The 14th Annual Farming for the Future Conference will be held at the Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel in State College, Pennsylvania, February 3, 4, and 5, 2005. Early bird registration ends January 7; scholarships are available. To learn more about the Farming for the Future conference or to register online, visit http://www.pasafarming.org/. You may also call 814-349-9856 to request a full brochure.
Many past civilizations could not sustain themselves because they could not sustain the environment that supported them. Despite our best intentions, we are making little progress in producing an environment that is capable of sustaining our own civilization. We can begin to make significant progress, however, once we begin to change the way we make decisions.
This year’s Farming for the Future conference takes a hard look at the many connections between agriculture and health. The chosen theme – Reclaiming Health: Nourishing Our Farms and Families — delves into the links between soil as a foundation of all health to the relationship between government subsidies and childhood obesity, presented by Bill Sanda of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Some of the nation’s leading experts will present informative workshops on how the food system got to where it is today and how we can influence where it is going. These health-themed workshops are woven throughout the conference program, which is comprised of the best in production, marketing and advocacy information. Below you will find a synopsis of conference highlights. A full brochure is available at http://www.pasafarming.org/ or by calling 814-349-9856.
Allan Savory’s keynote address will set the tone when he speaks to how changing the way we make decisions can improve the quality of our lives and enhance the environment that sustains us. Beyond healthy farms, forests and ecosystems, Savory proposes that setting healthy goals for ourselves and making decisions based on reaching those goals will have a profound effect on our businesses, our lives, and our communities. Jim Weaver, the only Certified Educator for Holistic Resource Management in Pennsylvania, will be on-hand to deliver two workshops for conference attendees interested in delving deeper into holistic management principles.
Make better eating choices by learning how to decipher food labels, use food as medicine, and eat for a sustainable world. If you would like to expand your knowledge of the connection between human health and agriculture, consider attending the pre-conference health track on Thursday.
Soil Health & Cropping Systems
With a generous grant from the League of Women Voters, we are able to offer a series of workshops on soil stabilization and enhancement aimed at improving farm profitability while decreasing damaging farm run-off. The line-up includes a look at the rotational cover crop system Anne and Eric Nordell have been perfecting over many years, Steve Groff’s “Permanent Cover Cropping System,” and an innovative “organic no-till” system from the Rodale Institute’s Jeff Moyer.
Livestock producers can look forward to an “Ask the Expert” panel, featuring workshop presenters Gearld Fry, Tom Weaver, Jerry Brunetti, and Dr. Hubert Karreman. Other topics include the importance of trace minerals to livestock production and using pastured poultry as a centerpiece for your farm.
Year-round Produce & Uncommon Fruits
CSA managers from Tait Farms and Village Acres will share their combined experiences raising, storing, and marketing winter crops. Half-Pint Farm owners Mara and Spencer Welton will share tips on growing micro-veggies for macro-profits. Lee Reich will show us how to take an uncommon approach to growing for market in “Uncommon Fruits with Commercial Potential.” And bramble growers Ron Stanley and Mike Byers will lead a discussion on growing raspberries and blackberries for market.
Ag enthusiasts can learn how to start successful “Institutional Purchasing” projects and “Buy Local Campaigns” through two back-to-back workshops. We will also hear from farmers and chefs who have built a strong network of direct, local purchasing in southwest Pittsburgh. Other featured speakers include Bernadine Prince and Ann Yonkers, founders of the FRESHFARM Markets in Washington D.C.
Policy and Activism
Give those corporations with “pouring rights” at public schools the boot. Learn some strategies that have worked from Mike Tabor. Or allow Marion Nestle to expose for you the connection between government subsidies and childhood obesity. If you like beautiful photos, you’ll enjoy hearing from farmers who attended the Terra Madre conference in Italy when they share their new global perspectives through stories and photos.
The 2005 workshop “bill of fare” will satiate participants’ appetites for usable information, philosophical stimulation, and networking opportunities. But save room for Marion Nestle’s closing keynote. In Nestle’s book Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, she points out that 40 percent of the American population will be obese by 2010 if current trends in public policy and eating continue. In addition to obesity, other degenerative diseases are the result of industry-encouraged eating habits. Ms. Nestle’s message may not be sugarcoated, but she will give you something to chew on for your ride home and the rest of the growing season.
The 14th annual Farming for the Future Conference is sponsored in part by: Eberly Poultry Farms, Fertrell Company, Lady Moon Farms, Lancaster Ag Products, McGeary Organics, Moyer’s Chicks, Natural Science Organics, Organic Unlimited, Organic Valley Family of Farms, PA Dept. of Agriculture, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, Penn State University, Pennsylvania Certified Organics, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Rodale Institute, Spiral Path Farm, Stone Soup, Water Resource Education Network, Watershed Agricultural Council.