Heroes of the sustainable farming and ranching movement come to Grass Valley to share best practices

Farmers and ranchers from all over the West Coast will be gathering in Grass Valley from February 9 through 11 for Sierra Harvest’s 2018 Sustainable Food and Farm Conference. More than 500 farmers, foodies, and homesteaders will be eager to learn first-hand from local and national experts in the sustainable food and farming movement, tour sustainable-minded local farms, make connections to strengthen their farm businesses, upgrade their home garden practices, and enhance their organic and sustainable food production.
The Conference features a full day of national heroes from the sustainable food movement on Saturday, February 10th. These heroes include internationally recognized and outspoken rancher Joel Salatin, the author of ten books who was featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma. Salatin draws from a lifetime of farming and ranching to inspire those seeking to create profitable, local, and regenerative farming systems. Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser, award-winning farmers at Singing Frogs Farm in Sonoma County have developed a highly intensive, no-till, ecological management system that increases soil fertility, reduces water use, and generates over $100,000 per acre in sales. Daphne Miller MD, a family physician, researcher and author of ‘Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up’, describes the connections between health and local, organic food, and explains why she prescribes fresh local veggies and farm visits for her patients.
The next day, Sunday February 11th, local experts take the stage, and participants can craft their own curriculum, choosing from twenty food and farm workshops. Topics include something for everyone – season extension, managing and restoring ponds, permaculture, organic pest management, agri-tourism, cooking with the whole animal, and more.

Attendees at the 2017 Food and Farm Conference.
Photo by Kurtis Ostrim.

The Conference, which was developed in 2010 by local farmers, is designed to support farmers, ranchers, homesteaders, and gardeners in adopting innovative, sustainable practices that promote nutrient-dense food and a healthier environment. Sierra Harvest, a local non-profit that educates, inspires, and connects families to fresh local food, took over management of the Conference in 2016, but local farmers and ranchers continue to be involved in planning the curriculum.
“The quality of education being offered here in our rural community is quite phenomenal,” says Rachel Berry, Conference Manager. “Between the national experts we bring in, and the local experts in the organic farming movement who we have access to in Nevada County, this conference features some of the best education of its kind. People leave ready to implement new skills and strategies in their own farm or garden, and I’m inspired by all the stories I hear about how this education has benefited so many of our local farmers.”
Ticket prices are set at a level intended to make this education more accessible to our community. In addition, discounts are available for farmers and ranchers.

The conference is sponsored by BriarPatch Food Co-op, Vital Landscaping, Forever Flowering, Organic Valley, UNFI, Sweetland Garden Supply,

Some of the many exhibits and booths. Photo by Jarret Moody.

Edible Sacramento, and Four Seasons Nursery.
Friday, February 9: Nevada County Farm and Ranch Tour; Mushroom Cultivation Workshop at Tumbling Creek Farm; AgTech Micro Conference at Nevada County Tech Connection.
Saturday, February 10: Keynote speaker presentations; Food & Farm Expo; Evening Food & Farm Mixer at Old Republic Brewery.


Sunday, February 11: 20 Food & Farm Workshops with local experts
Full Conference agenda at:

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