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Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference has gone online for 2021 and 2022

 
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Location: Bellaire, MI
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Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference is Online

Live sessions from Feb 2—6; 100% online for 2022.

(I'm editing this post after reading lots of the threads about how to announce an education opportunity. Adding more content and more media.)




I wanted to share that the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference (www.smallfarmconference.com) moved online in 2021 and is remaining online for 2022, and is offering a bunch sessions this year that are not specifically permaculture but are permaculture adjacent, with a low ticket price ($25/household).

The conference has included a permaculture-ish focus (often using "regenerative ag" or "agroforestry" as topic headers) for the last ten years or so, featuring Richard Perkins, Eric Toensmeier, Mark Shepard, Ben Falk, Dave Jacke, Michael Phillips, as well as local or regional permaculture instructors.

Some sessions are, true to the name, specific to Michigan or the Great Lakes region, and to FSA-registered farms who produce for market. That said, because this is 100% online, I think a broader audience, including a lot of folks at permies, might get some good information out of it.

This year, there are 22 online sessions, most of which contain both pre-recorded content and a live component for Q&A and conversation. A $25 registration fee gets you access to everything, which will also include all the content from 2021's conference (10 sessions, IIRC), plus some new stuff on agroforestry and North American hedgerows as it comes online in March.

More ways to view session information at https://www.smallfarmconference.com/session-information

Date/TimeSession TitleLead Presenterpre-recorded add-on?Michigan-specific?
Wed, 2/2: noon to 1 pm$10 million: Tapping the Market Potential of 10 Cents a Meal for Michigan’s Kids and FarmsNathan Medina, Groundwork Center for Resilient CommunitiesYesYes
Wed, 2/2: 5:00 to 5:50 pmTips and Resources for Young, Beginning and Small FarmersKiersten Hooks, GreenStone Farm Credit ServicesNosome
Wed, 2/2: 6:00 to 6:50 pmDiversifying Your Farm with Cold-Hardy Wine GrapesMatt Killman, Cool Climate Consulting LLCYesNo
Wed, 2/2: 7:00 to 8:00 pmGetting Started with Fruiting Vegetables and CucurbitsBen Phillips, MSU ExtensionYesNo
Thu, 2/3: noon to 1 pmMending the Stress FenceRemington Rice, PhD, MSU ExtensionYesNo
Thu, 2/3: 5:00 to 5:50 pmA Beekeeper's Calendar: Keeping Healthy Bees throughout the YearMeghan Milbrath, MSU Department of EntomologyYesNo
Thu, 2/3: 6:00 to 6:50 pmMicro Farm Crop InsuranceBrian Frieden, USDAYesNo
Thu, 2/3: 7:00 to 8:00 pmPossibilities with Producer-Owned CooperativesKelly Maynard, University of Wisconsin Center for CooperativesYesNo
Fri, 2/4: noon to 1 pmDemystifying Organic Certification Records RequirementsEmily Fowell, NICS/EcocertYesNo
Fri, 2/4: 5:00 to 5:50 pmMutual Support Opportunities for FarmersAdam Weinrich, Anavery Fine FoodsYesNo
Fri, 2/4: 6:00 to 6:50 pmEcological Outcomes Verification: Outcomes Based MonitoringMatt. R. Raven, PhD, Michigan State UniversityYesNo
Fri, 2/4: 7:00 to 8:00 pmThe Future of Food is LocalJoe Scrimger, Bio-Systems IIYesNo
Sat, 2/5: noon to 1 pmEnhancing Agricultural Habitat for Pollinators and Beneficial InsectsConnie Crancer, Pollinator PartnershipYesSome
Sat, 2/5: 5:00 to 5:50 pmPanel: Resources for FarmersKatie Brandt, Organic Farmer Training ProgramYesSome
Sat, 2/5: 6:00 to 6:50 pmFrom Seed to Harvest: Optimizing Your Seed InvestmentPaul Feenan, High Mowing Organic SeedsYesNo
Sat, 2/5: 7:00 to 8:00 pmCommunity Engagement and Social Media for FarmsApril Jones, Pinehurst Farmers MarketYesNo
Sun, 2/6: noon to 1 pmStarting a Community Farm: Lessons from the FieldTeri VanhallYesNo
Sun, 2/6: 5:00 to 5:50 pmWeather Tools and TopicsFaith Fredrickson, NWS/NOAAYesNo
Sun, 2/6: 6:00 to 6:50 pmDiversifying Farm Revenues with Value-Added ProductsParker Jones, MSU Product CenterYesSome
Sun, 2/6: 7:00 to 8:00 pmStarting a Small Commercial Livestock Operation in 2022Adam Weinrich, Anavery Fine FoodsYesNo


The $25 registration allows access for one computer to the live sessions, so you can use it for your whole farm or household. It's like a membership to the content for a year—up to Feb 6, 2023—so you can access all the recordings from 2021 and 2022, including the recorded live-sessions, and including transcripts and hand-edited captions, for that whole year. You can find all the details at www.smallfarmconference.com.

Finally, because I have a role in the conference, I want to ask you all, in particular, what speakers and sessions you would love to see in online format in the future. Our plan is to continue to create text, audio, and video content, and then hold live conversations about that content—and we want to think as broadly as possible about what might be of use to you all, and what isn't be covered very well by other permaculture or general-ag education spaces. Zoning (as in, dealing with local regulations, not planning where to put the orchard)? Facilities design? Building small co-ops or creating commons with the neighbors? Other kinds of local and regional governance systems? Local currencies and building permaculture-Small engine repair? Hedgerows? Work songs? Storytelling? What would you like to see that's not out there yet?
 
Brad Kik
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Location: Bellaire, MI
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Archived Sessions from Feb 2021
All of these session recordings are included with the 2022 Small Farm Conference $25 Registration

Is Your Soil as Productive as it Should Be?
Paul Gross of Michigan State University
Productive and functioning soils are a key to farm profitability. In this session we will define soil health and discuss the various tests and tools available to assess and interpret your soil characteristics. The session will conclude with practices that can improve soil health based on your goals for your farm and the resources available.

Growth of Rural Solar Power in MI and Impacts on Agriculture and Conservation
Sarah Mills and Brendan O'Neill of the University of Michigan
The development of large solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays is rapidly advancing in Michigan. While local, renewable energy resources have many potential benefits, we will discuss some of the implications of how this development may proceed. This includes information on the status of PV development in Michigan, for state and local development policy, as well as impacts on agriculture and land conservation, and some thoughts on how solar may be creatively integrated into other land use goals.

Year-Round Veggie Production with Affordable DIY Infrastructure
Lisa Helm of Dayton Urban Grown Cooperative Incubator/Training Farm
Instead of scaling up in size, increase the number of sales days per year and take advantage of the high demand for local winter produce. Lisa Helm has been growing vegetables year-round in downtown Dayton, Ohio for five seasons now using unheated DIY hoophouses and low tunnels. She will discuss DIY infrastructure, growing techniques, resources and plant varieties collected from over 8 year-round vegetable farms to help you feel confident to start your own winter production.

Resiliency with Climate-Adaptive Tree Planting
Kama Ross, District Forester for Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie counties
Maddy Baroli, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Change

Join us for a presentation with Kama Ross, District Forester for Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Benzie counties, and Maddy Baroli, Northern Institute of Applied Climate Change. They will cover the benefits of integrating trees and shrubs on farms and homesteads. Learn about tree species that are projected to have increasing or new suitable habitat in Northern Michigan under future climate conditions. Discover how these tree species can support biodiversity and a resilient landscape.

Farm Startup Stories: Sharing & Hearing the Tales from Farms in their Early Years
Katie Brandt of Michigan State University Student Organic Farm with farm stories from:
Akello Karmoko of Keep Growing Detroit
Jill Johnson of Crane Dance Farm
Ryan and Andrea Romeyn of Providence Organic Farm
Aliza Ghaffari of Magnolia Farms
Imani Foster of Keep Growing Detroit

Join this live session Saturday 2/20 at 7pm (that was 2/20/21, but it was recorded) to tell the true tales of how you overcame challenges (or are still experiencing them) to start your farm or project. After hearing a few examples from Michigan farmers, you'll have the chance to "hang out" in a breakout room with four or 5 farm folks to share stories and listen. Your group will choose one storyteller to share out with everyone. Yes, you really can meet people and share community over zoom! It will also be a great way to connect with living history and current realities for beginning farmers. Everyone is welcome... experienced farmers, beginning or aspiring farmers, schoolyard or community gardeners, farm/food system advocates and 'listeners'. You will also get you a list of beginning farmer resources.

Vermicomposting for Small Farms: Using Batch and Continuous Flow Processes
Dan Lonowski of Michigan Soil Works
The benefits and opportunities of vermicomposting for the small scale grower are many. Dan Lonowski from Michigan SoilWorks will go over how to use it, ways to make it, and how to sell it for profit.

Vegetable Variety Trial Results for Small Vegetable Growers
James DeDecker, Allison Stawara, and Abbey Palmer of the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center
The Seed to Kitchen Collaborative (SKC), coordinated by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, brings together vegetable breeders, seed companies, researchers, organic vegetable growers and professional chefs to evaluate the productivity and quality of elite vegetable varieties in organic research stations and on-farm trials. This year, the North Farm at the Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center grew 43 different varieties of six vegetables (cucumber, tomato, sweet pepper, onion, carrot and lettuce) in SKC variety trials. They also worked with Taste the Local Difference to recruit eight local chefs who conducted sensory evaluation of the crops. Join us to learn how the results of this research can be applied to grow your direct market vegetable business!

Food Assistance Programs Connections to Farms and Farm Markets
Amanda Shreve, Michelle Gagliardi, Jenny Radon, and Joe Lesausky of Michigan Farmers Market Association
In 2020, Michigan saw an increase in the usage of SNAP Bridge Cards, attributed to food insecurities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did more community members gain access to healthy foods, but many farmers markets and farm stands benefited from this growth, providing people with access to nutritious, locally grown food. Join the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) to discuss why public food assistance programs such as SNAP are important public goods, why they saw increased usage in 2020, and how farmers markets and farmers can best serve their communities and program participants while increasing sales.

Utilize Social Media to Grow Your Business
Kyle Brisendine of Willow Farm
To effectively market the farm, growers need to tell their story. This session will teach you HOW to do it using the digital platforms that have become a must to accommodate customers for every grower. After years of trial and error, Kyle Brisendine of Willow Farm learned the best methods to effectively market using digital media and be able to adapt quickly to a changing world, particularly in 2021.

Building Your Own Farm Store
Brian Bates, Bear Creek Organic Farm
This session was live only, and was meant to be a roundtable of sorts for "how did you adapt to the pandemic?" It started with a story from Brian Bates of Bear Creek Organic Farm about building out a pole barn into an on-site farm store, and the rest of the group was so excited about that possibility that the rest of the session was mostly focused on a Q&A about that.

MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION AT https://www.smallfarmconference.com/
 
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