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Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food & Farm Conference

January 6 to 8, in Grass Valley
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Info: Full weekend/$150, Saturday/$105, Sunday/$75, Friday farm tour/$80; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Nevada Union High School; 11761 Ridge Rd., Grass Valley; (530) 265-2343; foodandfarmconference.com

Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food & Farm Conference is not solely for the career farmer. It is for the rancher, the farmer, the homesteader, the foodie.

The two-day conference, now in its seventh year, features internationally recognized speakers, as well as hands-on activities, farm tours, and workshops.

“Whatever new piece of homestead you want to get going, this is the perfect place,” said Malaika Bishop, co-executive director of Sierra Harvest.

Here’s how to attend the conference if you happen to be a novice to all things farming:  

Friday is a bonus day and not included in the cost of the conference, however, you still need to purchase a separate ticket to attend. The day is host to two optional workshop/farm tours, but the mushroom cultivation workshop is sold out, so we won’t even go into that. The other Friday option is a farm tour of Elster Ranch and Fulcrum Farm.

In the morning, participants will be invited to learn about the holistic ranching of cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep on Elster Ranch. After lunch the tour will continue to Fulcrum Farm. Here participants will hear about biodynamic soil and learn hands-on what it takes to make compost that will add to the health of their soils at home.

Saturday welcomes three speakers to the stage: Elaine Ingham, Greg Judy, Ben Hartman. All three will be speaking in the morning, and in the afternoon each will take a group of attendees to talk more in-depth about their specific area of expertise.

Hartman is a vegetable farmer who uses a philosophy developed by Toyota, yes, that Toyota, to minimize waste on small farms and homesteads. The skills he advocates for can be transferred to many aspects of life, thus making this an ideal breakout session for the non-career farmer.

“I myself have a homestead and have gained so much knowledge [from Hartman],” Bishop said, explaining how he had helped her streamline her day-to-day tasks to produce a better, more efficient product.

On Sunday things get really interesting, with workshops including everything from training livestock herding dogs, to organic wine making, to the art and science of food preservation. Pick and choose which workshops you want to attend to fully customize your conference experience.


How To Get Involved

Did you know that, according to the USDA Census of Agriculture, working farm and ranch land in Nevada County recently dropped from 70,167 acres to 42,114 acres? As a result of this alarming stat, the Sierra Harvest Farm Institute is launching programs to support farmers and ranchers in Nevada County to be prosperous and successful. Do you answer yes to any of the below questions?

• Learning to farm? Looking for a job in agriculture?

• Ready to launch your own business?

• Have farmable land? Need farmable land?

If so, visit sierraharvest.org to learn more about these farm institute projects that focus on building successful farms and ranches in Nevada County.

 
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June 9, 2017