Workshop Descriptions By Track
Click on a Track to see descriptions for the 3 workshops in that track.
Community Gardens for Good (Sunday ONLY)
Discover the assets of community gardens and their power to encourage good physical and mental health, strengthen community, and engage youth. Combine gardening with Hip-Hop as a way to bring awareness of nature connection and getting youth to expand outside the box.
Cooperative Farming Models
Explore co-operative farming models, best practices, and experimental systems. Discover how farmers can engage in aspects of independent farming while also incorporating co-operative components. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Farming While Black (Saturday ONLY)
Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Learn how Soul Fire Farm is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid.
Sowing the Seeds of Racial Equity
Racial inequities hold our entire community back. Learn to address these issues in food system head-on and create a plan of action to incorporate racial equity work into your work and daily life.
Understanding the Root Causes of Hunger
Janice Brewer & Ali Stone
Everyone is hungry for something and everyone has something to give. Dive deeper into the roots of hunger while exploring the intersections of emergency food assistance and community farming. Learn to disrupt the systems that keep people in loops of food insecurity.
Demonstration and discussion of techniques and equipment used to preserve food with water bath canning. Pressure canning of low acid foods will also be discussed. Learn to feed yourself from local foods through the winter!
Cherokee Staple Foods
Discover Cherokee family food traditions starting with introductions and relational narrative of these historically and culturally significant plants and foods. Workshop will include demonstrations and sharing of the principal foods.
Through discussion and cooking demo, we’ll investigate the relationship between food, culture, and racial equity. Explore the indigenous roots and history of the foods we enjoy and the ways that current eating habits are implicit to cultural injustice.
The ancient art of mead making mixes honey with fruit, flowers, roots and herbs to create beverage bliss. We’ll cover handling, harvesting, and preparing ingredients including ratios and qualities of sweeteners and yeasts, and bottling and storing. The focus is on wild, open, and cultured fermentation.
Instead of vilifying invasive plants, understand their value and uses through ethnobotany. Used for millennia by traditional peoples, rediscover the history and uses of mulberry, kudzu, and others for food, fiber, and medicine. Human-use is an effective form of species management.
What principles an be derived from studying the way our ancestors traditionally interacted with their environment? What games do we play to stay young? All knowledge is acquired through movement and interaction. We will organize and research methodology that enables us move through our 3-dimensional terrain and acquire information about our surroundings.
Traditional Sustainable Foods of the Cherokee
Discover traditional foods gathered in the Great Smokies by the Cherokee including spring gathering of various wild mountain salads and plants. Including but not limited to Ramps, Sochan, Poke Salad, Jellico, mushrooms, berries and nuts.
Woodslore & Wild Woods Wisdom
Whether he’s singing about ginseng, pontificating on possums, talking turtle, telling wild snake tales, or wailing out a jivey harmonica tune, storyteller/naturalist, Doug Elliott, will take you on a multifaceted celebration of the human connection to the natural world.
Black Farmers: The New Generation
Stories of a beginning black farmer and he is sustaining human and economic development in his communities. Discuss how to establish more black farmers, the importance of privileged and minority farmers to coexist and share (markets, equipment, etc.) and identify community allies.
Felicia Bell & DJ Baker
Experienced farmers need to team up with beginning farmers for intergenerational mentorship. This prevents costly pitfalls, provides access to wisdom and traditional knowledge, provides potential for land opportunities, and the assists in the long-term success of new farmers.
Smart Tools, Healthy Body
Belief in only hard work can lead to aches and pains. Working smarter is the more enduring path. From hand tools to tractors and plant protection to harvesting equipment, discover useful tools to help make life easier in the field.
Sustainable Agriculture 101
We will explore small-scale market farming, in particular cooperative management strategies, building a farm from the ground up, detailed year-round vegetable production for a CSA, sustainability considerations and intensive growing practices using low-till, hand-scale methods. We will use Ten Mothers Farm, a high production/low acreage mixed vegetable farm, as an example.
Blight Resistant Tomato Varieties for the Organic Market
Panel: Tom Elmore, Madeline Ashwill, Paul Shoemaker
The use of grafted tomatoes in sustainable production has the potential to increase yields depending on several variables. Explore applications of grafted tomatoes including disease resistance and many factors to consider when growing grafted tomatoes.
Organic No-Till Techniques
Panel: Russell Hedrick, Cedar Johnson, Rachel Klein
Tools and techniques for no and low-till agriculture being used on NC farms. Discuss techniques like weed-free cover crops, raised-bed production, delaying cover crop maturity, adding mulch to extend weed control, cover crop mixes, seeding rates and equipment for all scales.
Gearing for Stability & Growth: Designing a Small Farm for Financial Success
Panel: Evan Chender, Lucas Howerter
Double down on profitability. Topics covered: setting financial goals, four-season cash flow, growing in greenhouse/high tunnel environments, and more. Useful for vegetable growers both actively farming as well as those in the planning and development phase.
Advanced Enterprise Development & Strategizing
Nicole DelCogliano & Kimberly Hunter
Panel: Carol Coulter & Holly Whitesides
Farming requires a variety of production, management, and business skills. Understanding how financial and production records translate to business development can sometimes be challenging. Group discussion on advanced enterprise development and adaptive management strategies for beginning and advanced small farmers.
10 Easy Vegetables for Beginners
Explore how easy gardening can be! Discover the basics of ten vegetables that are easy to grow, seamlessly scaled up or down, and best of all, can provide fresh produce throughout the year.
Gardening 101: A Holistic Approach
Learn the basics of creating a garden, starting with our connection to the land and what we want to receive from it. We will discuss garden bed preparation and maintenance as well as basic plant care from seedling to harvest.
The Seed Garden
Learn to grow seed crops. Discover: selection and marking plants for improvement, best population size and isolation distances, drying and cleaning, storage and germination testing. Examples of easy-to-grow wet and dry seed crops. Use hoophouses for seed growing in summer.
The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration
Okra is an easy to grow, productive, nutritious, and beautiful heat loving crop. Let’s celebrate this wonderful vegetable and explore using the whole plant (from seed to stem) for a wide range of culinary applications and beyond.
Gardening : Experienced
Cultural Growing Techniques
Panel: Sarah Seldin, Tyson Sampson, Zaire Sabb-Hubb
Discover the traditional sustenance gardening techniques, specific crops, and diverse cultural foods from West Africa, Israel, and other regions, and how they relate to growing and eating in Appalachia. These nutritious foods can be incorporated into your garden and kitchen.
Jeanine Davis & Marc Williams
Panel: Osker Brown
With even a small shaded area, you can create a forest garden for food and medicine as well as a beautiful place in which to “forest bathe.” Learn the basics basics on how to grow, procure seeds and plants, and maintain a plentiful forest.
Grow Great Vegetables in North Carolina
Panel: Cindy Trisler
Tips and techniques for growing garden fresh salads year-round, inclding vine ripened tomatoes, crisp green peppers, outstanding winter collards, and dozens of other delicious edibles. Discussion of soil building, planting dates, succession sowing, mulch, managing water, selecting the best varieties, and more.
Growing Sweet Potatoes From Start to Finish
Panel: Annie Louise Perkinson
Grow your own sweet potato slips, plant them, cultivate healthy crops, harvest good yields, and select suitable roots for next year’s slips. Cure and store roots for top quality and minimal losses. Useful for beginner and experienced growers alike.
Grief & Trauma Support with Plant Medicine
None of us escape the trials and tribulations of life. Thankfully there are many safe, accessible, and effective tools to help with the impact of trauma. Discover plant based medicines and nervous system support that can support us through difficult times.
Growing & Selling Herbal Products
Patricia Kyritsi Howell
Transform your herb crops into a lucrative revenue stream by making and selling your own herb products. Learn the regulatory and financial considerations related to the home-made manufacture as well as marketing and sales of teas, salves, lotions, and bath products.
Take a look at the history of the hemp plant’s role in the development of our species, the events that led to its criminalization, the eventual re-introduction of the plant to our current economy and a broad look at current policies and issues around the development of this crop for farmers. Overview of production specifics for fiber, grain, and production, and a review of diseases and pests.
What’s the Buzz on Adaptogens?
Eileen Brantley & Amy Wright
Adaptogens strengthen immunity, improve mental and physical function, and relieve the impact of stress. Our ancestors across the globe incorporated adaptogens effectively. Learn to appropriately utilize these powerful herbal allies including some recipes to try at home.
Digital Skills for the Homesteader
Connecting with an online community through social media and video platforms is a common path for homesteaders. Learn from a skilled and self-taught homesteading videographer about sharing and monetizing your land-based living.
Home-Scale Grain Production
Are you wanting to produce more of the staple foods you eat or feed your livestock? Explore the many methods to successfully produce a wide variety of grains—cereals, legumes, and more—a small-scale. We’ll cover growing, harvesting, cleaning, and storage.
Practical Skills for Food Storage
Practical skills for storing food through the winter. Learn a variety of storage methods including dehydrating and drying, canning, fermenting, freezing, root cellaring, storage of root crops in the ground, and ongoing rotation for freshness. Create at-home food resiliency.
From city dweller to homesteader. Hear stories of wrangling chickens, raising rabbits, gardening, harvesting grapes, butchering goats, making sourdough and weaving washcloths. Discover ideas about setting up your homestead, how to gain practical knowledge, and learn lessons from others.
All About Minerals
Explore the macro and micro nutrients essential for optimum animal health, develop a holistic supplementation program, discover the minerals that might be lacking in mountain soils, implement the best method of supplementation, and experience the resulting nutrient density of your products.
Sustainable Meat Rabbits: Down the Rabbit Hole
Start or scale up a meat rabbit enterprise, for home or business. Learn feeding, breeding, rearing, housing, diseases, cures, processing options, marketing (direct, restaurants, distributors), and financial data. Get a realistic sense of the costs and benefits at various scales.
Livestock Learning Curves: The Biggest Things I’ve Learned From Animals
Meredith Leigh & Panel
Learn from seasoned farmers about a variety of species. From business to spiritual, discover the hard knocks and sweet gifts of livestock management. Equal parts philosophy, embarrassing stories, and technical tips, plan for a lively and educational conversation and Q&A.
Raising Bacon: Understanding Feed Rations & Alternative Feed Ingredients
“Pork” Rhyne Cureton
Although swine can close the loop on food waste, it’s not enough to just feed pigs scraps! In this session we will discuss how feed is formulated, differences in food rations depending on age or breed, how feed affects pork quality, which feed ingredients to stay away from, and the cost effectiveness of procuring alternative feeds.
Fermenting with Fungi: Molds & Yeasts
Discover fungal cultures as a way to preserve the harvest, increase nutrient availability, and create intoxicants! Work with molds and yeasts to create tempeh, meads, miso, and others. The world of fungi is vast and not limited to mushrooms.
Fungi in the Soil
Fungi are heavy lifters in the natural building and maintenance of soils, and provide many benefits to the farm, garden and landscape. Learn about fungal activity in the soil, from mushroom production, to increased plant health, to feeding the soil food web and more.
Covering both ancient knowledge and current research, learn how mushrooms can help us with many health issues including eczema, Parkinson’s disease, glucose regulation, dementia, immune regulation, addiction, depression, and more. Grow your own—often delicious—medicine on agricultural waste.
Mushroom ID Basics
If you have ever wanted a basic introduction to unlocking the edible and medicinal mushrooms in our area this is it! Includes basic taxonomy, spore printing tips, collection advice, dissecting mushrooms, and how to use field guides properly.
Learn about permaculture including ethics and principles for land, livelihood, community engagement, and more. Discover this holistic design system used to create regenerative human settlements and food systems while working harmoniously with nature and ecological systems.
Permaculture Land Assessment
Effective implementation of the permaculture principles requires a deep, robust, and holistic understanding of the specific land you are stewarding. Discover the assessment process, using an objective lens, which will lead to informed design decisions and more creativity in implementation.
Perennial Permaculture Plants Plants
Come learn about the top 20+ native and non-native perennial plants for the Western North Carolina region and why we love them. Leave this class ready to start or expand your useful and edible perennial permaculture garden, berry patch or orchard. Learn how these plants can support humans and the greater ecosystems of our region.
Integrate algal allies into your systems including a practical understanding of the top five algae cultures. Focus on spirulina due to ease of cultivation and safety for consumption. Discover media preparation, culture maintenance, batch culturing, harvesting and consumption. Hands-on.
Hentopia: DIY Chickens
Go on vacation without a chicken sitter! Discover low-tech self-filling waterers, vending machine feeders, best nest boxes, and a nearly free coop made of pallets. Slides, handouts, Q&A, and props! Cut the time and money you spend on chicken keeping.
Poultry Husbandry & Management
Learn the various pastured poultry management styles including using pasture and landscaping to benefit poultry. Discussions on coop and forage styles based on terrain and predator pressure, management of broody hens, raising chicks, utilizing manure, as well as health and wellness.
Predator Protection for Poultry
Learn to protect your birds from predators of all kinds and avoid devastating losses to your flock. Understand each predator and learn strategies for protection. Specifically we’ll discuss containment options for specific breeds of poultry.
Production, Processing & Marketing
Discussion of systems for production, processing, and selling chickens in our farm’s small scale broiler operation. We’ll cover the on-farm processing setup, methods, marketing, and customer ordering system.
Changing the Paradigm of Fertility Management
Robin “Buz” Kloot
Soils are more than a medium to grow plants, they are a living, dynamic ecosystem. As we expand the paradigms that govern soil fertility, this influences the ways in which we view, tend, engage, and benefit from soils.
No-Till Methods for the Small-Scale Grower
Cut back on tilling and cultivation to improve soil health even on a garden or small farm scale. Learn practical, methods and accessible approaches used by small-scale growers to cut back on tilling while still growing a successful crop.
Soil Food Web
Understand and steward the life in your soil to promote healthy plants and sustainable profits. Discover the soil food web and techniques for living soil using compost and compost teas. Three to five days of training condensed into 90 minutes.
Soil is complex, but with some basic knowledge of how soil works, you can farm better. Come learn how the many properties of soil interact, and how you can manage for both healthy soil and healthy plants.
Forest Farming Enterprises in Appalachia
Learn how woodland medicinals can provide long term income as a component of your forest management plan. These medicinal herbs can be grown to harvest and sell, produced as nursery and seed crops, or be part of an agritourism/educational business.
Mary Vann Johnston
Learn the role of the forest in your land plan through stewardship planning, intentional design, and management strategies. Discover the resources and tools for a variety of options that will help you achieve your forest goals and objectives.
Growing Fruit Organically in the Southeast
Andrew Goodheart Brown
Growing fruit organically in WNC can be a challenge. Discover what you need to know to design for success. Make good decisions prior to starting your fruit growing, though all levels can benefit!
Making Maple Syrup in the South: From Back-yard Sugaring to Small-Scale Farming
Wheeler & Michael Waldeck
Tap into something sweet! Delve into the lost art of sugaring in the south. Top to bottom tutorial on how to make maple syrup, whether you’re tapping a single tree, or pursuing a small-scale farming enterprise.
DIY Solar Basics (Saturday ONLY)
Introduction to solar powered systems on a small scale. Learn about siting, planning, designing, components, energy storage methods, construction, and more! Get some hands-on experience with tools to help you create your own power system.
Regenerative Farming Funding
Mari Stuart & Zev Friedman
Co-operate WNC’s new initiative helps farmers transition to climate-resilient, regenerative farming and land management practices. The program leverages cooperative funding mechanisms to implement these practices. Learn about the benefits of regenerative farming and how your farm can participate as a pilot site.
Solar Energy for Home & Farm (Sunday ONLY)
Apply the most current solar technology and equipment to your home or farm, including battery storage options. Discuss the current financial incentives, such as federal tax credits and the solar rebate program for Duke customers in NC.
The tiny home and portable house movement has swept the country. It advocates for simple living, a smaller ecological footprint, & an architectural design that meets all human needs. This class will discuss technical approaches, design concepts, rules & regulations, construction issues, infrastructure, and homesteading tips.
Water Resilience for the Homestead
John Henry Nelson
In an age of climate change and water challenges, it’s important to design and build in water resilience on your homestead or farm. Learn about collection, storage, and use. Discover how to prepare for a changing future of water challenges.
Climate Advocacy & Resilient Farming: It’s Not Too Late to Begin
Asher Wright & Steffi Rausch
Farmers are at the center of emerging solutions for a changing climate. Learn tangible strategies to build resilience into your farm as well as communication strategies to effectively engage with legislators on federal climate policy. We need both to mitigate effectively.
Growing Out Loud: The New American City (Saturday ONLY)
The current paradigm of commercial agriculture is not sustainable. Small farms and urban agriculture can improve the future of the world’s food production, improve health outcomes, and build strong communities. Discover history and guidance as this new generation of food revolutionaries.
Healing the Matriarch (Sunday ONLY)
There is a growing shift in consciousness in women around the world. Women are done with being sick and tired and ready to emerge into their full potential. Discover the imbalanced scales and ways to heal the imbalance.
Rural Justice in an Unsettled Land
An intimate portrait of the joys and hardships of rural life, in a search of community, equality, and tradition in Appalachia. Learn what thrust Charlie into organizing, teaching, and documenting in his quest for rural justice in the US and Latin America.
Stewardship Dowsing: Applied Intuition
Simple Dowsing/Divining techniques allow us to ask clearer questions and tap into superconscious awareness. When we allow our muscles and body a “voice,” it helps for more informed decision making by inviting both our conscious experiences and subconscious connections.
Questions about the program or interested in speaking at a future conference? Email Sera Deva, Conference Curriculum Coordinator at email@example.com.