Conference Program Preview

SESSION DESCRIPTIONS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13TH
Session I, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Beginning Farming

SALON E

Land Access Strategies and Opportunities: Farm Incubator Case Studies – Land access for aspiring farmers is one of the greatest barriers to entry, preventing many from launching a farm business. The panel will discuss the exciting new role of the Urban Farm Incubator at Watkins Regional Park in Prince George’s County MD, as well as outlining the relationships among stakeholder agencies that helped propel it, and some lessons learned over the first year of operation. (Jocelyn Tidwell and Jon Berger – ECO City Farms; Kim Rush Lynch, Urban Agricultural Conservation Program of Prince George’s County Soil Conservation District; Ginette Jean, SOFGI Connection LLC; Maiya Lay, Love Bug Farm) 

Business of Farming

SALON G

Financial Issues for Farmers in the Pandemic Era & Beyond – Gain insight about the current global economic situation – including rising interest rates and inflation – to determine what this means for you in the year ahead. Tope Fajingbesi will discuss how you can best plan your finances, including your pricing, for the 2023 season. (Temitope Fajingbesi, Dodo Farms and UMD Institute of Applied Agriculture Central Maryland)

Crop Production

SALON III

Organic Transition: What You Need to Know If you’re curious about transitioning your crops and/or livestock to certified organic, join this session for the details you’ll need. We’ll go over the basics of certified organic, get into the weeds on what transition will look like for your farm, and cover some of the resources available to help you out in the process. (Erin Healy & Adam Diamond, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program)

Environment, Community & Policy

SALON F

Connecting and Amplifying Farmer Voices – Cultivemos is a network for cultivating farmer well-being that addresses the structural root causes of stress and prioritizes BIPOC farmers, farmworkers, and young farmers. Fair Farms is building a movement of community members and will talk about efforts to alleviate key stumbling blocks for farmers using government grants, along with an opportunity to identify changes that could best support them. Join experts from both organizations to connect, navigate and strengthen our voices. (Alexandria Ward & Molly Carey, FarmAid; Devora Kimelman-Block, Fair Farms) 

Grassfed Meat & Dairy

SALON I

Minimizing Drug Use in Small RuminantsSusan Schoenian will walk you through preventative measures for your small ruminants and how to decide when you may need to use drugs. She’ll cover bolstering the immune system, use of essential oils, gut health, and how to make your own Nutri-Drench as well as using dewormers, antibiotics, and vaccinations. (Susan Schoenian, University of Maryland Extension – Retired)

Made Local

SALON II

Herbs for Farms and Farmers: Caring for Yourself and Your Land with Herbs – Join artist and herbalist Ayo Ngozi to learn how to incorporate herbs into your farm for the care of yourself, your team, and for the benefit of your soil and crops. (Ayo Ngozi, The Creative Root)

Soil Health & Regenerative Agriculture

CALVERT BALLROOM

Purposeful Cover Cropping – This interactive session will demonstrate strategic cover crop planning that includes assessing site-specific factors such as soil conditions and field-history, identifying the top needs of the land, identifying and potentially creating gaps in the cash crop rotation to fit cover crops, and critically evaluating the limitations of cover crops. (Sarah Hirsh, University of Maryland Extension; Thelonius Cook, Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest)

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13TH
Session II, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Beginning Farming

SALON E

Navigating Your Resources Within Government Programs – Want to farm and need a place to start? Join us for a panel discussing land access, conservation practices, technical and financial resources, and everything else you’re thinking about. We will provide clear directives and give beginner and urban farmers the space to ask questions as they navigate the resources available to them.  (Bill Tharpe, Maryland Department of Agriculture; Madeline Williams, Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Colleen Kiefer, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Kate Lee, DC Department of Energy and Environment)

Business of Farming

SALON G

Happy Campers – Hipcamp and Airbnb are great ways to get extra cash on your farm, but how do you get started or decide if it’s the right fit? Join Edwin Remsberg to learn how he manages overnight visitors on his twenty acre preserved livestock and hay farm in Harford County Maryland, and lawyer Paul Goeringer to clarify the zoning issues that may have you stumped. (Edwin Remsberg, Maple Grove Farm/Remsberg Inc.; Paul Goeringer, University of Maryland Extension)

Crop Production

SALON III

Cut Flowers by the Numbers: Pricing, Sales, and Marketing – Join seasoned flower farmers to dig into the nitty-gritty of marketing and selling cut flowers. Topics will include: pricing, budgets, sales outlets, and creative marketing. Growing gorgeous flowers is a great start, but knowing how to price and sell them is just as important. (Maya Kosok, Hillen Homestead; Elisa Lane, Two Boots Farm)

Environment, Community & Policy

SALON F

Sowing Seeds with Our Youth – Join to learn how Steam Onward, including Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance & Ujamaa Seeds, are ensuring that the legacy of saving and reclaiming our heirloom seeds is preserved through our youth. Bonneetta will also give a glimpse into the brand new 2023 Seed Catalog. Kathy Anderson, author, will join to share how to connect our youth to nature through children’s books. (Bonnetta Adeeb & Kathy Anderson, Steam Onward & Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance)

Grassfed Meat & Dairy

SALON I

Ecology and Economy: Developing a Self-sufficient Farm Organism – Good ecology is good economics. Join Stewart Lundy to learn how to use practices drawn from biodynamic principles to reduce input and feed costs and increase fertility – all from within the resources of the farm itself. By minimizing externalities and identifying useful weeds on your own land, you can grow abundance. (Stewart Lundy, Perennial Roots Farm)

Made Local

SALON II

Value-Added Dairy & What We Learned Along the Whey! – Yellow Springs Farm has produced award winning goat cheese and yogurt. In this session, Al and Katherine Renzi will introduce you to cheesemaking and yogurt production as a path to sales and profitability for your dairy. Topics discussed will include: research, start-up costs, cheese options, customers, equipment, space requirements, regulations, marketing and sales. (Al and Catherine Renzi, Yellow Springs Farm)

Soil Health & Regenerative Agriculture

CALVERT BALLROOM

Final Year of Organic Grain Transition: Impacts on Soil Health and Crop Productivity – The three-year transition period to organic certification can be a major roadblock to Maryland farmers interested in organic grain production. We need strategies that preserve soil health while maintaining profitability. Join us to hear about the results, impact, and lessons learned from four different organic transition strategies on soil health and crop productivity during the final year of organic transition. (Biwek Gairhe & Ray Weil, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland College Park)

 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13TH
Session III, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Farmer-to-Farmer ChatsBlack Farmer Caucus – Jim Henson Room
Indigenous Farmers Caucus – Salon F
LGBTQAI2S+ Farmer Caucus – Wayne K. Curry Room
Jewish Farmer Caucus – Charles Carroll Room
Veteran Farmer Caucus – Francis Scott Key Room
Veggie Farmers Chat – Salon G
Managing Mental Health and Stress on the Farm – Salon E
What to Expect in the Next Farm Bill – Salon I
Maryland Agriculture Climate Vulnerability Assessment: A Listening Session – Salon II
White Ally to Accomplice Caucus – Salon III

 


SATURDAY, JANUARY 14th
Session IV, 9:30 am – 10:30 am

Beginning Farming

SALON E

Why Urban, Small-Scale and BIPGM Farmers Should Care About Food Safety – BIPGM and small farmers are often left out of conversations regarding produce safety. This interactive session will discuss how food safety regulations can be a barrier for scaling farm and business operations, and what it means to comply with the Produce Safety Rule or GAP certification. We will highlight the benefits and importance of having safe farming operations and realistic Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for your farm’s stability and scalability, as well as training for consumers, volunteers, interns and personnel. A digital toolkit with printable signs, SOPs, checklists and templates will be available to participants. (Crystal Forman, Holistic Wellness and Health; Kimberly Raikes, Whitelock Community Farm)

Business of Farming

SALON G

AgriSolar: Simultaneously Using land for Agriculture and Solar Production – What if solar development and agriculture could co-exist? NCAT’s AgriSolar Clearinghouse project brings people together who can make this dual-use a reality. This session will introduce the AgriSolar project, show examples of current AgriSolar production, and address the issues that farmers face when considering solar on their land. (Chris Lent, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT))

Crop Production

SALON III

Integrated Pest Management Review – Many farmers struggle to diagnose and address their crop problems. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to the management of diseases, insects, mites, weeds including invasive plants, and wildlife. Learn the basic components of a successful program, focusing on accurately diagnosing crop problems, and gain insight about the newest pests in our region, such as spotted lanternflies and jumping worms. (Emily Zobel, University of Maryland Extension – Dorchester County)

Environment, Community & Policy

SALON F

Narrative Justice: Spoons & StoriesThe Brown Girl Wellness, Inc. Narrative Justice Project uses the power of storytelling to transform communities and promote equity and justice. MyStoryMyBlock explores social determinants and various sectors of injustice in communities. Learn how these powerful, first-person stories featuring raw viewpoints from citizens in marginalized and historically oppressed communities are promoting generational change. (Dr. D. Rica Wilson, Brown Girl Wellness, Inc.)

Grassfed Meat & Dairy

SALON I

Greener Pastures: Tips for Managing Your Pastures & Hay Fields – Join us to learn what improvements you could make to have more nutritious and productive pastures and hay fields. Jeff Semler is an Extension Agent in Washington County, MD. His focus areas are dairy, beef, and small ruminants as well as pasture management and forage production under both conventional and organic management. He also raises beef cattle. (Jeff Semler, University of Maryland Extension)

Made Local

SALON II

Navigating Regulations for Value-Added Products & Direct Farm Marketing – Join our speakers as they walk through the regulatory decision trees – pdfs and an online survey tool – to help growers who are interested in value-added production in Maryland. This session will also examine a Legal Guide to Direct Farm Marketing for Maryland Specialty Crop Growers. A representative from West Virginia will discuss regulations there as well. (Margaret Todd & Sarah Everhart, University of Maryland Extension; Kacey Gantzer, WV Department of Agriculture)

Soil Health & Regenerative Agriculture

CALVERT BALLROOM

Interpreting Soil Tests for Established Growers – Calling all established growers with lingering questions about soil fertility in your pastures or crop fields! Daniel and Steffany from Seven Springs Farm Supply will walk you through how to interpret your soil test results and lay out some of your options. (Daniel Sweeney & Steffany Yamada, Seven Springs Farm Supply)

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14TH
Session V, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Beginning Farming

SALON E

Africulture: Eating for Your Ethnic Type – Africulture will define and refine what produce is truly culturally appropriate for personal health for individuals, the environment, and the broader community.(Michael Carter Jr., Africulture/ Carter Farms)

Business of Farming

SALON G

Conflict Resolution for Farm Leadership – Conflict is an inevitable part of any worthwhile endeavor – and properly addressing it can produce transformative results for our operations. Taught by a farmer, this interactive workshop will aid farm owners, operators, and managers in discovering their conflict style. Participants will leave with actionable tools for navigating conflict productively. Utilizing the communication strategies from this session can improve morale and increase employee retention on your farm. (Taylor Kinniburgh, The Baltimore Free Farm)

Crop Production

SALON III

Soil and Plant Sensor-Based Irrigation Management With advances in sensor, software, and telecommunication technologies, a farm’s real-time status (soil/plant/tree/equipment/water) can be monitored accurately with a wireless sensor network for a reasonable cost. In this workshop we’ll present a range of sensors used to monitor soil and plants to make irrigation decisions. (Jay Jayapalan, Woodpecker Microsystems; Michael Protas (Farmer Mike), One Acre Farm)

Environment, Community & Policy

SALON F

Urban Farming, Thrive-ability & Farmtography – We need gardens in food deserts and marginalized communities impacted by generational trauma. The session will also focus on the importance of thrive-ability in historically oppressed communities that lack access to healthy food, and evaluate the power or urban farms as community healing spaces for holistic growth and productivity. Farmer Nell with explain the vital intersections between the power of farming, photography, and healing communities. (Dominic Nell “Farmer Nell” City Weeds, LLC; Dr. D. Rica Wilson Brown Girl Wellness, Inc.)

Grassfed Meat & Dairy

SALON I

Agroforestry: How to Manage Forest-Based Pastureland – There are six recognized types of agroforestry and this session will provide detail – with practical examples – of each application and dive deep into pasture management, introducing forages into tree stands, protecting small trees, fencing, livestock species, shelter, managing disturbance, forage assessment, and stocking rates. (Lee Rinehart, National Center for Appropriate Technology; Mike Davis, National Center for Appropriate Technology)

Made Local

SALON II

More Profits From Your Meats – There is a whole lot more to meat sales beyond selling raw butcher cuts. A smorgasbord more! Think sausages, meat sticks, chilis, pastas, burgers, broths, and more! A little more work leads to a HUGE payoff! Learn how to make a full-time salary from your animals this year. (Elizabeth Riffle, Riffle Farms – American Bison; Kelly Shepherd, What The Farm)

Soil Health & Regenerative Agriculture

CALVERT BALLROOM

Managing Biochar for Soil Health and Carbon – Biochar applications on farm and forest lands can improve soil health, increase resilience, and mitigate climate change. This workshop will introduce important considerations of biochar and soils, and two tools to support biochar applications: National Biochar Atlas and the Dynamic Soil Property Response to Biochar SSURGO interpretation tool in Web Soil Survey. (Rachel Seman-Varner, American Farmland Trust ; Amanda Cather, American Farmland Trust; Kristin Trippe, USDA; Richard Reid, USDA)

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 14TH
Session VI, 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Beginning Farming

SALON E

Transitioning From Homestead Gardener to Market FarmerGoing from home-gardener to growing produce for market sales is a big step. Learn to anticipate what you’ll need to take your garden to the next level and sell through the market(s). (Cindy Conner, Homeplace Earth)

Business of Farming

SALON G

The Road to Land Ownership: Challenges and Opportunities – Purchasing land can seem impossible with high land values, difficult loan logistics, and hefty down payments. However, if you want to invest in better infrastructure for your farm, are ready to transition from paying a lease, and build wealth for you and your family, it is possible. Join to hear from two farmers and a non-profit school on the process of purchasing farm land. (Ann Sutton a.k.a. Farmer Gale, Deep Roots farm; Renard Turner, Vanguard Ranch; Valencia Wood, Mandala School)

Environment, Community & Policy

SALON F

Leveraging Technology to Support Resilient Local Food Systems This session discusses successes, challenges, and lessons learned in using technology to support resilient food systems. Hear how Chesapeake Farm to Table leverages technology to help build sustainable small-scale agriculture in the Baltimore area by running a farmer-managed online marketplace. (Beckie Gurley, Chesapeake Farm to Table; Stefanie Jaeger, Local Food Marketplace )

Made Local

Jim Henson Room

Urban Farming: Getting Realistic About How to Make it Work – Join for an honest discussion with keynote speaker Farmer Chippy about the challenges and opportunities of farming in urban spaces. (Richard Francis “Farmer Chippy,” Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm)

Soil Health & Regenerative Agriculture

CALVERT BALLROOM

Deciding to Verify or Certify? E.O.V. and Real Organic Growers dedicated to improving their soil health and ecological outcomes have options for verification and certification that they may not yet know of. Join this panel to learn about Ecological Outcome Verification from Daniel Griffith of the Robinia Institute and about The Real Organic Project from Erica Coady. (Daniel Firth Griffith, Robinia Institute; Erica Coady, Real Organic Project)

 

PRE-CONFERENCE THURSDAY, JANUARY 12TH

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Grant Writing for Farmers This session is designed for farmers with little-to-no grant writing experience, although the hands-on activities in the second half of the program will be helpful for farmers at any level. It will include an introduction to grants at the local and federal level, overview of the grant submission process, and tips on how to tailor your pitch. We will spend significant time with hands-on activities including a review of two sample request for proposals (RFP), individual pitches in response to those RFPs, and a mock review panel to evaluate and rank sample proposals. You will walk away from this session with a solid foundation to get the money you need! (Caroline Selle, Stepwell Strategies)

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Record Keeping with AirTable If you want to upgrade from Excel, or are still searching for a no to low cost record keeping option for your farm, join us to check out how you could be using AirTable. The platform wasn’t built specifically for farmers, but it sure has all the features they might need. Farmer Jared Planz has carefully built it out to make everything from tracking and entering yields, inputs, plantings, and labor hours year to year a lot easier, whether from a computer or a phone. Amazingly, he did the bulk of this on a free subscription. Join Jared as he gives you the information you need to see if it’s right for you, and to help you build the record keeping system you need for your operation. (Jared Planz, Clagett Farm)

10:00 am – 4:00 pm

How to Make and Sell Value-Added Food Products in MarylandDo you grow perishable produce that you want to turn into shelf-stable food products? Do you dream of starting a home-based food business? Join food safety, marketing, and business planning experts and learn everything you need to understand in order to successfully launch a value-added food product in Maryland. (Neith Little, Shannon Dill, & Dr. Shauna Henley, University of Maryland Extension)

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Hot Topics for Experienced Market Farmers Join this carefully facilitated group discussion on several hot topics that you, as an experienced market farmer in this region, are facing. We know that once folks get past the foundational stages of their farms, different problems and opportunities come to the fore. Let’s dig into those. Topics we will surely visit include: labor, work/life balance, and current market forces. This is a peer-to-peer learning opportunity for those in the business of market farming who have five or more years experience under their belts. (Ellen Polishuk, Plant to Profit)

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

An Afternoon in the Herbalist’s Workshop with Ayo Ngozi Join artist and herbalist Ayo Ngozi to reconnect with sacred plant materials. During this afternoon session, Ayo will guide you in making your own incense and herbal wands, and in exploring basketry. Come ready and open to work with your hands, release your creativity, and have some fun. (Ayo Ngozi, Ancestral Apothecary)

 

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Building a sustainable foodshed from farm and fishery to table