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Servant Leadership and Courageous Conversations at the 2019 Virginia Farm to Table Conference

We hope you have your calendars marked and plan to attend the 2019 Virginia Farm to Table Conference. The theme for this year is servant leadership and courageous conversation.  Virginia Cooperative Extension, in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation ServiceVirginia Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE)Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), LD&B Insurance and Financial Services, Virginia Farm Bureau FederationVirginia Foundation of Agricultural Innovation and Rural Sustainability (VAFAIRS), and community partners present the eighth annual Virginia Farm to Table Conference on Thursday, December 5  and Friday, December 6, 2019, at Blue Ridge Community College’s Plecker Workforce Development Center in Weyers Cave, VA.

The planning committee is pleased to have Virginia’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services  Jewel H. Bronaugh, Ph.D., open the conference on Day 1. Dan Goerlich, Ph.D., associate director of Virginia Cooperative Extension will kick-off Day 2 with remarks on service, leadership, and conversation.

The planning committee has put together a solid core of speakers and practitioners for the two-day conference. Speakers and practitioners who may be of interest to you and your organization include:

  • Elnian Glibert of ZingTrain
  • Bob Muth of Muth Family Farm
  • Dr. Timothy Woods of the University of Kentucky
  • Amani Olugbala of Soul Fire Farm
  • Danial Austin of Green Sprig Ag
  • Charlie Wade of Deep Roots Milling
  • Sarah Cohen of Route 11 Potato Chips
  • Nancy Bruns of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works and J. Q. Dickinson Appalachain Mercantile
  • Keith Ohlinger of Heritage Hill Farm
  • J. B. Daniel of Virginia USDA-NRCS
  • Matt Booher of Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • And Others.

Speakers and panelists will address and share their experiences about The Art of Giving Great Service, Servant Leadership, Bottomline Organizational Change, Soil Management for Organic Farmers, Livestock and Grazing Management, Courageous Conversation: The What and How?, Nuts and Bolts of Values-Based Farming and Marketing, Growing and Marketing Small Fruit, and Dismantling Biases. There will be four value chain case studies presented during the concurrent sessions including Route 11 Potato Chips, Common Grain Alliance, and others. Additionally, participants will have the flexibility for water cooler conversations and follow-up with conference speakers.

On Thursday evening, there will be Farm-to-Table Networking at the Granary at Valley Pike Farm Market with hors d’oeuvres and live music.

More details about the conference will be coming soon but mark your calendars for December 5 and 6! You will be challenged and inspired!

Learn more and register at https://tinyurl.com/2019VAF2TRegistration

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!

Registration for the 2018 Virginia Farm-to-Table Conference: “Nourishing Farming, Community, and Hope” is now open!

The registration site for the 2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference is now available at https://tinyurl.com/VAFT2018.

For a glance of conference sessions, please visit: https://wp.me/a2Lx3m-t9

Virginia Cooperative Extension, in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation ServiceVirginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher CoalitionVirginia Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE)Virginia Farm Bureau FederationVirginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), and community partners, present the seventh annual Virginia Farm to Table Conference on December 5 – 6, 2018 at Blue Ridge Community College’s Plecker Workforce Development Center in Weyers Cave, VA.

Speakers and panelists will address and share their experiences about the microbial roots of life and health, agricultural behavioral health, food security, social justice, growing their market, food system development, silvopasture, agroforestry, and intensive greenhouse and high tunnel production!

The conference planning committee is pleased to have Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring open the conference on Day 1. Dr. Ed Jones director of Virginia Cooperative Extension and Jack Bricker state conservationist of Virginia’s USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service will kick-off Day 2 with a discussion about collaboration and working together.

The conference planning committee has put together a good core of speakers and has made significant progress on the agenda.  Trainers and speakers who may be of interest to you and your organization include these experts:

  • Dr. Mike Rosmann, Clinical Psychologist of Agricultural Behavioral Health and fourth generation farmer from Harlan, Iowa
  • The Reverend Dr. Heber Brown III, Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and founder of the Black Church Food Security Network in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Dr. David Montgomery, Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington and author of Dirt: The erosion of civilizations, The hidden half of nature: The microbial roots of life and health, and A growing revolution: Bringing our soil back to life
  • Anne Bikle, Biologist and Landscape Architect of Dig2Grow and co-author of The hidden half of nature: The microbial roots of life and health
  • Michael Reilly, Co-founder and Executive Director of Slow Money Central Virginia
  • Dr. Elsa Sanchez, Professor of Horticultural Systems Management at Penn State University
  • Dr. Beth Gugino, Associate Professor of Vegetable Pathology at Penn State University
  • Hana Newcomb, Co-owner of Potomac Vegetable Farms
  • Steve Gabriel, Co-founder of Wellspring Forest Farm and agroforestry specialist with Cornell University Extension and author of Silvopasture and Farming in the Woods
  • Mark Dempsey, Farm Services Coordinator of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association
  • Patryk Battle, Gardener and cook of Living Web Farms
  • Catherine Bukowski co-author of the Community Food Forest Handbook
  • Kirk Ballin, Program Coordinator of AgrAbility Virginia
  • Beth O’Connor, Executive Director of Virginia Rural Health  Association
  • Karen Tanner, Extension Agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • Rachel Armistead of Sweet Farm
  • Graze 300 VA and Virginia Forage and Grassland Council session.

On Wednesday evening, there will be a public lecture and book signing with Dr. David Montgomery and Anne Bikle authors of Dirt: The erosion of civilizations, The hidden half of nature: The microbial roots of life and health, and A growing revolution: Bringing our soil back to life. An ice cream social and producer-buyer gathering will precede the public lecture.

More details about the conference will be coming soon but mark your calendars for December 5 and 6! You will be challenged and inspired!

Share Your Feedback!

The planning committee would like to hear your thoughts on the 2017 Virginia Farm to Table Conference – Let us know what you loved and what we can improve on.

If you attended the Conference, be sure to submit your evaluation at tinyurl.com/2017F2TConferenceFeedback

We hope those that attended had a great time, made new connections, and took away ideas that can be applied to businesses and Virginia’s food system!  A special thank you to our attendees, speakers, moderators, sponsors, and partners for making this Conference the best yet!

Special Workshop with David Montgomery and Anne Bikle: Friday, December 7, 2018, Petersburg, VA

The learning and fellowship doesn’t end after the Virginia Farm to Table Conference (December 5-6).

Attend this special workshop on Friday, December 7th in Petersburg, VA with David Montgomery and Anne Bikle authors of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, The Hidden Half of Nature: the Microbial Roots of Life and Health, and Growing A Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back To Life.

Cost of registration is $25 and includes lunch.

To register, please visit https://tinyurl.com/realdirt18 or call Cyndi Marston at (540) 232-6010.

 

 

 

Virginia SARE Makes Sustainable Real

By Liz Kirchner (eliza15@vt.edu)

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 eliza15@vt.edu.