The NOFA-VT Annual Winter Conference is Vermont's pre-eminent gathering of the local food community, bringing together more than 1,500 organic farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, educators, chefs, policy makers, researchers, foragers and consumers. The conference theme, Community and Ecological Resilience: Building an Enduring and Adaptable Food System will address the need to adapt agriculture to be more resilient given increasingly dramatic weather events and climate conditions. New this year: several day-long seminars for farmers and homesteaders on Friday, a seed swap, and a dinner and dance Saturday night.
The conference is at UVM (Feb 11-12) and Burlington's Main Street Landing (February 10). Browse workshops and learn all the details at http://nofavt.org/annual-events/winter-conference or call 802-434-4122 for more information. Save on registration by volunteering! Also, there is a scholarship available for flood impacted farmers, providing free registration for up to 2 people per farm. Contact the office for details.
The conference has something for everyone: For veggie/fruit producers: Three of the Friday seminars and more than 25 weekend workshops are intended for beginning to advanced commercial fruit and vegetable growers. Topics include soil health, food safety, pricing, greenhouse management, and more. Friday seminars will cover Weed Management in a Wetter, Warmer Climate, with Geo Honigford, Dr. Lewis Ziska, and Dr. Eric Gallant; Renewable Energy Options On-Farm and Alternative Fuels for Greenhouses, with a variety of industry experts and local farmers; and Advanced Orchard Health for Sustainable Fruit Production with Michael Phillips. Veggie and fruit farmers may also be interested in Organic Beekeeping with Ross Conrad.
For dairy/livestock farmers: More than 20 weekend workshops are intended for beginning to advanced dairy and livestock farmers. Topics include pasture management, fencing, financial management, grain and oil crops, and more. Interested in learning to do your own butchering? Check out our Friday seminar Nose-to-Tail Butchering with Sam Fuller, Frank Pace and Sam Ehrenfeld.
For those interested in alternative energy: Renewable Energy Options On-Farm and Alternative Fuels for Greenhouses is one of the day-long Friday seminars, and will focus on bringing renewable energy systems from theory to practice on your farm. The first half of this full-day workshop will provide an overview of the on-farm auditing process used to identify energy conservation and efficiency opportunities. Encore Redevelopment and AllEarth Renewables will discuss options for financing energy projects and group net metering. The second half of the day will look at on-farm solutions for using alternative energy to heat greenhouses including cord wood gasifiers, wood pellets and aerobic composting.
For gardeners, homesteaders and eaters: More than 40 weekend workshops are for folks who don’t farm for a living: gardeners, homesteaders, and people who just love good, local food. From backyard poultry to seedsaving, engaging youth to fermenting your own fruit wines, there’s sure to be something for everyone. This year’s conference features several hands-on workshops especially for localvores who want to increase their cooking skills – and an all-day Friday seminar for those who want to learn how to butcher their own meat from nose to tail.