Cutting-edge farming and ranching practices featured at this year’s local Sustainable Food & Farm Conference

food-and-farm-conferenceWhether you are a farmer, rancher, homesteader, or foodie, you won’t want to miss Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food and Farm Conference from January 6 to 8, 2017. Get inspired by national leaders in the sustainable food and farming movement, learn new techniques for getting better harvests with less input, and mingle with a greater community of people who value and practice environmentally conscious farming and ranching. BriarPatch is a proud sponsor of this event, and helps make it possible to bring these nationally recognized speakers to our local agricultural community.

Keynote Speakers

elaine-inghamElaine Ingham is a world-renowned soil microbiologist and founder of Soil Foodweb Inc. With her decades of experience in soil research, she teaches the microbial life of the soil, and her Soil Foodweb work is helping farmers all over the world to grow more resilient crops by understanding and improving their soil life. Elaine is a key author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer and author of The Compost Tea Brewing Manual.

ben-hartmanBen Hartman is a market farmer and author of The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work. He and his wife Rachel, of Clay Bottom Farm in northern Indiana, have developed lean farming principles inspired by the Japanese automotive industry to work smarter (not harder!) to dramatically increase profits and quality of life for their family of four.

greg-judyGreg Judy, rancher and author, will share how he transformed his bankrupt ranch into a profitable, debt-free business by adopting holistic management techniques for producing pasture-raised beef, pork, chicken, and more. In his book Comeback Farms: Rejuvenating Soils, Pastures and Profits with Livestock Grazing Management, he shares the methods he uses with Holistic High Density Grazing, multi-species grazing, grass finishing animals, and eliminating costly inputs.

conferenceFriday: two off-site options

Soil Health & Fertility Farm Tour, Friday 8 am-4:30 pm

Visit two dynamic farm and ranch sites in Nevada County with a special focus on soil health and fertility. In the morning, visit the historical Elster Ranch, where they raise cattle, pig, goat and sheep using holistic ranching techniques on their diverse 320-acre property. Tours, discussions, and Q&A will be led by a team of local experts, including Elster Ranch manager Rob Thompson, Roger Ingram, county director and farm advisor from our local UC extension office, Joe Fischer, manager at Bruin Ranch, and Brad and Alana Fowler, owners of The Goat Works and Fowler Family Farm. After lunch, visit Fulcrum Farm, where Lisa Bjorn and Marney Blair have been creating biodynamic compost for our local community for the past 14 years. Learn hands-on what it takes to make compost that will add to the health of our soils at home. Fee is $80 and includes a delicious lunch on the ranch. Space is limited, register early.


Growing Mushrooms, Tumbling Creek Farm, Friday 10 am-2:30 pm

Learn from the experts how to grow three different kinds of mushrooms and set up a successful mushroom cultivation space at home. Marlene and Cliff Bottenfield will teach this hands-on workshop, which is limited to 25 people so register early. Fee is $75 per person, and includes a catered lunch and shiitake mushroom starter kit.

2017 Farm Expo Exhibitors

Vital Garden Supply, Forever Flowering Greenhouses, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, Sierra Harvest Farm Institute, Sweetland Garden Supply, Four Seasons Garden Supply, Smart Pot Aeration Container, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Inc., Vermicrop Organics.