All posts by ConferenceAdmin

Dr. Rosmann’s conference presentation: Tough Times Can Use Better Farmers

Dr. Mike Rosmann, fourth generation Iowa farmer and clinical psychologist of Ag Behavioral Health, kicked off the 2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference on Wednesday, December 5 with a presentation entitled, Tough Times Can Use Better Farmers.’ He addressed the behavioral health challenges and contributors to stress that often face agricultural producers and their families and communities. He provided resources for managing stress and other behavioral health issues. His contact information and presentation is below.



The Ins and Outs of Packaging and Bottling Foods for Entrepreneurs

With continued interest in local and regional foods, there are emerging opportunities to advance food innovations and entrepreneurs. On Thursday, December 6 at the Virginia Farm to Table Conference, there will be two workshop sessions on the ins and outs of packaging and bottling local and regional foods. The sessions will be coordinated by Virginia Food Works and Virginia Cooperative Extension and will feature Joell Eifert director of Virginia Tech’s Food Innovations Program. Dr. Theresa Nartea extension specialist with Virginia State University will join Joell and talk about different aspects of marketing and promoting your food products.

If you have a product sample that you would like Joell to test for you, please bring a sample with you to the workshops!

2018 Conference Schedule at-a-Glance

To download a PDF version of the 2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference Schedule at a Glance document, please visit:

To register for the 2018 Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference, please visit Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Program Registration site at



















Five Good Reasons to Take a Seat at the 2016 Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference

By Liz Kirchner, Eric Bendfeldt, and French Price

Pull up a chair. Gathering this winter, appropriately in the breadbasket of the Shenandoah Valley,  is Virginia’s fifth annual Farm-to-Table Conference inviting you to join farmers, chefs, food historians, scientists, community development specialist — an ecology of food systems thinkers and ground-breakers — to join the conversation and emerging action around local food. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, here are five more reasons why you should take your seat at the table.

5) Pre-Conference Tour of Shenandoah Valley farms and farm-to-table initiatives on Tuesday, December 6.

4) Producer-Buyer Networking Event on Wednesday, December 7, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. There will be food product samples, free handouts and information, and… FREE ICE CREAM!!!!

3) Great Conversation Shared over Yummy Local Food! — A Bowl of Good will again cater the event and be sourcing as much of the food and drink from the Shenandoah Valley as possible. Expect to leave the conference feeling not just well fed, but nourished with great conversation and foods that were raised with care by farmers who are also attending the conference.

2) Ellen Kahler of Vermont Farm to Plate and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and other thought-provoking speakers and practitioners such as Alex Hitt of Peregrine Farm, Chef Michael Twitty, Reverend Nancy Yarnell, and Glyen Holmes of the New North Florida Cooperative.

1) Dr. Ricardo Salvador, Director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food and Environment Program, will be opening the conference and sharing his insights and expertise on the challenging question “Does the ‘Food System’ Need Fixing?”.

So join us at the 2016 Virginia Farm to Table Conference and discover your own reasons!

Virginia SARE Makes Sustainable Real

By Liz Kirchner (

Every morning, farmers and researchers all over Virginia – all over the nation, really – stand in their pastures, forests, vineyards, breweries, warehouses, and fields thinking, “I’ll bet I can improve my system to be more economically viable, more environmentally sound, and better not just for my own family, but for everyone in my community. What if I could make that change?”

I’m Liz Kirchner, Virginia’s education support specialist for the USDA’s Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant program. It’s grant funding like SARE’s, and the networking and technical support that come with it, that make those “What if”s realities.
sosareRight now, producers and researchers throughout Virginia are using SARE grants to explore and make evidence-based changes to their farming systems and marketing approaches. They’re improving adoption of agroforestry and silvopasture systems in the Shenandoah Valley, integrating row covers into specialty crop systems in the Coastal Plain, and investigating the profitability of organic baby ginger production in the Appalachians.

As education support and outreach specialist, my job is to improve access to SARE educational opportunities and grant funding. I come to SARE with agronomy degrees from two land-grant universities and a career in editing and communication. I’ll be shaking hands, producing multimedia content, and talking about SARE, so that farmers and researchers all over Virginia can ask those “What if…” questions every morning, then answer them, increasing our knowledge of sustainable techniques, moving us all closer to sustainable food systems that support profitability, environmental stewardship, and social well-being all over Virginia – the whole nation, really.

Contact me with questions and ideas about SARE and healthy food access at