2009 Farming for the Future Conference

December 11, 2008

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (“PASA”) has released the schedule, brochure, and event details for their upcoming annual conference that will be held on February 6th and 7th, with pre-conference workshops scheduled on the 4th and 5th of the month.

The programs will take place in State College, PA on the campus of the Penn State University. This is the 18th annual conference that PASA has sponsored and it’s obvious that they really know how to organize things and always put on a fantastic conference.

This has become my favorite agriculture event with all sorts of information and activities of interest to farmers, gardeners, and anyone concerned about the quality of our food supply. I highly recommend attending if you have the opportunity, and here’s a brief preview of the planned festivities:

Pre-Conference Educational Tracks Focused on the Farm and Garden

The pre-conference tracks are separate sessions focusing on specific topics that take place in advance of the main conference program. The pre-conference track topics include:

  • Sustainable Forest Farming and Management,
  • 21st Century Victory Gardening,
  • Farmers Market Success Strategies,
  • Integrated Pest Management & Bio-Controls,
  • Green Learning (a program for high school students),
  • Innovative Cover Cropping Systems, and
  • Techniques for Improving Organic Vegetable Production.

That’s just a sampling of the pre-conference tracks, there are 13 separate tracks in total and you can get the specifics on each of them at the PASA website. My biggest dilemma is picking just one class from this line-up of great courses!

Interesting and Informative Sustainable Agriculture Workshops

There’s an even wider selection of workshops scheduled on Friday and Saturday when the conference officially opens. A few of the interesting topics on the schedule include the following:

  • Year-Round Growing: Focus on Mulching & Tunnels
  • Bugs ‘n Bunnies: How to Outwit Them in the Backyard Garden
  • How to Grow, Harvest, Manage, and Market Nut Crops
  • Overwintering Techniques for Successful Blackberry Production
  • Culinary Herbs: Growing, Harvesting and Processing
  • Integrated Forest Management: Making a Living in the Woods
  • Certified Organic Apple Production
  • Plant Your Own Patch! American Ginseng Forest Farming
  • Small Space Community Food Production
  • The Plight of the Honey Bees & How to Help Them Thrive
  • Year-Round Backyard Mini-Farming
  • Pollinators, Predators & Plants: Building Landscapes to Attract Beneficial Insects

Looks like more tough choices in deciding which of the concurrent sessions to take in! Well the good news is that all of the sessions are professionally recorded and available even if you can’t make it to the conference.

Other Farming for the Future Conference Activities and Features

In addition there will be keynote speakers, plenty of entertainment, tasty organic meals, the FarmArts Project, sustainable vendors and displays, a benefit auction, and much more. You’ll also have a chance to make new friends and meet people who share your passion for organic gardening and sustainable farming.

New to the conference this year will be a sustainable agriculture job fair, organized roundtable discussions, annual meeting of the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG), designated infant care space, and a knitting circle hosted by the Northern Tier Fiber Artists.

Visit the PASA website for all of the details and to register for the conference. Some of the meal plans and pre-conference educational tracks are likely to sell out, so don’t drag your feet if there is a particular program that you would like to attend. Hope to see you there!

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