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FEBRUARY 22 – 28, 2021

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Welcome to the 33rd annual California Small Farm Conference! This February, join farmers, ranchers, industry professionals, students and local food advocates as we dig into topics of soil health, appropriate-scaled technology, small farm marketing, social issues and more. Whether you’re in the field or at the farmers market, tending to a tiny urban parcel or grazing a hundred acres, just getting started or overflowing with decades of experience to share, there’s something for you in this year’s line up. 

HOW THE 2021 CONFERENCE WORKS:

This year, we’ve transformed our conference into a week-long series of educational webinars, videos and online forums. Using the links below, register for each workshop separately. Attend just one or attend them all!

Registration is FREE for most events, however your donation–however big or small–helps us make this educational programing not only possible but accessible to more people. Donate here and together let’s incubate a new generation of farmers, advances regenerative agriculture, and assure our local food system grows strong!

Brought to by Community Alliance with Family Farmers

www.caff.org

THANK YOU TO THIS YEAR’S SPONSORS

SCHEDULE & WORKSHOP DETAILS

VIDEO

On-site video tours and demonstrations followed by live Q&A. All videos will be posted online after the conference debut.

WEBINAR

Live webinars featuring the expertise, stories and experiences of farmers, scientists, food professionals, and more.

FORUM

Interactive online forums that invite you to participate in guided conversations exploring hot topics in local food and agriculture.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS & MORE OPPORTUNITIES:

ON-FARM FOOD SAFETY: Free 30 minute, 1-on-1 Food Safety consultations throughout the week. Sign up here

EXPO HALL: Visit our virtual Expo Hall here to learn about businesses and organizations that serve and support our small farm community. 

MONDAY

Farmers Market shoppers

Farmers’ Market Manager Training

Monday, Feb 22 at 9am – 1:30pm

The California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets is a statewide industry group that supports farmers’ markets. Join us for a day-long virtual training (lots of breaks to avoid zoom exhaustion), specifically by and for Farmers’ Market Managers. This training will build on the “Market Manager Manual”, originally developed by the CA Dept. of Food & Agriculture. The training will focus on the role of market managers, best practices to enhance your market and increase your customer counts, and will provide ample space for peer-to-peer learning. This training will include content for new and more experienced market managers. *Special all day training, $10 fee

Brought to you by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets

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Livestock Guardian Dogs 101

Monday, Feb 22 at 11am – Noon 

Dogs play a crucial role on many small farms and ranches, from herding flocks to protecting livestock. In this video, we visit Green Star Farm, an 85-acre pasture-based livestock farm in Sonoma County where Sarah Silva collaborates with her many canine partners to look after chickens, pigs, sheep and goats. Learn the ins and outs of working with livestock guardian dogs and help determine what’s right for your farming operation. Video will be followed by a live Q&A.

PARTICIPANTS:

Sarah Silva, Green Star Farm

Mark Pasternak, Devil’s Gultch Ranch

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E-Commerce for the Small Farm

Monday, Feb 22 at 1 – 2pm 

While COVID-19 forced many farms to quickly pivot their businesses and explore new technologies to reach their customers, the rise of e-commerce in the food market was already well underway. In this workshop, hear about the many online tools and strategies to help manage your farm, market your business and sell your products. How can small farms compete in this rapidly-changing industry? Find out!

This workshop is brought to you by the Small Farm Tech Hub, a new resource helping California family farms better leverage technology to sell their goods, market their farm, and run their businesses no matter the scale.

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Let's Talk about Carbon Sequestration!

Monday, Feb 22 at 3 – 4pm 

There’s been a lot of talk about the potential for regenerative agriculture to reverse climate change through carbon sequestration. Join us as we dig into the possibilities and nuances of soil carbon sequestration, and explore reframing the challenges and solutions ahead for California Agriculture.

PARTICIPANTS

Tim Bowles, Assistant Professor of Agroecology & Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of California Berkeley

Jessica Charts, PhD candidate, UC Davis, founder of Soil Life

Sara Tiffany, Director of Ecological Farming, CAFF

TUESDAY

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COVID-19 Precautions and Best Practices at the Farmers’ Market

Tuesday, Feb 23 at 9 – 10am 

Join us for a farmers’ market “video tour” where we’ll discuss some COVID-19 challenges and best practices that can be applied at your farmers’ markets. This will be an opportunity to see best practices in action at market, on both the management and farmer/vendor level.

Brought to you by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets

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Getting Started with CSA

Tuesday, Feb 23 at 11am – Noon

While COVID-19 ravaged our world, it also reminded us just how important our local food system is. In 2020, more people learned about and joined Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) than ever before. Whether you’re a new farmer or a seasoned grower looking to pivot your business model, join us for this interactive workshop to learn about new innovations within the CSA model including building membership, successful aggregation, cooperating with marginalized growers, costs and more. Three panelists will share their experiences.

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On Farm Composting

Tuesday, Feb 23 at 1 – 2 pm

This video will explore on-farm composting, including a brief overview of California’s new best management practices mandate for on-farm composting as well as the food safety and organic requirements. Hear from two different farmers, including a on-site video of the Frog Hollow Farm composting operation. 

PARTICIPANTS: 

Christophe Kreis & Al Courchesne, Frog Hollow Farm

Land Access for New Farmers

Tuesday, Feb 23 at 3 – 4 pm 

Land access remains one of the single greatest barriers to new farmers. With land prices continuing to soar here in California and development encroaching every you look, farmers must understand what it takes to put down roots. In this workshop, you’ll get tips and tools to help you find and secure land for your farming business.

WEDNESDAY

Farmers Market

Farmers’ Market Manager Roundtable

Wednesday, Feb 24 at 9 – 10 am 

In this Farmers’ Market Manager Roundtable, participants will have the opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer learning on a variety of “hot” farmers’ market discussion topics. The session will be co-facilitated by experienced farmers’ market leaders. This will be a great opportunity for newer market managers to learn from experienced industry professionals, as well as sharing their own experiences and best practices.

Brought to you by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets

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Farmer Aggregation: Putting Farmers in Control

Wednesday, Feb 24 at 11 am – Noon 

With ever-changing markets, it’s apparent now more than ever that product aggregation and collective marketing amongst farmers is a viable solution for farmers to access a broader range of markets. In this session, hear farmers, food hubs, and aggregators discuss how they’ve been able to aggregate and work collaboratively to address market needs during COVID, through various sales channels including emergency food sales, food box sales, CSA sales, and restaurant sales.

PARTICIPANTS:

Tracy Harding, Capay Valley Farm Shop

Kelly Hansen, Mendo Lake Food Hub

Andy Ollave, Fresh Approach

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Seed Production 101

Wednesday, Feb 24 at 1 – 2 pm 

Learn to grow seed, steward heirlooms, and create new varieties. Whether you’ve saved seed before or are a complete beginner, this is a great chance to learn about seed production. The speakers will cover basic seed concepts including timing of planting, ideal population sizes, preventing cross-pollination, selecting for improved varieties, equipment choices, seed maturation and harvest, market opportunities and seed cleaning techniques.

Brought to you by the Organic Seed Alliance

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Tooling Up Your Farm

Wednesday, Feb 24 at 3 – 4 pm 

Use the right tool for the right job in the right way. In this video, hear farmer Will Holloway of Blue Leg Farm share his lessons as a young farmer scaling up while striving towards efficiency to ensure long-term sustainability– ecological, personal and financial. From tips on tractor selection to the realities of debt and farm finance, come explore the role that tools and equipment can play in starting small-but-highly-productive operations. Then stick around for a live Q&A with Will and the tool experts from Johnny’s Select Seeds.

PARTICIPANTS:

Will Holloway, Blue Leg Farm

Johnny’s Select Seeds

THURSDAY

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Wildfire Smoke and Farmers’ Market Operations

Thursday, Feb 25 at 9 – 10 am 

As California faces increased wildfire risk year-after-year due to climate change, how do farmers’ markets respond? What are our legal and moral obligations when the air is dangerous to breath in our communities, but people still need food and farmers still need income? This webinar will explore some of these questions as farmers’ market leaders share some of their best practices and tools.

Brought to you by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets

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Grazing Beyond the Fence Line

Thursday, Feb 25 at 11am – Noon

Grazing animals play an integral part in helping us manage the health of our oak savannas, grasslands and coastal prairies. Prescribed grazing, the strategic movement of our livestock between different landbases, can contribute to wildfire abatement through fuel load reduction as well as to healthy soils and biodiversity through holistic management. In this video, learn about transhumance and then dig into the nuts-and-bolts during a live Q&A with real-world practitioners. 

PARTICIPANTS:

Guido Frosini, True Grass Farms

Sarah Kesier, Wild Oat Hollow

John Roach, John Roche Services

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Farm to Market during Covid-19: Pivoting to Persevere

Thursday, Feb 25 at 1 – 2 pm 

Creativity and relationships kept farms and food hubs open through Covid-19. Join this discussion-style session to learn about and share challenges and solutions during and beyond the Covid-19 Crisis.

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Meet the Ag Policymakers

Thursday, Feb 25 at 3 – 4:30 pm 

California policies have significant impacts on California’s family farmers. Fire resilience, insurance, workers compensation, land tenure, water access, climate change are just some of the issues policymakers are currently debating. This discussion is an opportunity to hear more about their vision for California agriculture, policy opportunities for the coming year, and ask your burning questions.

PARTICIPANTS

Secretary Karen Ross, Department of Food and Agriculture

Assemblymember Robert Rivas, Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee

Jamie Fanous, CAFF Policy Advocate (moderator)

FRIDAY

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CalFresh EBT Access for your Farm or Farmers’ Market

Friday, Feb 26 at 9 – 10 am 

Workshop Description:  The CalFresh EBT Program provides 4.8 million Californians an average of $166 for food each month. In this workshop, learn how to grow your EBT customer base by identifying and addressing barriers to EBT customers shopping at your market/farm. We will break out into farmers’ market and farmstand/CSA groups to address specific challenges. Let’s talk about how we can support a local food system that catalyzes inclusivity and belonging.

Brought to you by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets

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California Ag Policy Forum

Friday, Feb 26 at 11am – 12:30pm

Policymaking, like most of 2020, was a roller-coaster. Fires, pandemic, markets, insurance coverage and racial injustice were just some of the issues California farmers & agricultural communities faced and policymakers grappled with. And 2021 will no doubt face similar emergencies and persistent challenges. Join a panel of experts to hear results from CAFF’s Annual Farmer Survey, discuss policy challenges and opportunities as we look to what’s possible in 2021, what it might mean for you and how you can get involved.

PARTICIPANTS:

Jennifer Fearing, Principal, Fearless Advocacy

Janaki Jagannath, California Farmer Justice Collaborative

Justin Rausa, Everyday Impact Consulting/Roots of Change

Dave Runsten, Senior Policy Analyst, CAFF

Nina Ichikawa, Director, Berkeley Food Institute (moderator)

Integrating Sheep into Orchard Systems

Friday, Feb 26 at 1 – 2 pm 

Modern agriculture in the U.S. has normalized the separation of animal agriculture from growing crops, but many producers have found there’s much to be gained from integrating livestock back into cropping systems. Sierra Orchards in Winters, CA has successfully integrated sheep into their organic walnut orchards for several years and has learned many lessons along the way. In this video, join farmer Sean McNamara as he walks us through Sierra Orchards’ integrated sheep in walnuts system, followed by a Q and A.

PARTICIPANTS:

Sean McNamara, Sierra Orchards

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Regenerative Ag’s Roots & Reliance Upon Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Friday, Feb 26 at 3 – 4 pm 

In the face of historic/recent genocide, displacement, and ongoing systemic racism, Native/Indigenous peoples in California continue to actively manage for their traditional foods and operate farms/agricultural businesses. In recent years, the regenerative agriculture movement has grown in prominence, yet acknowledgement concerning the origins of many associated practices and approaches being Indigenous has been lacking. In this panel, California Native community members will share examples concerning Indigenous approaches to caring for the land and offer guidance around growing Tribal partnerships.  

PARTICIPANTS:

Keir Johnson-Reyes, Intertribal Agriculture Council (moderator)
Valentin Lopez & Rick Flores, Amah Mutsun Land Trust
Megan Baldy, Klamath Trinity Resource Conservation District

SATURDAY

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Lessons on Workplace Safety from the COVID-19 Farmworker Study

Saturday, Feb 27 at 11am – Noon

The COVID-19 Farmworkers Study surveyed 915 agricultural workers across California during the pandemic, providing strong evidence that the current pandemic amplifies existing injustices that have long been endured by farmworkers. The study brought together a broad network of farmworker-serving organizations, seasoned researchers and policy advocates to understand how the pandemic is affecting farmworker’s lives, reporting some of the only data available in the nation on COVID-19 among agricultural communities. Hear farmworker perspectives on COVID-19 and valuable suggestions from farmworkers themselves on how ag operations can and should improve workplace safety.

PARTICIPANTS:

Nayamin Martinez, Central California Environmental Justice Network

Deysi Merino-Gonzalez, Vista Community Clinic

Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, California Institute for Rural Studies

Climate Change

Climate Change & Ag Policy

Saturday, Feb 27 at 1 – 2 pm 

While the world grapples with more immediate threats like COVID-19 and economic turmoil, the much larger threat of climate change hasn’t gone away. It’s only grown. But we also know that, if we work together–advancing forward-looking policies at both the state and national level–family farmers have a chance of adapting to and helping to fight climate change. In this interactive forum, get an update on policies related to ag and climate, and help us strategize how to keep climate smart ag and adaption fresh on the minds of our leaders. It’s an investment we can’t afford to pass up.

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Farmer Florists: Blossoming Small Businesses

Saturday, Feb 27 at 3 – 4 pm 

In this video, meet Farmer Florist Deena Miller of Sweet Roots Farm, and learn about how she’s pivoted her business to respond to COVID, hear about new innovations in the Farmer Florist world, and flower trends for 2021 that will be useful for other farmers interested in incorporating more flower work into their farm businesses.

PARTICIPANTS:

Deena Miller, Sweet Roots Farm

SUNDAY

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Urban Ag: A Letter to the New Secretary of Ag

Sunday, Feb 28 at 11am – Noon

Last summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally launched a new Office of Urban Agriculture, including a new grants program and local advisory bodies. In this video, meet some impressive urban farmers from across the state, learn about the challenges and opportunities they face, and hear some guidance they have for USDA and what kinds of additional investments they think the agency should be making.

PARTICIPANTS:

Nelson Hawkins, We Grow Urban Farm

Doria Robinson, Urban Tilth

Nolan Schmidt, Tower Urban Family Farm 

Abel Ruiz, Community in Resistance for Ecological & Cultural Empowerment

Will Scott

New Black Farmers, Meet the Trailblazers

Sunday, Feb 28 at 1 – 2 pm 

Between 1910 and 1997 African Americans lost 90% of their farmland. This loss was a primary driver of the overall loss of generational wealth that some fear might never be fully recovered. Against this backdrop, farmer Will Scott Jr. and cowgirl Kitty Brown have not only been able to access land but have also gone a step further to provide access to the next generation of black farmers and ranchers for their growth and success. 

PARTICIPANTS: 

Will Scott Jr., Scott Family Farms

 Patricia Miller, Edible Schoolyard Project

Chris Fields

Reatha Hardy-Jordan, Black Urban Farmers Association (BUFA)

Wanda Stewart (moderator)

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Social Hour & 2021 Awards Ceremony

Sunday, Feb 28 at 3 – 4:30 pm 

Join us for a closing community roundtable, virtual mixer, and award ceremony. Following a jam-packed conference, grab a drink and take part in happy hour, games and a chance to casually connect with fellow farmers, advocates, and partners all working to build a better food system. Then we’ll raise our glass during the awards ceremony as we recognize the 2021 honorees of California Food & Farm Champions awards, inspiring farms, businesses and individuals from across the state making a difference in our food and farming community.