FEBRUARY 22 – 28, 2021
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
THANK YOU TO THIS YEAR’S SPONSORS
SCHEDULE & WORKSHOP DETAILS
FEBRUARY 22 – 28, 2021
More more details and registration, scroll down or click on the workshop title
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
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.
Sarah Silva, Green Star Farm
Mark Pasternak, Devil’s Gultch Ranch
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
On Farm Composting
Tuesday, Feb 23 at 1 – 2 pm
Christophe Kreis & Al Courchesne, Frog Hollow Farm
Land Access for New Farmers
Tuesday, Feb 23 at 3 – 4 pm
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.
Farmer Aggregation: Putting Farmers in Control
Wednesday, Feb 24 at 11 am – Noon
Tracy Harding, Capay Valley Farm Shop
Kelly Hansen, Mendo Lake Food Hub
Andy Ollave, Fresh Approach
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
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.
Will Holloway, Blue Leg Farm
Johnny’s Select Seeds
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.
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.
Guido Frosini, True Grass Farms
Sarah Kesier, Wild Oat Hollow
John Roach, John Roche Services
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.
Meet the Ag Policymakers
Thursday, Feb 25 at 3 – 4:30 pm
Secretary Karen Ross, Department of Food and Agriculture
Assemblymember Robert Rivas, Chair, Assembly Agriculture Committee
Jamie Fanous, CAFF Policy Advocate (moderator)
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.
California Ag Policy Forum
Friday, Feb 26 at 11am – 12:30pm
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.
Sean McNamara, Sierra Orchards
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.
Keir Johnson-Reyes, Intertribal Agriculture Council (moderator)
Valentin Lopez & Rick Flores, Amah Mutsun Land Trust
Megan Baldy, Klamath Trinity Resource Conservation District
Lessons on Workplace Safety from the COVID-19 Farmworker Study
Saturday, Feb 27 at 11am – Noon
Nayamin Martinez, Central California Environmental Justice Network
Deysi Merino-Gonzalez, Vista Community Clinic
Ildi Carlisle-Cummins, California Institute for Rural Studies
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.
Farmer Florists: Blossoming Small Businesses
Saturday, Feb 27 at 3 – 4 pm
Urban Ag: A Letter to the New Secretary of Ag
Sunday, Feb 28 at 11am – Noon
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
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.
Will Scott Jr., Scott Family Farms
Patricia Miller, Edible Schoolyard Project
Reatha Hardy-Jordan, Black Urban Farmers Association (BUFA)
Wanda Stewart (moderator)
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.