This is a FREE community event offered as part of the 2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference, which will be held at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia on Wednesday, December 5 and Thursday, December 7.
For more information about the conference speakers and panelists, please visit http://conference.virginiafarmtotable.org/more-about-conference/speakers/
Learn more and register at https://tinyurl.com/VAFT2018
An overarching goal of Virginia’s farm-to-table effort is to cultivate deeper, more meaningful relationships with farmers and the broader community so people better understand the challenges and realities of today’s farming, particularly on a community, local, and regional level. To achieve this goal, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and educational partners like USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), work to nourish collaboration and conservation to make farming profitable, durable, sustainable, and resilient. With farming and local agriculture on a good solid footing, rural and urban communities supported and dependent on farming will be more durable, sustainable, and resilient.
An important element of this collaboration is the conservation of critical natural resources such as soil, water, air, and wildlife habitat. In a recent journal article, researchers and scientists of the Soil and Water Conservation Society shared eight broad principles and policies for soil and water conservation (Manale et al., 2018). The principles and policies were developed and shared to educate and inform the farm and conservation-related legislation being considered in the 2018 Farm Bill. The principles and policies are as follows:
- Agricultural soil, water, and associated wildlife and ecosystem resources must be sustainably managed for future generations.
- Sustainable stewardship of agricultural lands depends upon scientifically sound research and effective communication.
- Healthy soils are productive and resilient soils.
- Wetlands and floodplains are essential to long-term resource sustainability.
- Farm bills should incentivize farmers and utilities to protect drinking water.
- Conservation of agricultural lands should not conflict with wildlife conservation.
- An informed public is necessary for sustainable management of soil, water, and associated wildlife and ecosystem resources.
- Responsible conservation management demands accountability.
In sharing these eight principles and policies, the hope is to nourish deeper conversations around ecologically sound soil and water conservation and cultivate ongoing collaboration to benefit Virginia agriculture and communities.
We hope you have your calendars marked and plan to attend the 2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference. Virginia Cooperative Extension, in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition, Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE), Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Virginia 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.
Learn more and register at https://tinyurl.com/VAFT2018
Speakers and panelists will address and share their experiences about the microbial roots of life and health, agricultural behavioral health, food security, food and farm 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 Growing A 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 Newcombe, 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
- 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
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 Growing A 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!
The 2016 Virginia Farm to Table Conference will be of interest to producers, buyers, community and agricultural development officials, policymakers, educators, technical service providers, and food system stakeholders.
This year’s event features a pre-conference tour, along with diverse presentations from national and state experts and practitioners on the practical applications of soil and water health; finding leverage and your niche; local food for all; building a solid business foundation; nutrition and community health; opportunities for military veteran farmers; food system leadership and development; collective impact and local food system level change initiatives.
Registration for the conference is being coordinated in partnership with Blue Ridge Community College’s Workforce and Continuing Education program. Therefore, you will be directed to Blue Ridge Community College’s website as if you were enrolling in a course.
The EARLY BIRD RATE of $40 per day for registration is available through November 30, 2016. The regular registration rate of $60 per day will apply after November 30, 2016.
- Registration for Pre-Conference Tour: Tuesday, December 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Course ID: 5092)
- Registration for Day 1: Wednesday, December 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Course ID: 5096)
- Registration for Day 2: Thursday, December 8 from 8:00 a.m to 4:30 p.m. (Course ID: 5098)
Please note the Early Bird Discount will be applied once the courses are added to your shopping cart on the Blur Ridge Community College enrollment site!
If you encounter any problems during the registration process and have questions, please contact BRCC Workforce and Continuing Education at 540-453-2215.
We hope you have your calendars marked and plan to attend the 2016 Virginia Farm to Table Conference. The most up-to-date conference schedule is available!
The program will be updated as needed in the coming weeks. Registration links are available at http://conference.virginiafarmtotable.org/register/
For registration, Virginia Cooperative Extension is working closely with Blue Ridge Community College’s Workforce and Continuing Education to strengthen the college’s efforts and course offerings in the area of agriculture and farm-to-table careers.
Can Virginia farmers find common ground around the issue of soil health and the management of core principles for better soil function and performance?
Understanding and building your farm’s soil resource is critical for productivity, profitability and sustainability. Of course, soils have inherent and dynamic properties that affect the function and performance of soils. Like a personal bank account, good farmers and producers seek to manage the dynamic processes by making soil health-building deposits and minimizing withdrawals that are soil health-depleting.
At the 2015 Virginia Farm to Table Conference, Ellen Polishuk of Potomac Vegetable Farms shared how she and her colleagues work to grow money and soil with commercial vegetable production. The Common Ground Soil Health profile video below highlights the core principles she uses to build soil health and maintain a positive bank account.
Six (6) additional technical clips were developed in collaboration with Ellen Polishuk of Potomac Vegetable Farms, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Association for Biological Farming, and AE Media. The play list can be accessed at the following link: https://youtu.be/YnWJBegM4ZQ?list=PLuZ_HCbDlptObEcuqWaCkhYhiTS3CP0ua
The video and technical clips were produced as part of a USDA-NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) project entitled, Finding Common Ground: Healthy Farms from the Soil Up.
To register online, please visit http://conference.virginiafarmtotable.org/register