HUDSON VALLEY REGIONAL CONFERENCE WELCOMES NATIONAL FARM FIGURE

Farming Our Future will take place on Saturday, February 23rd at Taconic Hills Central School from 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. This conference, now in its second year, will bring together a diverse community and regional audience including established farmers, beginning farmers, interested non-farmers, suppliers, educators, community leaders, industry leaders and students.

 

Jim Slama, Founder and President of FamilyFarmed.org, will deliver the keynote address.  Good Food = Good Business will showcase Slama’s groundbreaking work to develop and implement regional food aggregation facilities that strengthen local food systems and empower family farmers to scale up, gain access to wholesale markets, and become more successful. FamilyFarmed.org‘s national farmer-training project, which has given over 2,500 farmers access to essential information about food safety and how to sell to wholesale buyers, will be a core element of his talk. 

 

How Food Moves is the topic of a panel discussion moderated by Todd Erling, Executive Director of Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation, which will tackle some of the tough questions on how to get more locally grown food into the hands of chefs and consumers, and explore some of the new approaches that could make buying local a whole lot easier.

 

The panel Growing a Farm-Friendly Municipality will be moderated by Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Steve Hadcock, with panelists from American Farmland Trust, Glynwood, and Ancram’s Ag Advisory Council, and will explore opportunities for developing the way your town or county approaches farming, planning, and economic development.  

 

Have land?  For young farmers, sometimes finding viable land to farm can be a challenge.  Landowners will hear, from Columbia Land Conservancy’s Marissa Codey, just what is involved in opening up a parcel for a young farmer in Leasing Land to Farmers: Challenges and Opportunities.

 

Those looking for a unique experience can attend

Farming Our Future – What Role Can You Play? Facilitated by Hawthorne Valley’s Farmscape Ecology Program’s Anna Duhon and Claudia Knab-Vispo, panelists and attendees will examine ways that history, ecology, and culture have intersected to create the environment we inhabit and will learn ways to optimize future interactions.

 

Help Me, Help You is a practical workshop with Farm Credit East’s Emili Ponte and The Carrot Project’s Benneth Phelps that will focus on tools farmers need to make their business attractive for financing and investors. 

 

The “World Café” portion of the program will provide opportunities for attendees to gather around topics of common interest, to share collaborative dialogue and knowledge, and to create possibilities for action. 

 

The children’s program is open to kids ages 5 -13 and is free thanks to a sponsorship by the FarmOn! Foundation. The program includes landscape painting with local artist Nancy Rutter, “Horses and Kids” with Copake’s Lilly Becker, and basketball with Celtics retired player Eric Williams. Space is extremely limited, and advanced registration is required before Thursday at 5 pm.  Register your child 

 

Farming Our Future 2013 is sponsored in part by Ginsberg’s Foods, Valley Energy, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the FarmOn! Foundation, Hudson Solar, Hudson Mohawk Resource Conservation and Development Council, and The Columbia Paper.

 

Exhibitors and sponsorships are encouraged. Proceeds from the conference will go toward Taconic Hills’s award-winning H.A.R.V.E.S.T. Club (Healthy Agricultural Resources by Volunteers & Educators in Science & Technology), a program that engages youth in the process of growing healthy fruits, flowers and vegetables in a school-based garden, and the Parent Teacher Organization. 

 

The cost to attend is $20 per person for adults and $10 per person for students, with advance registration, and $25 per person at the door.   The full schedule along with registration information can be found online at www.farmingourfuture.org.

 

 

 

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