Virginia Cooperative Extension and its partners will host the fourth annual Farm to Table Conference Dec. 2-4 at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia. The theme for this year’s conference is “Strengthening Your Foodshed, Protecting Our Watersheds.”

The conference will feature opportunities for participants to learn about foodsheds and watersheds in the Shenandoah Valley and to hear from key players in the fields of food security, farming, and environmental policy. Early bird registration pricing is available until Nov. 20, and rates will increase after this date. More details regarding the conference and registration are available at the conference website.

Featured speakers include:

  • Dennis Keeney, professor emeritus of agronomy and agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University and senior advisor of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; 
  • Karen Washington, 2014, James Beard Leadership Award Winner and founder of Rise and Root Farm
  • Chuck Benbrook, Benbrook Consulting Services; 
  • Robin Morris, executive director of Mad River Food Hub
  • and Ellen Polishuk, Potomac Vegetable Farms.

Each day will also offer three concurrent sessions where producers and practitioners share their local and regional expertise. Sessions will focus on these particular areas: practical applications of soil and water health; making money in the middle: finding your niche; and local food for all.

Additionally, "Growing Money and Soil at Potomac Vegetable Farms," a short video, will premiere at the conference on Thursday.

“The Farm to Table Conference has something for everyone attracted to issues surrounding food and water quality,” said Kathy Holm, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service assistant state conservationist for field operations, in a news release. “We will have thought-provoking speakers, stimulating panel discussions, networking opportunities, and wonderful locally-sourced food available.”

This year the conference will also include a pre-conference tour that focuses on the agriculture and agribusiness opportunities within the Shenandoah Valley. The full-day experience on, Wednesday, Dec. 2, will provide unique experiences with local producers, and experts. Stops include Mt. Crawford Creamery, Friendly City Food Co-op, T&E Meats, and Showalter’s Orchard and Greenhouse, home of locally produced Old Hill Cider.

The event is sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research Education, Virginia FAIRS, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit of the Virginias’ Knowledge Center, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Division of Energy, Virginia Beginning Farmer & Rancher Coalition Program, Eastern Mennonite University, and other community partners.



Written by Amy Loeffler
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