Conference Details & Registration
An Activist? Me? Making Change in Your Community (2 part workshop)
- 10:00 a.m.—session 1, 11:00 a.m.—session 2 – Bonnie Preston – Most of the work to write, publicize, and pass the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance in eight towns in Maine was done by women. Learn how they did it, and how you can apply the same principles in your town, to bring the change that you believe is needed. The workshop will primarily be small group discussion and sharing of your ideas, in ways that will inspire and motivate you to be part of the food revolution.
Introduction to Holistic Management Financial Planning (2 part workshop)
- 10:00 a.m.—session 1, 11:00 a.m. session 2 – Susan Beal, PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture – Workshop description pending
Engaging Children on the Farm
- 10:00 a.m. – Maggie Robertson & daughters Claire and Evelyn, M&M Robertson Farm LLC; Judi Radel & sons Jake, Seth, Boo and daughter Sarah, Yeehaw Farm – Join Maggie Robertson and Judi Radel and their six children (ages 4 through 15) as they encourage parents to keep their children involved in farming. Hear firsthand accounts from the kids what it’s like to grow up on a farm as well how Maggie and Judi manage different farming practices with children in tow. Watch a short video clip of the all the kids and their “tell all” biographies. Honest accounts of keeping the kids involved in the farm and how not to lose your sanity. Hear the stories from the parents and the kids, learn from their mistakes and what they have learned over the years all in an effort to keep “family” in the family farm.
Field to Florist: Growing & Marketing Fresh Cut Flowers
- 10:00 a.m. – Deb Fisher, Deb’s Flower Farm; Susan Haney, Long Lane Flower & Garden; Katy Miller, Dillon Floral Corporation – Have you wondered if the splash of color from flowers in your field could also make a splash at market? Cut flowers may sound intimidating – but intimidation is easily alleviated with good information from women who make a living from flowers. Now is the time to dive into flowers as demand for sustainably raised, local flowers is expanding! If you’re already growing flowers, have you thought about ways to access new markets including wholesale distributors or directly to customers planning events? In this session we’ll hear from women who are both flower growers and florists, and a wholesaler about their experiences growing, designing and buying local cut flowers. Plenty of time is reserved in this session for questions and a discussion about ways we can work together to bring local flowers into flower shops and on to party tables!
Together We Market: Why Banding Together to Sell Farm Fresh Products Works
- 10:00 a.m. – Winifred McGee, Penn State Extension – For many farmers, cooperation and collective action in marketing can be keys to survival and success in a rapidly changing food system. It may be difficult for individual farmers to maintain the steady flow of high-quality product required to establish a consistent presence in the market place or to take advantage of farm-to-institution programs, and “going solo” often keeps producers from taking advantage of size economies in processing, transportation, and advertising. For some agricultural producers, it’s also difficult to run a farming operation and, at the same time, devote the attention and energy required to develop the specialized skills and personal contacts needed for successful marketing. This workshop will provide the rationale for establishing a Collaborative Marketing Group (CMG), share case studies where farmers banding together has worked, and introduce the 5 steps for starting a CMG.
It’s Your Path, It’s Your Life, It’s Your Farm: Create Your Identity
- 11:00 a.m. – Katie College, Stoney Creek Iris & Cool Beans CSA; Maggie Robertson, M&M Robertson Farm – Whether you are just starting out in farming and trying to decide what to produce, or you are seeking balance through re-visioning your farming operation, this workshop will help you define your path. Katie College of Stoney Creek Valley Farm and Maggie Robertson of M&M Robertson Farms, LLC, have both gone through a lot of trial and error, and introspection, in order to define their own path for themselves and their farms. Join Katie and Maggie as they share their experiences and the methods they have used to guide their farming lives. Maggie will lead some practical exercises for setting goals and priorities, and for self-evaluation; Katie will provide insight on using the results to shape your business plan. You will come out of this workshop with a valuable set of tools you can use in determining your own path.
Ewe Can Do It! And We’re Here To Help!
- 11:00 a.m. – Laurie Hubbard, PA Sheep & Wool Growers Association – The PA Sheep & Wool Growers (PSWGA), in cooperation with the American Sheep Industry (ASI), has implemented an Industry Mentoring Program. While PSWGA recognizes the need for expansion in the sheep and wool industry and embraces ASI’s “Let’s Grow” campaign we also know there is a shortage of credible resources available to assist new producers. The Industry Mentoring Program is an informational source for new producers that have questions or need guidance as they find their place in our industry. If you have questions such as: where to buy sheep or sell lambs/wool, what are your feeding and grazing options, have production/management questions and business management issues? Visit PSWGA at http://www.pasheep.com and contact a qualified shepherd near you today! They offer seasoned shepherds’ to assist you in your county or region of Pennsylvania as well as specialized mentors in several categories.
Are You Ready For Market?
- Brian Moyer, Penn State Extension – 11:00 a.m. – All the time and energy farmers spend in raising fresh, high quality food can be for naught if they cannot effectively sell it or haven’t developed a market for it. Bad displays, sloppy signage, and appearance can ruin all your hard work. Attendees will use handouts to evaluate various market displays shown on a power point presentation to help them improve their own displays whether they are selling produce or meats at their farm, farmer’s market, or CSA pick up. We will discuss, as a group, their observations of the displays that were shown. For selling to restaurants, participants will learn how to connect with chefs, create invoices, payment terms and packaging options for direct-to-wholesale markets. After this presentation, the attendee will be able to: Create eye-catching displays and effective signage; have invoicing and billing options for direct-wholesale-marketing (restaurants); and know how to present yourself, your farm, and your products to your customers.
Challenges in Bringing a Life Partner on Board with a Farming Lifestyle
- 1:00 p.m. – Katie College, Stoney Creek Iris & Cool Beans CSA; Heidi Secord, Josie Porter Farm – You’ve learned to do regular maintenance on your tractor, fine-tune your soil, and to balance your financial records. But how do you keep a relationship in good working order on the farm? Two seasoned farmers will share their experiences and strategies to nurture your relationship with your partner. They’ll discuss ways to cope with and encourage a partner who’s not enthusiastic about farming, and ways to work in harmony with a partner under pressures of farming and managing and running a business together.
Choosing the Right Certification for Your Farm
- 1:00 p.m. – Susan Beal, PASA/Food Alliance; Emily Lancaster, Animal Welfare Approved; Maggie Robertson, Certified Naturally Grown & M&M Robertson Farm LLC; Kyla Smith, PA Certified Organic – Food Alliance Certification, Certified Naturally Grown, Certified Organic, Animal Welfare Approved: What are these certifications and are they right for your farming operation? Join Susan Beal, Maggie Robertson, and Emily Lancaster for a detailed discussion on what is involved for each of these different programs, including the requirements for each one and the process for becoming certified.
I Pick That One! Sheep Selection Tools
- 1:00 p.m. – Melanie Barkley, Penn State Extension & Maple Hollow Farm – Sheep selection should involve more than just visual selection characteristics. This workshop will discuss selection tools that are available and how to combine operation goals with production benchmarks and visual appraisal to select the best animals for your farm. Barkley will also discuss an often overlooked part of the selection process, developing culling strategies. Not all sheep are created equal and not all farms are created equal. Choosing the best sheep that match farm resources can be a challenge. Ms. Barkley will explain how she has used various tools to select sheep that work best with the resources available on her farm and that also meet the goals of her operation. Hands on activities will help participants take a closer look at their own selection principles.
- 1:00 p.m. – Dru Peters, Sunnyside Farm – Business planning is a step by step process that requires some basic, but tough to answer questions for most people. While showing and demonstrating (and asking for volunteers to demonstrate one of their on farm business practices for profit and loss) our business units, I’d also talk about the toughest part of business planning for anyone: getting real with the dollar amount spent every year, understanding debt and compound interest (how it can work for or against you), and just how to track that information so that real numbers can be projected for the coming year and then tracked month by month.
Social Media for Effective Marketing Connections
- 1:00 p.m. – Sarah Cornelisse, Penn State Extension – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and foursquare are some of the social media tools that many farm and food businesses are finding indispensable for getting exposure to potential new buyers as well as maintaining contact with their existing customers. This workshop will help novice and experienced direct-marketers to enhance the networks they build through social media, learning how to use popular social media tools to reach out to consumers, while gaining an appreciation of customers’ expectations for making everyday connections in the marketplace. In addition, participants will learn how to measure the impact of social media activity, to get the best return for the time and attention invested.
Infrastructure: How to Design It, How to Build It, How to Finance It
- 2:00 p.m. – Deb Brubaker, Village Acres CSA; Lyn Garling, Over the Moon Farm; Chris Wise, Friends Farm – Workshop description pending
- 2:00 p.m. – Dru Peters, Sunnyside Farm – Sunnyside Farm markets their farm and farm products in 25 plus ways, from small things like talking to friends to national and international coverage in publications and news broadcasts and everything in between. What is more important is to have a focused, concentrated message (brand management is what it is called in the business world) as to what is available from a farm and why people should be motivated to seek that out. Sunnyside Farm is currently sold out of every offering they have made so far this year. Preselling has made a huge difference in planning and budgeting for the year at Sunnyside Farm, and the ability to do so can make the difference between a farm making it or not.
Mob Grazing for Beginners
- 2:00 p.m. – Judi Radel, Yeehaw Farm – A workshop dedicated to getting started in the world of mob grazing, a type of rotational pasturing for livestock. Start up costs, where to purchase items needed for mob grazing, “how to” hands on instructions on setting up fencing and fence chargers and a general overview to the basics of successful mob grazing. Learn a few tricks of the trade and what a difference mob grazing can make on your farm. In two short years, learn how mob grazing has improved soil fertility, brought back nature and returned Yeehaw Farm to a successful, profit turning farm.
Counselors in Training
- 2:00 p.m. – Gay Rodgers, Hameau Farm – Workshop description pending
Keeping Fresh Produce Safe Using Good Agricultural Practices
- 2:00 p.m. – Peggy Fogarty-Harnish – Outbreaks of foodborne illness and product recalls traced to fresh fruits and vegetables have placed farm food safety on everyone’s list of concerns. Consumers and wholesale buyers are increasingly demanding assurances that the fresh produce they buy is safe to eat. Food safety legislation before Congress will no doubt lead to new government food safety standards and regulations that may affect your operation. Growers in northeastern states tend to have smaller farms that grow multiple crops over a short growing season. Among these small-scale growers, female farmers are a unique sub-set who heavily rely on sales through local, specialized wholesale marketing channels, such as produce auctions, cooperatives, and small-scale distributors. This 45 minute presentation, will deliver science-based, practical guidelines and materials farmers can use to evaluate and document their farm food safety practices to reduce risk to farmers and their customers.