Farm Farm

Young Farmers Conference & Other Farming Sources

Next Saturday morning at the crack of dawn my sister and I leave for our yearly Sisterly Road Trip. I am beyond excited for this trip.  We started the tradition two years ago with The Crafty Farm Sisters Great Plains Road Trip driving my vintage travel trailer from Wyoming to Connecticut. Last year we journeyed to North Carolina to attend The John C. Campbell Folk Art School; I took a class on spinning (wool, not bicycles), and she took a class on turning wood bowls on a lathe. This year we decided on another road trip. We fly in to Austin, Texas, and will be renting a minivan and driving home from there via Atlanta. You can ready more about the upcoming trip in an earlier post by clicking here.

We didn’t go to the John C. Campbell Folk Art School until February though. Right around this time last year my sister and I attended the 3rd annual Young Farmers Conference at The Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculturein Pocantico Hills, NY. Stone Barns is also home to the very well known restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns owned by Dan Barber, a leader in the sustainable and humane farming movement.

Dan Barber, chef and owner of the restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns and a leader in the sustainable and humane farming movement.

Because of our Southern Road Trip this year we won’t be able to the 4th annual conference, Reviving the Culture of Agriculture,  held December 1 and 2, but I wanted to let you know about it in case you wanted to get on the waiting list (unfortunately it is sold out already), or to put it on your calendar for next year.

Stone Barns has state-of-the-art greenhouses that would be the envy of any farmer. Hard to duplicate, but nice to see and learn from.

It was an amazing event. I have attended all kinds of seminars, classes and lectures over the years on all sorts of subjects. This seminar, by far, was the most interesting one I have attended. Maybe that’s just because it’s a subject I’m so interested in, or maybe it’s because it was really good. The speakers were invigorating, the classes were informative, the setting (an old Rockefeller estate turned farm education center) is beautiful, and the people were so friendly. It’s attended by not just people from all over the United States, but by people from all over the world. I did find the seminar a little heavier on the gardening side of farming rather than the livestock side, but I’m hoping that will change over the years. Dan Barber gave the opening remarks, Bill and Nicolette Niman of Niman Ranch were keynote speakers after lunch the first day. I had already read their  book, but their speech was absolutely fascinating. Other keynote speakers included Wes Jackson, President of The Land Institute and more.

A greenhouse lecture.

You can find out more about the conference or about Stone Barns by checking the link above. If farming is something you’re thinking about doing, or are doing already, you might want to add this seminar to your calendar. Because they are trying to reach the people struggling to bring small farms back to this country, they keep the cost of the conference very low, which is great.

However, there are all kinds of conferences and classes available to people looking to learn more about farming or the sustainable/humane food movement. A quick search on the internet yields many choices. I’ve listed some good ones below:

The Northeast Organic Farming Association offers all kinds of classes and conferences, including  ‘The Modern Homestead’, workshops in farm design, organic poultry workshops, the MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference and so much more. A wealth of farming information is on this site..

The Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) hosts an Organic University and has all sorts of useful information.

Farm to School offers information and classes on people wanting to learn more about the farm to school programs and the farm to table movement.

In Washington State they host the Harvesting Opportunity conference as well as providing all sorts of useful agricultural and farming information.

But if traveling isn’t your thing, you can even take farming, agricultural courses or animal-specific courses online.


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