Pre-conference Workshops

Friday, March 9, 2018 // 9:30–4:30

Food for All: Growing Our Community as We Grow Our Food

Food for All: Growing Our Community as We Grow Our Food

Karen Washington

The current food system seems to have been designed for disconnection, marginalization, and fragmentation. Not only are we separated from the land, but also from each other, from our food traditions, and from making decisions that affect our communities.

Join Karen for this lively and interactive conversation about food and social justice, inclusion, diversity, activism, land reform, waste management, ending hunger and poverty, and building community. Plan to become connected across social boundaries and expect to leave with passion, inspiration, and action. Bring your stories and Karen will bring hers. Sharing is where it starts.

Where: The Sherrill Center and Kimmell Arena, Mountain View Room #417

When: Friday, March 9, 2018, 9:30–4:30

Cost: $55 with Saturday and/or Sunday conference registration, $70 without

Sliding scale: OGS is offering a sliding-scale payment option for Karen’s workshop so that anyone who wants to attend, regardless of cost, may register. To pay using the sliding scale, go to the Spring Conference online registration form and select Karen’s workshop from the options under Friday Pre-conference Workshops. New questions will appear regarding payment and childcare.

More about Karen's workshop

How do we turn around the current food system and make more of the decisions affecting the food life cycle? How do we come together to strengthen our communities and reclaim our land? How do we move away from diet related diseases towards healthy nutrition?

Whether we are urban or rural, black or white, rich or poor, the answer starts in learning the history of food and how it intersects in every area of our lives. And from there, we have to talk to each other and work together to bring sanity to the entire food system. Because we all need food, it is the common denominator.

Karen has spent decades promoting food production and healthy eating. In her neighborhood, “we had the three food groups—fast, junk, and processed.” Yet in the 80s, she started an urban garden and a community sprang up around it. Karen has been a catalyst for amplifying the conversation surrounding an equitable food system, social justice and food sovereignty—making certain all voices are heard and everyone is represented around the table.

Human Health = Soil Health

Human Health = Soil Health

Dan Kittredge

Thriving and diverse gut flora as the key to health is becoming widely known. Science is discovering the vast similarities between the gut and root microbial communities. Their capacity for symbiosis and harmony or depletion and disease is all based how we approach them. When the soil is full of life-supporting probiotics, the food grown there is your ally in gut health, nutrient absorption, and immune resilience. When the soil is not healthy it leads to chronic disease and degeneration.  In order to invest in our collective health, we need to invest in rebuilding the soil.

Where: Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center

When: Friday, March 9, 2018, 9:30 to 4:30

Cost: $55 with Saturday and/or Sunday conference registration, $70 without

More about Dan's workshop

Identify Quality Food—Did you know that the iron content of one apple in 1950 is equivalent to twenty-six apples in 1998? Learn about ‘Quality Food,’ how to get it, and why it is important, and how to raise nutrition standards in our food supply.

Invest in Regenerative Agriculture—The last century of farming practices has taught us that continual production “mines” the soil and has detrimental impact. Look for holistic practices that mimic nature such as covering the soil, farming with animals, crop rotation, water filtration and conservation, limited tillage, recycling nutrients, and on-farm inputs. Learn to identify and invest in ecosystem enhancing methods.

Principles & Practices—Learn the step-by-step approaches to biological growing. The goal is to increase the health of your soil and crops for optimum soil and crop health, as well as greater yields, and healthier products. In short, learn to maintain the right conditions for the soil microbiome to thrive. We’ll cover these things:

  • Analysis of soil tests & of plant nutritional needs
  • Recommended soil amendments & cover crops to address deficiencies
  • Management of soil, air, water, minerals, and biodiversity
  • Strategies for soil health improvement
  • Troubleshooting and diagnostic approaches

This workshop is designed for health-conscious consumers and growers of any scale. Expect current research and proven methods, practical, step-by-step, instructions, and opportunities for questions and answers.

Real Food Campaign—Healthy food comes from healthy plants comes from healthy soils. Learn about a hand-held sensor to measure nutrient density which provides a direct connection between crop quality, plant, human, and ecosystem health. We can now apply real economic pressure to support the world we want to see. Dive deep into this game-changing technology, the strategy, and the science.

Principles of Biological Systems—Discover strategies for soil aeration, hydration, mineral balancing, inoculation, and feeding through the liquid carbon pathway as well as implications for soil carbon sequestration, increases in pest and disease resistance, along with nutritive value, flavor, aroma, and shelf life.

The Independent Farmstead: Smart, Savvy, Scalable Land Stewardship

The Independent Farmstead: Smart, Savvy, Scalable Land Stewardship

Beth and Shawn Dougherty

In our lifetimes, we’ve seen significant decline in the home-grown American food community. How did farm families in the past provide nearly all their food needs directly from the farm?  And how can we get there again? This full-day workshop, with Independent Farmstead authors Beth and Shawn Dougherty, is designed for the forage-based, family-scale food producer hoping to create a secure, productive food system on small acreage.

Where: Living Web Farms

When: Friday, March 9, 2018, 9:30 to 4:30

Cost: $55 with Saturday and/or Sunday conference registration, $70 without

More about Beth and Shawn's workshop

Sky-high land costs, lack of capital, and limited farming experience need not be obstacles for those who wish to build an abundant, fertile, independent cottage farm. The keys to success involve grass-fed ruminants and multi-species farming as cornerstones of the management plan—coupled with four-season gardening and garden-raised roots and grains for animal feed.

Milk from a moderate-production dairy cow provides the high-quality proteins for beef steers, pigs, chickens—with whey to fertilize the garden and heat up the compost pile—as well as milk, butter, cheese, and cream for home consumption. This small-scale dairy-centered farm sustained the majority of the world for centuries and can do so again, especially in Appalachia. This model of self-sufficiency transforms the farmer from a purveyor of purchased grains to an ecologist who orchestrates the farm’s resources. By using intensive grass management, captured water systems, home dairying, four-season gardening for food and forage, and whole-farm “no-waste” composting, homesteaders can grow food, fertility, and a future on most pieces of land.