaborative and their strategies for getting good legislation enacted. P
Lunch On Your Own
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Our Story: Growing Righteous Food for Local Folks — Having been professional organic horticulturists since 1991, Brad and Jenny Stufflebeam finally realized their dream of starting their own 22-acre farm in the early 2000s. In 2004, they started the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program to serve Houston. By incorporating livestock rotations, high tunnels, greenhouses, cover crops and organic soil building techniques, they now produce vegetables and fruit for over 280 CSA members while networking with other local farms to provide eggs, poultry, beef and dairy. They also host farm tours for the public and educational events for other farmers. Hear the story of this dynamic couple. Brad & Jenny Stufflebeam, HOME Sweet FARM (TX). H, L, C
Systems Design for Organic Market Farms — Most of us know that organic farming takes a systems approach, yet it is easy to fall back on a reductionist approach for designing and managing our farms. This session will help you keep a systems perspective by presenting a step-wise example of how to design a sustainable market farm. The focus will be on healthy biologically-active soil as the foundation, and crop rotation and cover crops as key elements. Using Kerr Center’s bioextensive rotation as a model, we will show how these elements work together to provide multiple overlapping benefits, including effective suppression of bermudagrass and enhanced soil food web development. George Kuepper, Kerr Center for Sustainable Ag (OK). To be repeated. H
The Good, The Bad & The Bugly: Managing Key Southern Pests — Learn to identify and control some of the most damaging pests to vegetable production in the South — including brown marmorated stink bug, kudzu bug, Japanese beetle, Lily leaf beetle and others. Using these pests as examples, two pest management experts will provide an approach to management that is holistic, stressing naturally occurring controls with an emphasis on farmscaping. You will learn organically-approved techniques that you can use to control any of your more intractable pests. Bring your samples and questions; this is an interactive session! Richard McDonald, Symbiont Biological Pest Management (NC) and Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms (NC). H
Producing Asian Greens For Market — There are many varieties of tasty, nutritious greens that grow quickly and bring fast returns. Led by long-time producer and author of the new book, Sustainable Market Farming, this session will cover production of Asian Greens outdoors and in the hoophouse, including tips on variety selection, timing of plantings, pest and disease management, fertility and weed management, and harvesting. Over twenty types of Asian Greens will be discussed. Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community (VA). H
Meat Goats for Market — Are you thinking of raising goats for meat, or already have a herd and want to learn more? This session will cover the practical issues of what it takes to raise and market goats in the South. Two producers with over 40 years of experience between them will provide tips on breeds, pasture management, health care, processing, markets and more, with an emphasis on how to make this type of enterprise profitable on your farm. An Peischel, Tennessee State Univ. (TN). L
Sell More! Increasing Farmers Market Sales — Hear from a market manager and long-time market producer about product mix and sales methods to maximize market success. Learn tips on how to get the best market location, create attractive displays, and ensure your products are high quality and will last. This session will help you be a better vendor and attract loyal customers. Teresa Maurer, Fayetteville Farmers Market (AR) and Hank Delvin, Jr., Delvin Farms (TN). To be repeated. H, L
Should I Buy It? Farm Investment Analysis — Deciding whether or not to make a significant investment in equipment, buildings or land is one of the toughest decisions farm owners have to make. This session will help you ask the right questions and look at the right information to help you make an informed decision before taking on debt. Learn how to figure out if a capital investment will pay off for you or not. Also get tips on what a lender wants to know and how to talk to lenders about these decisions. Paul Dietmann, Badgerland Financial (WI) and Tom Cox, Western Arkansas Farm Credit (AR). H, L
Now that You’re Organic, What Products and Materials Can You Use? — Staff from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) will explain the organic product compliance rules, including product labeling and use restrictions. They will demonstrate how to use OMRI’s lists and free website services to find compliant products and ingredients for your operation. Also learn how organic compliance decisions are made at the national level. Doug Currier, OMRI (OR). H, L
Looking Back to Move Forward: Lessons From an Elder in Our Movement — Retired organic farmer and Professor Emeritus Owusu Bandele will provide a historical look at where the sustainable agriculture and local food movement has come from and where it is headed. He will review the unappreciated yet important role of innovators such as George Washington Carver and Booker T. Whatley. Then he will look forward to some of our current issues and share his thoughts on where the movement needs to go next. Owusu Bandele, Southern University Ag Center (LA). C
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Our Story: Transitioning To a Diverse, Sustainable Farm — After converting from conventional growing practices 15 years ago, the Unkels now grow and direct market naturally-raised brown jasmine rice on their farm in southern Louisiana. During the transition, they slowly reduced their rice acreage from 1000 to 20 while focusing on nutrient management and soil-building. They also added grass-fed cattle, free-range pigs, and a vegetable plot to their third generation farm. Hear about some of the key decisions they have made over the past decade to transition to a diverse, sustainable operation. Kurt & Karen Unkel, Cajun Grain Farm (LA). L, H
Managing Plant-Soil-Microbe Relationships for Better Soil Fertility — This advanced soil session will cover the keys to optimizing the amount and quality of soil organic matter for improved soil function. Learn how to better manage plant-soil-microbe relationships in order to enhance soil fertility, emphasizing legume nitrogen fixation and rhizobia bacteria. Julie Grossman, North Carolina State Univ. (NC). To be repeated. H
Innovations in High Tunnel Production — Now that high tunnels are becoming more common on farms, many growers and researchers are coming up with innovations. Learn about rainwater catchment systems for irrigation use, and other ideas that can be integrated into your high tunnel systems. Mengmeng Gu, Texas A&M Univ. (TX) and Lewis Jett, Univ. of West Virginia (WV). To be repeated. H
Add Income by Adding Cut Flowers — Are you thinking about producing cut flowers for local markets? In this session, producer and educator Mimo Davis will point out several considerations for starting out, such as space requirements, equipment needs, production techniques to increase income, post-harvest requirements, value-adding and markets. She will also discuss the potential income they can add to your operation, helping you decide if cut flowers are a good fit for you. Karen “Mimo” Davis, Lincoln Univ. & Urban Buds (MO). H
Getting Started with Livestock on Small Acreages — Learn about the benefits and challenges of integrating livestock onto a small farm. Poultry, small ruminants, hogs and cattle will be discussed. A brief discussion on species selection, production considerations, and marketing options will be included. Three NCAT (ATTRA) specialists will share from their years of experience as livestock producers as well as their wealth of knowledge as sustainable livestock technical specialists. Margo Hale, Terrell Spencer, and Linda Coffey, National Center for Appropriate Technology (AR). L
Producing Artisanal Products on Your Farm — One way to capture more of your local food dollar and increase the quality of local cuisine is to create value-added products on your farm. This session will explain how to recover the lost art of making artisanal products, using sweeteners, flours, soaps and sausages as examples from the Moyer Farm. Richard Moyer will discuss how to connect with local traditions, equipment needed, food safety, production and marketing. Multiple products will be available for tasting and smelling before and after the talk. Richard Moyer, Moyer Family Farm (VA). H
On-Farm Apprenticeships — Apprenticeships can offer an excellent learning experience for beginning farmers while also providing host farms with dedicated, enthusiastic workers. In this session a farmer with apprentice experience and a farmer who has hosted numerous apprentices will discuss how to get the most from the experience. They will share ideas on how to find the right fit, identify what work activities help future farmers succeed, and discuss the educational opportunities that can be built into the apprenticeship – even on small farms with limited resources. Mark Cain, Dripping Springs Garden (AR) and Joann Gallagher, Castlemaine Farm (NC). H L
Reclaiming Our Food: The Value of Community Engagement — Are you planning to start a school garden, urban farm, healthy cooking class, or other food project? Are you hoping to serve specific populations like youth, elderly, low-income, farm workers, immigrants or ethnically distinct? If so, then come to this workshop prepared to learn the seven best practices for working with communities and how to build food system infrastructure to work across divides. Tanya will draw on 20 years of community experience as an environmental mediator, as well as from research for her new book, Reclaiming Our Food. She will share examples from her own work with communities as well as lessons and stories from food leaders of successful community food projects. Tanya Denckla Cobb, Institute for Environmental Negotiation (VA). C
Federal Policy Action: What’s Next? — This session will provide analysis on what happened with the 2012 Farm Bill (if it is completed by January 2013). Depending on the outcome, we will either: a) review new programs and what needs to be done to get them implemented, b) review good programs that were lost, or c) gear up for the 2013 Farm Bill. We’ll also discuss strategies for working with the new Congress. Helen Dombalis and Shavaun Evans, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC) and Mark Schonbeck, Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VA). P
State Networking Sessions
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Gather with those working for sustainable agriculture and community food systems in your state to share what’s happening, how you can benefit, how you can be involved and how you can make a difference. We’ll provide a room and a facilitator for each of the 13 Southern states. You make the discussion useful.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Trade Show Open
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Silent Auction Open
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The terrific selection of auction items and the generosity of donors and bidders make this an exciting event every year. This fun event helps raise funds to support the critical work of Southern SAWG. Donations and high bids are greatly appreciated!
8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Changing Food, Changing Society
By Malik Yakini, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network
Does the “good food movement” have the power to be the “good food revolution”? Malik Yakini, Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, will make the connections between our work with food and the larger movement for freedom, justice and equality. Drawing on his experience as a community organizer, educator and urban farmer, Yakini will discuss the importance of local, sustainable food systems in leading to community empowerment, sovereignty and justice.
Yakini has presented at numerous local community meetings and national conferences on food justice and on the implementation of community food security practices. He is featured in the book "Blacks Living Green," and the recent movie “Urban Roots.”
Since 2006, the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network has operated the 4-acre D-Town Farm, initiated the Ujamaa Co-op Food Buying Club, run youth programs, helped write the City of Detroit Food Security Policy, and provided leadership in the creation of the Detroit Food Policy Council. Yakini serves on the facilitation team of Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System. He recently served as Executive Director of Nsoroma Institute Public School Academy, one of Detroit’s leading African-centered schools. In 2006 he was honored as “Administrator of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Public School Academies.
9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Our Story: Growing Good Food on Campus — Struggling financially and recognizing a need to address food insecurity in the surrounding community, Paul Quinn College recently transformed their football field into a 2-acre organic farm in a partnership with PepsiCo’s Food for Good Initiative. Produce from the “WE Over Me” Farm is used to feed students on campus, sold at a campus farmers market, and donated to the community. In addition to the food production, the College is building a Social Entrepreneurship curriculum around the farm and using it as an agricultural lab. Hear how this innovative project is addressing food insecurity and creating a model for sustainable urban re-development. Elizabeth Wattley and Andrea Bithell, Paul Quinn College (TX) and students TBD. C
Producing and Using Compost and Compost Teas — Compost and compost teas can be used both outdoors and in hoophouses, on food crops, cover crops, and in seed propagation. They can be used for disease suppression, soil building and to improve fertilizer uptake. Join long-time grower and educator Pat Battle for a discussion on how to produce these amazing forces on your farm and how to use them effectively. Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms (NC). H
Effective and Efficient Irrigation: Selecting the Right System — Learn which irrigation systems are most reliable for particular crops, field layout, and soil conditions. An irrigation specialist and an experienced farmer will compare costs, durability and maintenance, and help you understand how to choose the right system for your farm. The session will also include a hands-on demonstration of setting up a basic drip irrigation system. Clif Slade, Slade Farms (VA) and Michael Pippen, Irrigation-Mart (LA). Repeat. H
Profitable Sweet Potato Production for the Smaller Grower — An experienced grower will share techniques for producing, harvesting and marketing top quality sweet potatoes. This session will cover soil fertility, bed preparation, planting innovations and weed control, as well as varieties and purchasing of slips. It will also include tips for enhancing flavor and building a customer base to maximize your financial returns. Bob Due, Terraced Gardens Farm (TN). H
Holistic Animal Healthcare — True animal health involves more than just curative treatment. Preventive measures build the health of animals holistically. Learn some of the keys to developing a framework for integrated, holistic livestock care — such as reducing stress and providing good nutrition — along with tips and remedies for common ailments. Ann Wells, a noted veterinarian, livestock rancher and educator will present information that is specific to ruminants, but will also be applicable to other animal species. Ann Wells, Springpond Holistic Animal Health and Ozark Pasture Beef (AR). L
Growing Customer Relationships Through New Media Marketing — Growing your social media presence can be a powerful way to build customer relationships and raise the success of your farm. In this session you’ll learn how to effectively use Facebook, email newsletters, and other web-based tools to increase followers and connect with consumers, even if you only have a small amount of time. A technology professional who has managed media marketing for Green Gate Farm will help you understand how to use these tools and create interesting content. Kestrel Lancaster (TX). H, L
What Should I Keep Track Of? Keeping the Records You Need for Financial Decisions — Do you want to get a better understanding of your farm’s finances? This session will introduce you to basic tools for gathering key financial data. Learn how to set up — and keep up with! — a record keeping system that provides useful information in a timely manner. We’ll show you some of the forms and systems that are available and go through samples that you can use. We’ll also discuss how to find and make use of good resources online and in your community such as accountants and tax-preparers that understand farm businesses. Gary Bullen, North Carolina State Univ. (NC), and Terrell Spencer, NCAT (AR). To be repeated. H, L
Organic Seeds in Need: Overcoming the Barriers to Organic Seed System Development — Seed industry concentration, restrictive patents on plant genetics, and the growing challenge of protecting seed integrity from genetically engineered (GE) traits all impact the growth and success of the organic seed sector. This session will provide an overview of the challenges farmers and other organic stakeholders face in building organic seed systems, while exploring the promising potential of regional seed networks that are successfully confronting these troubling trends. Micaela Colley and Jared Zystro, Organic Seed Alliance (WA). C, P
How to Get the Information You Need from Your County Extension Service — Did you know that the Cooperative Extension Service has a presence in almost every U.S. county, and can help you find free research-based agricultural information to assist you on your farm? Extension agents with years of experience will explain what this service is all about and what your local agent can do for you. You’ll also learn how to develop a meaningful relationship with your county extension agent that will benefit both you and your farm. Christine Kelly-Begazo, University of Florida Cooperative Extension (FL) and Sherri Sanders, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension (AR). H, L, P
10:30 a.m. – Noon
Our Story: Raising Livestock for Direct Markets — Fourth generation farmers Tracy and Andy Youngblood began transitioning their farm from conventional practices to sustainable grass farming in 2006. By increasing their land through family land leases, they now produce dairy, beef, pork, lamb, goat, and most recently eggs. Products are sold directly to consumers through farmers markets, online markets, buying clubs, and “cow-pooling.” They also are preparing to open an artisan butcher shop to provide more control over quality and inputs while revitalizing the craft of butchery. Hear how this couple is reaching their goal of supplying their family and community with healthy real food. Andy & Tracy Youngblood, Youngblood Grass Fed Farm (AR). L
Systems Design for Organic Market Farms — Most of us know that organic farming takes a systems approach, yet it is easy to fall back on a reductionist approach for designing and managing our farms. This session will help you keep a systems perspective by presenting a step-wise example of how to design a sustainable market farm. The focus will be on healthy biologically-active soil as the foundation, and crop rotation and cover crops as key elements. Using Kerr Center’s bioextensive rotation as a model, we will show how these elements work together to provide multiple overlapping benefits, including effective suppression of bermudagrass and enhanced soil food web development. George Kuepper, Kerr Center for Sustainable Ag (OK). Repeat. H
Low Cost Cooling Technology and Post Harvest Handling Techniques — How you handle produce before, during and even minutes after harvesting makes a huge difference to the long term quality. In this session we will explain how to get practical information on the handling needs for various horticultural crops and give you tips for low-cost pre-harvest and post-harvest practices to increase the quality and shelf-life of your produce. We’ll also include information about using CoolBot technology for low-cost refrigeration in the field, at your packing site, and at market. Josh Hardin, Laughingstock Farm (AR) and Chris Hiryak, Little Rock Urban Farm (AR). H
Integrating Organic Seed Production into Your Diversified Farm: Is It Right For You? — On-farm seed production can ensure that you have access to the seed you need, diversify farm income, and provide the environmental benefits of new crop rotations and enhanced beneficial insect habitat. But managing seed crops along with a demanding, diverse production system can be daunting. Hear the success stories of other farmers who have taken the leap into seed production and learn how and why you may want to do the same. Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance (WA); Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA); Richard Moyer, Moyer Family Farm (VA); Jim Gerritsen, Wood Prairie Farm (ME); and Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks (VA). H
Healthy Soils, Healthy Livestock — The health of your pastures and the health of your livestock depends on the health of your soil. Ray Archuleta, a member of the NRCS Soil Quality Team, will discuss how to apply sound ecological principles to grazing management. Learn how to manage your pastures and animals in ways that will improve soil health. Ray Archuleta, NRCS National Technology Center (NC). L
Sell More! Increasing Farmers Market Sales — Hear from a market manager and long- time market producer about product mix and sales methods to maximize market success. Learn tips on how to get the best market location, create attractive displays, and ensure your products are high quality and will last. This session will help you be a better vendor and attract loyal customers. Teresa Maurer, Fayetteville Farmers Market (AR) and Hank Delvin, Jr., Delvin Farms (TN). Repeat. H, L
Beginning Farming Basics: Acquiring Land — A 2011 National Young Farmers Coalition survey found access to land is one of the biggest obstacles for beginning farmers. Whether you are a farmer just starting out or someone who wants to assist new farmers, this session will give you practical information on buying vs. leasing land, purchasing mechanisms, leveraging local resources, and record keeping and accounting for completing a farm loan. Site selection, identifying potential markets, and the value of building social capital will also be covered. Cody Hopkins, Falling Sky Farm (AR). H, L
Regional Food Hubs: What Are They Achieving and How Are They Doing It? — Learn how communities are accelerating the growth of local food systems through regional food hubs and food hub activities that aggregate, distribute and market local food products. This session will present several examples of these socially driven enterprises that have a strong emphasis on good prices for producers and good food for consumers. We will discuss some of the economic and other benefits of food hubs, give you a flavor of the processes involved in developing one, and provide resources for further information. Alan Moore, Local Food Hub (VA); Sean Siple, Good Food For Good People (TN); and Jeff Farbman, Wallace Center (VA). C
Organizing for Policy Change — Whether you want healthy local food in your public school meals or state programs that support organic farmers, changing public policy is often a key for creating a more sustainable food system. Staff from the Arkansas Public Policy Panel will share advice on how to organize for effective policy change at the state and local level, especially in rural areas. Using examples from their nearly 50 years of work, they will discuss practical steps in the process of advocating for change and recommended practices to get results. Bill Kopsky, Arkansas Public Policy Panel (AR). P
Lunch On Your Own
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Our Story: Undoing Racism in the Food System — Malik Yakini is co-founder and Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Since 2006, DBCFSN has operated the 4-acre D-Town Farm, initiated the Ujamaa Co-op Food Buying Club, run youth programs, helped write the City of Detroit Food Security Policy, provided leadership in the creation of the Detroit Food Policy Council, and been actively involved in “Undoing Racism in the Detroit Food System” conversations and trainings. In this session he will discuss concrete steps that have been taken to identify and eliminate racism in the food system in Detroit, and share lessons that you can use in your work. Malik Yakini, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (MI). C, P
Farmscaping for More Effective Pest Management — Are you tired of your “war on pests;” of taking a conventional approach to get rid of them (even with organically approved products)? Then join this lively discussion with two pest management experts on how to develop a strategy that moves from reactive to pro-active approaches. Learn how to landscape your farm, integrating least toxic controls, to create a more balanced environment for beneficial insects, parasites, pathogens, birds, bats and other naturally occurring organisms. Richard McDonald, Symbiont Biological Pest Management (NC) and Patryk Battle, Living Web Farms (NC). H
Innovations in High Tunnel Production — Now that high tunnels are becoming more common on farms, many growers and researchers are coming up with innovations. Learn about rainwater catchment systems for irrigation use, and other ideas that can be integrated into your high tunnel systems. Mengmeng Gu, Texas A&M Univ. (TX) and Lewis Jett, Univ. of West Virginia (WV). Repeat. H
Intensive Crop Production on a Small Scale — Many farmers raise large amounts of food on small acreages. Learn about methods for close spacing, wide beds, using season extension techniques, soil-building, disease and pest management, and dealing with humidity and heat issues in crowded plantings. Presenters will also discuss developing a marketing plan to inform a planting guide and maximize profits. For both rural and urban farmers who want to maximize production on limited space. Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community (VA) and Edwin Marty, Hampstead Institute (AL). H
Organic Seed Production Basics — Learn the basic biology and techniques of growing organic seed on-farm. Topics include plant and seed biology, managing pollination and isolation, how to maintain and improve varieties, and basic techniques of harvesting, threshing and cleaning your seed crop. The session will include a discussion with farmers sharing their experience growing a variety of seed crops in the SE Region. No prior seed growing experience is required. Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance (WA); Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (VA); Clif Slade, Slade Farms (VA); and Bryce Stephens, Stephens Land & Cattle (KS). H
Birds on Pasture: Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks and Geese — Although most poultry has similar life cycles and needs, each species has its own idiosyncrasies. An experienced farmer who manages a diverse livestock and poultry farm will help you assess which birds are right for you, your farm, and your markets. Learn basic bird care, feed and housing, processing challenges, and the unique marketing opportunities for each type of grass-fed poultry. Carey Robertson, CWC Farm (AR). L
On-line Farmers Markets — Farmers and food marketers across the country are using online markets to make sales more convenient for both farmers and local consumers. Hear from representatives of several markets on how they got started, how they operate, their organizational structure (cooperative, LLC, nonprofit), key rules and regulations, and software used. They will also provide tips for running them smoothly and troubleshooting common problems that occur. Karen Holcomb, Spa City Co-op (AR); Cody Hopkins, Conway Locally Grown (AR); and Molly Harris, Fall Line Farms (VA). H, L
Business Planning For Farmers and Food Entrepreneurs — Whether you are beginning your own farm business or a community food enterprise (like a food hub or farm-to-cafeteria project), developing a capacity to do business planning will increase your chance of success. This workshop will introduce the One-Page Business Plan and the One-Page Financial Plan that goes with it. These tools are designed to get you started on formalizing your thoughts about your enterprise, and are the first step in clearly articulating your business to partners, employees, family or lenders. We’ll also introduce other tools to help you make business decisions, and provide business consultants and Farm Credit lending staff for coaching and one-on-one advice. Gary Matteson, Farm Credit Council (DC). C, H, L
Food and Agriculture Policy 101 — Public policies regarding food and agriculture affect the sustainability of our food system and often define the “playing field” for our work. This session will explain the roles of public officials and private citizens in policy development, and introduce you to groups that work for better policies. Learn what you can do to keep up with important issues and get engaged in efforts to enact policies that support healthy food and sustainable farming systems. Helen Dombalis and Shavaun Evans, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (DC) and Lydia Villanueva, CASA del Llano (TX). Repeat. P
Silent Auction Final Bidding
3:00 p.m. – 3:40 p.m.
The terrific selection of auction items and the generosity of donors and bidders make this an exciting event every year. This fun event helps raise funds to support the critical work of Southern SAWG. Donations and high bids are greatly appreciated!
3:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Our Story: Young Farmer Entrepreneurs in the Arkansas Delta — Keith & Jill Forrester quit teaching school and began farming in the Arkansas Delta eight years ago. At first, they grew vegetables and cut flowers on their 11-acre organically-inspired farm for direct markets and CSA customers. Like many farmers, they realized the need to develop more markets for local food. So in 2010 they also started the Trolley Stop Market, a Farm to Table restaurant and farmers market in Memphis, TN. Hear how this young couple started both a farm and food business in these tough economic times, and how their decisions have bolstered their local food system. Keith & Jill Forrester, Whitton Farms (AR). H, C
Managing Plant-Soil-Microbe Relationships for Better Soil Fertility — This advanced soil session will cover the keys to optimizing the amount and quality of soil organic matter for improved soil function. Learn how to better manage plant-soil-microbe relationships in order to enhance soil fertility, emphasizing legume nitrogen fixation and rhizobia bacteria. Julie Grossman, North Carolina State Univ. (NC). Repeat. H
Integrating Cover Crops and Intensive Grazing into Vegetable Production Systems — Brad Stufflebeam incorporates livestock rotations and cover crops into organic soil building techniques on his 22-acre farm in east Texas. In this session he will discuss his vegetable production system, emphasizing seasonal rotations, varieties best suited for the South, and the multiple benefits of utilizing cover crop rotations. Brad Stufflebeam, Home Sweet Farm (TX). H, L
How to Conduct Your Own On-farm Variety Trials — Learn how to conduct variety trials on your farm to identify the best performing, organically available varieties for your local growing conditions. Choosing the right crops and varieties for your local climate, field conditions, and market can significantly minimize loss and increase agricultural success while also satisfying requirements of your organic certifier. This workshop will teach you how to plan, manage and evaluate a variety trial on your farm. Micaela Colley, Organic Seed Alliance (WA). H
Mobile Poultry Processing for the Small-Scale Farmer — Have you ever considered putting together a mobile poultry processing unit for a group of producers, but been discouraged by the unknowns? This session will provide an overview of the equipment requirements and options available. It will give an in-depth look at how the State of Kentucky organized their farmer training, HACCP plan development and management team for small-scale poultry processing. In addition, basic business strategies, capital costs, and return on investments for four levels of mobile poultry processing units will be covered. Mike Davis, University of Arkansas (AR); David Schafer, Featherman Equipment (MO); and Angela Caporelli, Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KY). L
What Should I Keep Track Of? Keeping the Records You Need for Financial Decisions — Do you want to get a better understanding of your farm’s finances? This session will introduce you to basic tools for gathering key financial data. Learn how to set up – and keep up with! — a record keeping system that provides useful information in a timely manner. We’ll show you some of the forms and systems that are available and go through samples that you can use. We’ll also discuss how to find and make use of good resources online and in your community such as accountants and tax-preparers that understand farm businesses. Gary Bullen, North Carolina State Univ. (NC), and Terrell Spencer, NCAT (AR). Repeat. H, L
Farm to School: Building Professional Relationships — With increased interest in purchasing from both higher education and K-12 institutions, there is great opportunity for new local food markets. Hear how to work effectively with institutional food service professionals to build necessary relationships and overcome common obstacles. Topics will include identifying potential products for local purchasing, food safety and packaging, pricing, and procurement regulations. This session will have information for farmers as well as community members working to get more local food into their schools. Glyen Holmes, New North Florida Cooperative (FL). C
Innovative Programs to Support Community Food Systems: Healthy Food Financing Initiative — Despite the recent recession and “cut-back” climate, several innovative programs have emerged in the past few years that are building stronger community food systems. This session will highlight the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a public-private partnership which provides critical loan and grant financing for fresh food retailers — including grocery stores, coops and food hubs — in underserved, low-income areas. Using this example, we’ll explain how this program started, where the funding comes from, and how citizens like you advocated for public policies to support it. Judith Bell, PolicyLink (CA). C, P
Silent Auction Payments
Music and Cash Bar
5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Taste of Arkansas Dinner and Keynote
6:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Always a highlight of the weekend, food produced by sustainable and organic farmers in Arkansas will be featured at this plated dinner Saturday evening at the close of the conference. Come enjoy the fellowship and good food with your peers. No better way to start off the new season! Each general conference registration includes a ticket for the Taste of Arkansas Dinner. (ticket required)
The Good Food Movement as Community Development
By Dr. Sherece West-Scantlebury, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
In this address, Dr. West-Scantlebury will draw on her nearly 20 years of experience in public service, community development, and public policy advocacy to inspire us to continue building the good food movement.
Sherece West-Scantlebury is president and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, a private, independent foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of all Arkansans in three interrelated areas: economic development; education; and economic, racial and social justice. Involved in philanthropy for over 15 years, Dr. West-Scantlebury served as CEO at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation and as a program associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In addition to running the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, she is active in a number of nonprofits and philanthropy organizations.