Information about the 2021 Conference Coming Soon!
All information posted is about the 27th Annual Event, which happened March 8 - 10, 2020. Information about next year's conference will be posted in fall of 2020.
About Coronavirus Prevention
The World Health Organization recommends these steps for preventing exposure to any illness.
- Wash your hands frequently (we will have hand sanitizer at many locations at the conference)
- Maintain social distancing (three feet away from folks who are coughing)
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Practice respiratory hygiene (cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing)
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Also, please stay home if you feel unwell.
What is the Spring Conference and where is it held?
The Spring Conference is a one-of-a-kind event that offers regionally specific workshops on organic growing and sustainable living. Our mission is to provide down-to-earth, practical advice while remaining affordable and accessible to anyone who wants to participate. For 27 years, the Spring Conference has brought together environmentally minded folks from 18 states and Canada.
Why did you move locations last year?
- FREE and easy parking
- Larger classroom sizes
- More centralized indoor location for exhibitors and registration
- More food vendor options
- And best of all, MORE AFFORDABLE (which as a non-profit really helps keep our expenses down and registration costs low.)
We look forward to see you all at Mars Hill University.
How do I find Mars Hill University and where do I park when I arrive?
Can I register at the event?
Please note that registration prices INCREASE at the door (this is NEW in 2020).
But, yes! Walk-in, on-site, day-of registration is available all day Saturday and Sunday at Mars Hill University. There is NO walk-in registration for Friday Pre-conference Workshops. You may also register online for both pre-conference and weekend events. Online registration closes as of 11:59PM on Wednesday before the event.
The price structure is as follows:
Early Bird Prices (12/13/2019 – 1/31/2020):
- Saturday Only $65
- Sunday Only $55
- Full Weekend $110
Regular Prices (2/1/2020 – 3/4/2020):
- Saturday Only $80
- Sunday Only $70
- Full Weekend $140
Walk-in Prices (3/7 & 3/8/2020):
- Saturday Only $85
- Sunday Only $75
- Full Weekend $150
I'm having a hard time registering online. Can I register another way?
Where can I view a full schedule?
Can you help me understand the class schedule?
PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS take place on the Friday before the Conference Weekend and are in-depth, all-day classes that you can register for separately or with regular conference registration.
TRACKS are educational categories of workshops (e.g., the Farming: Beginning track will feature workshops specifically for those who are new to farming).
Workshops are 1.5 hour blocks of education within tracks. There are 4 workshops per track on both Saturday and Sunday.
- Workshop 1: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
- Workshop 2: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
- Workshop 3: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
- Workshop 4: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
You can attend up to four workshops in one day. You do not have to attend all your workshops in a single track. You are free to switch around from track to track throughout the day. Please note that the Farmers: Experienced Track is in the form of extended round-table sessions, that each run for 3 hours and span two ‘sessions’. There are four total classes offered in this track over the weekend. No pre-registration is required for any of these workshops.
Many workshops are repeated on both days to give you a better chance of getting to all the awesome workshops you want to see.
HALF DAY WORKSHOPS have two time slots per day with a 30-minute break in the middle of each workshop. These workshops require pre-registration, and cost an additional $10 in materials fees.
- MORNING WORKSHOPS: 9:00AM to 12:30PM
- AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS: 2:00PM to 5:30PM
What do Workshops cost?
EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION PRICES FOR THE CONFERENCE WEEKEND (SATURDAY AND SUNDAY) (through January 31, 2020)
- $65 for Saturday Only
- $55 for Sunday Only
- $110 for Full Weekend (Saturday & Sunday)
REGULAR REGISTRATION PRICES FOR THE CONFERENCE WEEKEND (SATURDAY AND SUNDAY) (starting February 1, 2020)
- $80 for Saturday Only
- $70 for Sunday Only
- $140 for Full Weekend (Saturday & Sunday)
SATURDAY & SUNDAY WORKSHOPS
Registration for Saturday and/or Sunday gets you access to all 90-minute workshops, and the Gardening & Farming: Experienced Roundtable sessions. Seating is first come, first served. If a class is full, go to your second choice. There is no additional sign up for these classes, and they do not require entry or materials fees.
HALF DAY WORKSHOPS
Half Day Workshops require additional registration and materials fees of $10 per workshop ON TOP OF regular conference registration. These fees will be collected at time of registration.
Pre-Conference Workshops require additional registration and fees; they take place on Friday before the conference weekend (for 2020, Friday, March 6th). If you register for Saturday and/or Sunday, a Pre-conference Workshop registration will cost $60 per workshop. You may purchase a Pre-conference Workshop without also purchasing a conference registration. In this case, the cost per workshop is $75.
FRIDAY EVENING “FARMING WHILE BLACK” LEAH PENNIMAN EVENT
We are offering the Leah Penniman Friday Evening Lecture event at a sliding scale from $5-$25. Any amount paid over $25 will be donated to NC Reparations project(s) chosen through the Soul Fire Farm Reparations Map. You can register for this event seperately or with a conference registration through our regular registration form.
What about lunch?
What are Half Day Workshops and when do they happen?
Half-Day Workshops cover topics that warrant a more in-depth look, and are often ‘maker’ workshops where you get to take something home. These classes are 3 hours with a 30-minute break (in contrast to our 90-minute classes) and occur at the same time as the classes. They cost an extra $10 on top of your conference registration because they are hands-on in nature and require a materials fee. These workshops are some of the most popular offerings at the event, so make sure to register early to reserve your spot!
Can I register for just a class or two, and not the whole day?
Because we try to keep things both affordable and simple, we regret that we cannot offer partial registrations.
Can I bring my child to the conference? Is there a kid's program?
- Parents with infants are welcome in class as long as disturbance is minimized.
- Sometimes a parent will register their mature teenager to attend classes as an adult. This requires a separate registration for the teenager to attend the conference as an adult. We do have a requirement that the behavior mirror adult behavior in the classrooms and on site.
Something’s come up. Can I get a refund?
Registration fees for all Organic Growers School events are non-refundable. The Spring Conference will be held rain, snow, or sun.
The only exception is if you 1) register for a half-day workshop, 2) are notified that the workshop or class is full, and 3) choose not to attend as a result.
If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to pass your registration on to the person of your choice. Please let us know so we can change it in our system. We can also send you documentation so that your registration fee can be recorded as a tax-deductible contribution to the on-going work of Organic Growers School.
Should the conference be cancelled through an act of god/goddess (natural disaster, epidemic, or for any other reason) the non-refundable registration policy also applies.
I'm a member of the press. Where can I get a press release and press pass?
A press release for the 2020 Spring Conference is coming soon! For high-resolution images, visit the Organic Growers School Flickr page where each photo has a variety of sizes available for download. Or contact our Communications Director, Sarah Zielke, at email@example.com.
We make a limited number of Spring Conference press passes available. For more information, please contact our Communications Director, Sarah Zielke, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are past programs from the Spring Conference available?
The Spring Conference has been a yearly tradition in Western North Carolina since 1993. Here are some past programs for viewing.