SAWG's Conference Coming to Little Rock

Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference will be January 23–26, 2019 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group’s 28th annual conference is for committed organic and sustainable farmers, researchers, and community leaders serious about creating more vibrant community food systems. They attend the event for practical information on organic and sustainable vegetable, livestock, flower and specialty crop production, unique marketing strategies, urban farming, farm to school, business and finance management, community food systems development, in-field and online tools, food justice and equity, useful federal farm programs, and agriculture policy developments. The event offers informative pre-conference courses and field trips, practical conference sessions, networking and a trade show. Each year, participants tell us they go home with key information they use immediately to improve their operations.

This year, our keynote speaker is Cornelius Blanding. His work experience includes business and project development, management, and marketing. Blanding has worked as a small business development and management consultant, managed a multi-million-dollar revolving loan fund, served as a domestic and an international project director, and is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.

Below are just a few reasons producers and ag leaders attend.

  • Our presenters are outstanding in their fields. But when they are not working the fields, we are thrilled we can get them to come inside for a spell and share their knowledge and experience at our conference.

  • The conference offers session tracks geared toward new farmers. The sessions empower and inspire these farmers in running a successful and profitable farm business. We recognize that the young farmers are the future of our agricultural system, bringing technology into the fields with them.

  • Our event is also female farmer friendly. It's not some quota we are filling, it's just naturally how we develop our program of experts. The conference is a great way to network with other women farmers, learn best practices and share ideas about balancing farm work and raising a family.

  • We believe sustainable solutions depend on the involvement of the entire community, and that includes minority and limited-resource farmers. Southern SAWG strives to reflect that in our annual conference programming with sessions led by minority producers. We want to see a South with an agricultural system that is ecologically sound, economically viable, socially just, and humane.

Wait. Can I mention this again—28 years of continuous conferences from Southern SAWG? We’ve developed a tremendous following and think 28 years is a pretty great accomplishment.

Schedule available at: www.ssawg.org/conference

Shari Hawley