2018 Pre-conference Field Trips
Thursday, January 18, 2018 • 12:30 – 5:00 p.m.
For those who learn best by seeing other farms, we have five excellent field trips for you to choose from.
Field trip participants will travel on chartered motorcoaches provided by Southern SAWG. No private vehicles permitted. All field trip motorcoaches will depart from outside the front entrance of the Chattanooga Convention Center on Carter Street 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.
Please be mindful of the potential to spread serious animal and plant pathogens on footwear and clothing. We respectfully ask that you clean farm boots and clothing before climbing aboard to visit these farms.
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.
Field Trip #1
Intensive Organic Vegetable Production
Rise ’N Shine Farm
Mitch and Elisabeth Lawson have grown Rise ‘N Shine Farm into one of the largest community supported agriculture (CSA) farms in Georgia over the last 15 years. This young couple supplies a bounty of certified organic produce to northwest Georgia and metro Atlanta. Currently they cultivate 30 acres, with two acres in high tunnels. They supply over 40 types of vegetables year round through their CSA shares. This tour will focus on intensive organic vegetable production for CSA. Learn how to build a CSA farm from the ground up. The farmers will discuss how to plan growing schedules, what equipment is really needed for vegetable production, growing techniques they have developed, marketing the CSA and lessons learned on the long winding road of creating a successful intensive organic vegetable farm.
Field Trip #2
Diversified Family Farming
Sequatchie Cove Farm
Sequatchie Cove Farm is a diversified farm of 300 acres nestled in the shadows of the Cumberland Plateau, surrounded by thousands of acres of pristine Tennessee wilderness. The farm is run by Bill and Miriam Keener, Kelsey and Ashley Keener, Miriam’s parents Jim and Emily Wright, and an assortment of seasonal helpers from the Chattanooga area and beyond. It has evolved to include perennial fruits, a native plant nursery, shiitake mushrooms, vegetables, pigs, cattle, chickens, bees, sheep, and a grass-based raw milk cheese dairy. This tour will cover small-scale vegetable production for farmers markets, grass- and forest-based cow, pig, chicken and lamb production, pasture management, good fencing techniques, and working with a local USDA slaughterhouse to get quality cuts of meat. They will also discuss the evolution of the farm and the decisions made to get to where they are today while looking toward tomorrow.
Field Trip #3
Growing Sustainable Vegetables on an Urban Farm
Crabtree Farms is a community-focused sustainable agriculture resource farm operating in Chattanooga since 1998. The farm specializes in vegetables, fruit and greenhouse plant production on 10 cultivated acres. Crops are produced in the field and in high tunnels. It has a 60-member CSA, pick-your-own fruits, two annual plant sales, and a seasonal on-site farm stand. The farm also serves as a demonstration farm for the community and as an educational resource for its many volunteers and work share participants. This field trip will focus on the production and marketing of vegetables, herbs, and fruit in an urban setting. This will include vegetable production techniques in the field, greenhouse and high tunnel, and producing vegetables for a CSA, farmers market, restaurant sales, and their farm stand. Post-harvest handling of vegetables, managing a u-pick operation, managing volunteers and work-shares, and the benefits and challenges of being an urban farm will also be covered.
Field Trip #4
Growing Community with an Urban Farm
The mission of Crabtree Farms is to be a community-focused sustainable farm and agriculture resource that grows healthy food for the Chattanooga area, educates children and families on the benefits of farms and local foods, grows the market for fresh local food by supporting the success of local farms, and connects diverse people in a farm setting. Operating in Chattanooga since 1998, the farm produces vegetables, fruit and greenhouse plants and serves as an educational resource and event space for the community. This field trip will focus on Crabtree’s outreach and educational work, sharing some of the best practices and lessons learned during their years of hosting school field trips, sustainable agriculture workshops, fundraising events, local food development outreach, and building community around sustainable agriculture in Chattanooga.
Field Trip #5
Farming on Campus
The University of the South: Sewanee
The university farm is designed to enhance students’ overall educational experience. Students develop an understanding of the sustainability challenges that will affect their adult lives while working on a diversified farm. The farm manager, Carolyn Hoagland, is a soil ecologist with dedication to sustainability principles and student collaboration. Eleven work-study students are active during the academic year. Two interns work on summer projects, and about 1,000 student volunteers visit the farm each semester. Four VISTA/ Americorp volunteers use the farm as home base for specialized projects and outreach to the surrounding communities. This tour will focus on creating a farm at an institution of higher education, producing food for the school’s dining services, working with faculty and students to create the curriculum and providing hands-on experience at the farm. Learn about their vegetable production, pastured chickens and goats, and their newly added aquaponics operation.