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Focus on Farming conference offers workshops, speakers

Nov 8th, 2013 | Category: Community

Growing Power’s Will Allen keynote speaker

The 10th annual Focus On Farming Conference will take place Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Comcast Arena in Everett. Farmers and growers of all sizes and styles, local residents and businesses are welcome to attend to learn about innovative ideas from local and national farmers, and see how new and upcoming farmers are shaping the future of the agricultural world.

The event includes a 17,000 square foot trade show featuring products and information from local businesses, producers and others, as well as lunch prepared by regional chefs.

The Morning Keynote Speaker is Will Allen, founder of Growing Power, a national non-profit based in Milwaukee. At Growing Power and in community food projects across the nation and around the world, Allen promotes the belief that all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, should have access to fresh, safe, affordable and nutritious foods at all times. Allen trains community members to become community farmers, showing them a secure source of good food without regard to politics or economics. A former professional basketball player, he is considered a leader in urban agriculture. Allen, a former professional basketball player, is widely considered the leading authority on urban agriculture. He will lead four workshops during the conference.

Will Allen, of Growing Power, is the keynote speaker. COURTESY PHOTO

Growing Power’s Will Allen is the keynote speaker and will lead four workshops throughout the day. COURTESY PHOTO

Participants can choose from 24 workshop classes with six industry tracks presented by some of the top experts in the country. The tracks include:

• Business of Farming: State Taxes & Records for Agriculture Business; Launching Fact Sheets for the 7th Edition of the WSDA Small Farm Direct Marketing Handbook; Value-Added Operations & Marketing; Basic Succession Planning for Farmers.

• Extending Your Season and Market: Growin’ Great Early and Late Leafy Greens; Pushing the Envelope on Your Production and Market Season; The Highs and Lows of Tunnel Production; Get Funding for Your High Tunnels.

• Growing Power: Soil Building in the City – Vermicomposting; Aquaponics – The Integrated Systems of Fish and Produce; Intense Production Methods – Smart Season Extension; Crops Do Include People – Creating Jobs, Growing Lives.

• Hot Topics: Meeting the Food Safety Challenge: The Willie Greens Experience; Value-added Products in the Marketplace; Rolling Up Our Sleeves & Getting Our Hands Dirty!; SAgE Collaborative: Sustainable Agriculture Education for the Puget Sound Bioregion.

• Livestock: What’s the Hype about Heritage Pork?; Fodder Feeding for the Dairy; Parasite Control in the Small Ruminant; Beef Quality Assurance: How to Keep Customers Coming Back.

• Nursery and Greenhouse: Diagnosing Plant Problems: Distinguishing Plant Symptoms from Pest Signs; Greenhouse LEAN: Things You’d Do Differently if Only You’d Known When You Started; Edibles Your Customers Will Eat Up; New Best Management Practices for Growing Clean Plants.

The lunch keynote speaker is Rod Brooks, V.P. and Chief Marketing Officer, of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company, who will discuss how market farm products is the most requested information by farmers. Ryan Holterhoff and Kara Rowe will also present “Food is What Washington Grown is all About.”

Th day will also include a USDA Farm Bill Update with Jay Tomkus on behalf of Congresswoman Susan DelBene, as well as a wine and cheese tasting.

Any farmers and food producers with a valued added product that would like to be featured in this year’s “A Local Taste” event at the conference can set up free of charge, hand out samples and seel products.

For more information, see http://www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/County_Services/Focus_on_Farming/Information/Conferences/.

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