2019 Special Activities

Local Rocks Little Rock

Local Rocks Little Rock is a local foods scavenger hunt at the 2019 conference. Purchase food and/or beverages from participating shops and receive a stamp on your Local Rocks Little Rock ticket. Anyone who has at least two stamps is eligible for a drawing to receive either a free ticket to the 2020 SSAWG conference, a CoolBot, or $500! Let’s all build the local economy in Little Rock and support local restaurants and grocers who purchase from local farmers!


Intensive Short Courses — Wednesday all day and Thursday morning

While our general conference offers a wide variety of 1 ½ hour sessions that allow participants to gain valuable information about many different things, these pre-conference short courses are different. These short courses are high-value learning experiences that provide you comprehensive, and in-depth information on the topic most important to you right now. To learn more about the intensive short courses we are offering this year, click here. Registration is required and pre-registration is strongly encouraged.


Mini Courses — Thursday afternoon

Our ½ day mini courses give participants an opportunity to get in-depth information on specific topics of greatest interest. Our expert presenters will dive into these topics, provide you the latest information and answer your pressing questions. To learn more about the mini courses we are offering this year, click here. Registration is required and pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Please note that these mini courses are being offered at the same time as the field trips.


Field Trips — Thursday afternoon

Our ½ day field trips are always popular. We’ve got an in-the-field learning opportunity for everyone! To learn more about the field trips we are offering this year, click here. Registration is required and pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Please note that these field trips are being offered at the same time as the mini courses.

Fresh Stop Markets Meet and Greet Session —
Thursday Morning, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

BROCC-N-ROLL! New Roots Fresh Stop Markets — University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee, Knoxville welcome the SSAWG community to a meet and greet. Come explore how farmers and neighborhood leaders are uniting communities to spread food justice throughout Kentucky. Meet researcher partners from University of Ky and University of Tenn. Let’s converse about how to build on the momentum and successes of this local movement and spread the model to more communities in the southern region and beyond.

Hosted by: Farmers of Rootbound Farm, Crestwood, KY, and Valley Spirit Farm, Campbellsburg, KY; Community organizers from New Roots, Inc. and Fresh Stop Market Leaders, Louisville, Kentucky; Universities of Kentucky and Tennessee; Southern SARE USDA Grant Recipients (2018-2021), Extending Roots of Fresh Stop Markets Across the Southern Region, Lexington, KY and Knoxville, TN.

Opening Mixer, Book Signing, and Seed Swap
Thursday evening, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This year our opening mixer is going to be held in the Trade Show. Come mix it up with old and new friends alike and get a sneak peak of all the great vendors at our trade show. We will have a cash bar set up for you with local brews.

A variety of conference presenters will be on hand to sell and autograph their books for you on Thursday evening during the pre-conference mixer.

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.


Photo Booth sponsored by Patagonia

Get your picture taken and receive a ticket* for a chance to win Patagonia work wear. Patagonia clothing prizes to be awarded at the closing mixer Saturday night. Photos will be shared via social media.

*Up to five photo chances per attendee.

General Conference Welcome and Plenary Session:
Friday morning

Cornelius Blanding

Cornelius Blanding

Transformation through Cooperative Innovation

by Cornelius Blanding

Join us for an engaging plenary session on Friday morning with Cornelius Blanding, the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund as he puts a fresh face on cooperative innovation to address some of the most daunting challenges facing farmers in the South. While farmers often feel isolated due to both the nature of their work and the fact that so few are engaged in farming today, Cornelius has a different perspective to share. He will draw on inspiring examples and over 21 years of experience in rural, international and cooperative economic development to help us understand the potential power we can unleash in conserving our natural resources, fighting climate change and strengthening our economic foundation through innovating together. Then he will go a little deeper with us in clarifying what it will take to shift into this vision for cooperative innovation and will challenge us not to be bystanders in building a strong future for the rural South and southern agriculture.

The trade show is a great place to gather information and shop.

The trade show is a great place to gather information and shop.

Trade Show — Thursday Evening, and all day Friday and Saturday

Businesses, agencies and organizations offering sustainable agriculture supplies, information and services will be available to help you find what you need. A large selection of tools, equipment, seeds, growing aids, literature and catalogs, and many other supplies will be available for you to purchase. Click here to learn more about being a vendor or advertiser.

Studying research posters.

Studying research posters.


Posters — Friday and Saturday

Posters describing programs or recent research relevant to sustainable agriculture and community food systems will be on display for your review. Click here to learn more about displaying a poster.



Sold Out Policy

Space is limited for field trips, short courses and mini courses. If one is sold out, we will immediately indicate that it is sold out on our registration and program web pages. Our online pre-registration system will not allow you to register for a sold out event. But if we receive your mailed-in registration for a field trip or course that has sold out, we will immediately notify you and offer you an alternative. A refund for sold out field trips or courses will be provided if desired.

We do not create waiting lists. If the field trip of your choice is sold out before you secure a ticket, you may standby at departure time to purchase seats that may become available at the last minute.

Though we have never had to cancel a field trip, field trips may be cancelled if minimum registration is not reached. You will be immediately notified and a refund will be provided if we cancel due to low registration.

We do not provide refunds due to inclement weather. But we highly recommend you wear clothing and footwear suitable for January.

Should the conference registration exceed our expectations, dinner tickets may not be available for late registrants.