Tag Archives: agroforestry

2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference to be held Dec. 5 and 6


If you’re interested in local and regional food and agriculture, dealing with farming stressors in healthy ways, practical applications of soil health, value-added products, farm profitability, and other food and agricultural system topics, plan to attend the 2018 Virginia Farm to Table Conference on Dec. 5 and 6 at Blue Ridge Community College’s Plecker Workforce Development Center, Weyers Cave, Virginia.

Virginia Cooperative Extension is partnering with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Agua Fund, Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and many other community partners to bring in engaging and inspirational speakers with broad experience and knowledge of food, farming, and the environment.

This year, speakers will offer their perspectives on the theme “Nourishing Farming, Community, and Hope” and will include Mike Rosmann, a clinical psychologist/farmer from Iowa, who helps farmers deal with stress and anxiety related to the unpredictability of farming; Rev. Heber Brown III of the Black Church Food Security Network, who will provide lively discussion on nourishing local communities; Penn State specialists who will take High Tunnels to the next level and discuss managing soil and pests; Rachel Armistead of Sweet Farm, who will discuss how fermentation may add value to your agricultural products and demonstrate how it’s done; and Dave Montgomery and Anne Biklé, renowned authors who will share the importance of microbial soil health and its relationship to human health.

PLEASE NOTE: There is a free community event open to the public on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the BRCC Plecker Workforce Center. Enjoy an evening talk and conversation with authors David Montgomery and Anne Biklé on the important role that soil ecology plays in restoring land and health. Books will be available for sale and signing.

“We invite everyone interested in food and agriculture to the Virginia Farm to Table Conference,” said Kathy Holm, USDA-NRCS assistant state conservationist for field operations. “People leave this conference feeling inspired by thought-provoking speakers, stimulating panel discussions, networking opportunities, and wonderful locally sourced food from A Bowl of Good.”

Visit the conference website at conference.virginiafarmtotable.org to review the detailed agenda of conference offerings

Participants can select from concurrent session tracks in which producers and practitioners share their local and regional expertise: agroforestry and livestock management, justice and equity in the farming and food system, growing your niche, voices from the field, value-added food production, and practical applications of soil and water health.

Early bird registration pricing is available until Nov. 30, and rates will increase significantly after this date. More details regarding the conference registration are available at: https://tinyurl.com/VAFT2018. For questions, or if you need assistive devices to attend, call (540) 232-6006 or 6010 at least five days prior to the event.


Cameroon forests, wildlife being preserved by farmers using agroforestry

John Munsell (right) interviewed Cameroonian farmers about the benefits of integrating trees into their farms. The farmers included men and women in about equal numbers.

John Munsell (right) interviewed Cameroonian farmers about the benefits of integrating trees into their farms. The farmers included men and women in about equal numbers.

Nov. 15, 2014 – Agroforestry has been introduced in the African nation of Cameroon as a way to enhance agricultural productivity and financial gain, with a side effect of being good for the environment. It turns out that farmers value its environmental benefits foremost.

Associate Professor and Extension Specialist John Munsell conducted a study of Cameroonian farmers who have used agroforestry practices for at least three years. “I wanted to know whether and why they have adapted their practices, what their needs are for continuing, and the impacts of agroforestry farming at the village scale,” he said.

Agroforestry is the integration of tree crops into crop and livestock agricultural systems. Examples include using trees as “live fences” around production sites and as windbreaks, and growing crops in large alleys between rows of trees. Species that provide medicinal products, nuts, food, or livestock fodder often are used. Some tree varieties can increase soil nitrogen, and several provide pollen, enabling farmers to raise bees for honey.



Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension offer workshop on agroforestry practices

BLACKSBURG, Va., Oct. 1, 2014 – Landowners interested in learning more about two agroforestry practices — silvopasture and riparian buffers — can attend a daylong workshop on Saturday, Nov. 8 in Warrenton hosted by Virginia Tech’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Many practices fall under the broad category of agroforestry, which is the integration of trees into agricultural systems. Silvopasture combines trees with forage and livestock production in a mutually beneficial way. Riparian buffers are bands of trees planted parallel to creeks to reduce erosion and intercept pollution from adjacent farmland.

Trees in agroforestry systems can be managed for timber, livestock fodder, fruits, nuts, florals, and more, offering landowners opportunities to produce marketable forest products in addition to agricultural products. Incorporating more trees into the landscape also plays an important role in improving soil health and water quality.