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Farm-to-Table trade event, Sustainable Ag conference coming up

Mar 2nd, 2012 | Category: Events, Farms, News

WHATCOM – Two local conferences are coming up this month for farmers, producers and others interested in local agriculture in northwest Washington. The events will offer panelists, highlight market information, and offer ideas in the sustainable and organic sectors. All are welcome.

The annual Northwest Washington Farm to Table Trade Event will be held Thursday, March 15 at the Peace Health Community Education Center in Bellingham. Covering Skagit, Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties, the trade meeting fosters direct connections for local farmers, fishers, food producers and regional buyers, and others interested in sourcing local ingredients.
The event is hosted by Sustainable Connections, co-sponsored by regional non-profit organizations Cascade Harvest Coalition, WSU Whatcom County Extension and the Northwest Agriculture Business Center, with support from WSDA Specialty Crops Block Grant and the Community Foundation of Whatcom County.

Fishers and ranchers, chefs, distributors, restaurateurs, processors, caterers, and grocers, and other interested in making local connections are encouraged to attend.

In addition to the keynote address, 18 speakers from around the region will present information on trade topics, including: Regional farmer co-ops and food hub developments; Does local cost more? Chefs, buyers and farmers dish the truth; and meeting the challenge of Farm to School demand with local distribution.

This year, there will be more networking and one-on-one consultations available, as well as tabling with agriculture support professionals.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is $15 per person at Brown Paper Tickets <www.brownpapertickets.com/event/227240>  and includes a light lunch and snacks.  A trade table costs $35 (space is limited). For more information, visit www.sustainable connections.org.

Following this event is the 1st Annual Northwest Washington Sustainable Agriculture Conference, organized by Washington State University Whatcom County Extension. The event will take place Monday, March 19 at the Rotary Building at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden.

This daylong event will feature seminars on topics relevant to sustainable and organic producers. The morning session will be an intensive program on irrigation and fertigation.  The afternoon session will feature two tracks. The crop production track will discuss topics of cover crops, soil fertility, weed management, small grain production and off-season small fruit production. The livestock track will feature topics of meat poultry production, veterinary issues, pasture management, and alternative livestock feeds.

Sponsors of the event include Osborne Seed Company and the Community Food Coop Farm Fund. Partial scholarships are available to Whatcom County farmers, thanks to a grant from the Community Food Coop Farm Fund.

Registration and other information can be found at whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/edu/susagconf. The cost is $60 per person for the day-long sessions and lunch, or $40 for the afternoon-only session. Registration after March 12 will cost an additional $10. A limited number of partial scholarships are available to Whatcom County farmers.

For more information, contact Colleen Burrows at (360) 676-6736 or cburrows@wsu.edu.

Published in the March 2012 issue of Grow Northwest magazine.

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