Consider attending the upcoming 2014 Virginia Farm to Table Conference and In-Depth Soil Biology Training with Dr. Elaine Ingham scheduled December 2 – 4.
Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia’s USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Virginia Soil Health Coalition, Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) and community partners have organized an educational opportunity for farmers, market gardeners, food entrepreneurs, community advocates, nutrition and dining service directors, technical service providers, and anyone interested in strengthening Virginia’s food system from the soil up and the connections between nutrition, health and sustainability.
Dr. Elaine Ingham, a globally-recognized soil microbiologist and renowned soil management educator, kicks off the conference with a presentation on soil and community health. Her presentation is followed by Dr. Amy Tucker, a preventative cardiologist with UVA Health System, who speaks on the topic of nourishing healthy people and communities. Dr. Elizabeth Dyck of Organic Growers’ Research and Information Sharing Network (OGRIN) also talks about integrating grains and cover crops into regional food systems as part of a $2 million NIFA-AFRI funded project in the Northeast.
On the first day, panel and discussion options are:
Practical Applications of Soil Health: Dr. Elaine Ingham with Rick Felker of Mattawoman Farms, Don Flegel of USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Eric Walter of Black Bear Composting
Opportunities & Challenges of Value-Added Grain, Feed, and Flour Production: Dr. Elizabeth Dyck with Corwyn Heatwole of Shenandoah Valley Organic, Chris Lawrence of USDA-NRCS, and Philip Witmer of Grazeland Dairy
Nutrition and Health from the Ground Up: Dr. Amy Tucker with Dr. Ted Butchart, ND and Permaculturalist with Virginia Natural Health, Anne Buzzelli, MS RD of BuzzNutrition, and Amy Hicks of Amy’s Garden
Labor Issues for Beginning & Start Up Farmers: Hosted by Dr. Kim Niewolny and Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition
On day two of the conference, attendees have the opportunity of two track options: 1) a main conference agenda which has a focus on scale, ethics, and market development featuring Ann Karlen of Fair Food Philly; Amish organic dairy farmer, naturalist and author David Kline; and concurrent afternoon panels and discussions with growers and practitioners; and 2) an intensive 6-hour soil biology training with Dr. Ingham.
David Kline is an organic dairy farmer from Holmes County, Ohio who has authored several books, including Great Possessions: An Amish Farmer’s Journal, Scratching the Woodchuck: Nature on an Amish Farm, Letters from Larksong: An Amish Naturalist Explores His Organic Farm, and other essays. He is also editor of Farming Magazine: People, Land and Community. David Kline will be speaking Tuesday evening and be available as a conference resource speaker on Wednesday morning.
On the second day, panel and discussion options are:
Interacting With Institutions from Schools on Up: Ann Karlen of Fair Food Farmstand; Andrea Early with Harrisonburg City Public Schools and Virginia Farm to School Liaison; Danny Boyer of Four Winds Farm; and Patrick Simmons of UVA Health System; Moderated by Lauren Arbogast
Season Extension & Optimizing Markets: Chris Mullins of VCE, Greenhouse & Specialty Crops, VSU; Dr. Allen Straw with VT, Area Specialist Horticulture, Small Fruit & Specialty Crops; Clif Slade of VSU’s 43,560 Project Small Farm Outreach Program
Making Sure the Numbers Work for You: Tim long of Farm Credit of the Virginias; Betty Hoge of Central Virginia Small Business Development Center; Peter Callan, VCE Farm Business Management; Moderated by Dale Gardner
Veterans in Agriculture: Issues & Opportunities: Calvin Riggleman of Gourmet Central; Buck Holsinger of Holsinger Homeplace Farms; Wes Runion of USDA-NRCS; and Chip Jones of Stratford Hall Plantation Moderated by JB Daniel of USDA-NRCS
Gathering of Local, Regional, and State Food System Councils: Hosted by Kathi Colen Peck and Spencer Neale
Dr. Ingham of Soil Food Web will help “demystify” soil biology and explain the many ways promoting soil life increases soil productivity and agricultural profitability. Dr. Ingham is the primary author of the excellent Soil Biology Primer, and is world-famous for providing information that is both technically rigorous and highly practical.
What is unique about this year’s conference? It is a more in-depth educational experience on the topic of soil health and biology. So, intensive soil biology training with Dr. Ingham is repeated at two Virginia locations: Weyers Cave (Blue Ridge Community College) on Weds, Dec 3 and Petersburg (Virginia State University) on Thurs, Dec 4, 2014.
During the soil biology training, multiple VA famers with diverse operations and experience also speak. Each day of training includes insights and case studies from at least three Virginia farmers who have been building soil health with cover crops, managed grazing, crop and livestock diversity, no-till, diverse rotations.
As a result, in addition to a full day of mind-opening ideas from speakers on food system topics, participants in the soil biology training also get:
Networking with other like-minded growers.
A great meal made with food from local farms.
Your own copy of the Soil Biology Primer ($20 value)
For CCAs: 4.0 SW CEUs, 0.5 NM CEUs.
For conservation planners: 4.0 NRCS CEUs
For VA DCR-certified NMP planners: 4.0 CEUs
For further details link to http://conference.virginiafarmtotable.org/ and join in an opportunity to explore the world of ‘from farm to table’!