Call for Workshop Presenters – PA Women in Agriculture Conference

Nov. 6 – 8 – Call for Workshop Presenters for the 2011 Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference: Telling Your Story – hosted by The Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network at the Penn Stater in State College PA.

The conference will bring together farmers, growers, educators, agricultural professionals, and policy makers to share knowledge, skills, and stories for building a dynamic sustainable agriculture.

The theme of the conference, “Tell Your Story” will be woven through every aspect of the conference. One of the major benefits that PA-WAgN offers to women in agriculture is networking. Through this networking, women share their stories and their knowledge and develop strong communities that enhance their farming experience, increase productivity, and provide encouragement in their efforts to provide healthy food through environmentally sustainable practices.

Women are key players in sustainable agriculture as farmers, organizers, educators, teachers, consumers, and policy makers. The conference will feature vibrant speakers and offer dynamic interactions, workshops, and farm tours.

Keynote Speaker Karen Washington, an urban farmer, is president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition and founding member of Black Urban Growers (BUGs). With over 20 years of experience working in New York City, Washington has developed abandoned lots into successful community gardens and food initiatives. As the president of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, she works toward her organization’s mission of promoting “the preservation, creation, and empowerment of community gardens through education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing.” Washington is also a Just Food trainer, teaching agriculture and food’s role in social justice issues. Black Urban Growers (BUGs), an organization committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. Through education and advocacy around food and farm issues, we nurture collective black leadership to ensure we have a seat at the table. She helped launched a City Farms Farmer’s Market as Co-Founder of La Familia Verde Community Garden Coalition–an organization that has revitalized some of the Bronx’s poorest neighborhoods through developing more than five community-operated gardens and various community-based organizations. Karen Washington is the driving force behind the revitalization of numerous impoverished Bronx neighborhoods through the establishment of community gardens. She is a strong believer in the connection between food and greater social justice issues.

Workshop and panel topics include:

  • new and beginning farmers,
  • creative marketing,
  • policy and advocacy,
  • urban farming,
  • linking farmers with low-income communities,
  • raising livestock,
  • vegetable and crop farming,
  • business planning,
  • alternative land tenure strategies,
  • balancing farming and life, and more.

The first day of the conference will include educational farm tours where farmers will demonstrate and share their farming strategies such as community-supported agriculture, high tunnel vegetable production, diversified livestock enterprises, and educational efforts on farms. We estimate 300 participants and hope to attract a diverse audience working in many aspects of food and agriculture.

Women in agriculture have amazing stories to tell and this conference will capture the opportunities, struggles, passions, and history of the incredible women that have chosen careers in agriculture. We will also have authors and artists who will tell stories of women farming through non-fiction, literature, art, and film. We will gain encouragement and build partnerships to achieve a more sustainable agricultural system and gain inspiration and companionship needed to survive challenging economic times.

If you are interested in proposing a workshop topic or participating in a panel, please send an email with a title and description of your workshop or presentation (100 words or less) and a brief bio (200 words or less) to Ann Stone at ams39@psu.edu. If selected you will receive a complimentary conference registration.

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