Organic Farming Winter Conference
Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York
The 2013 Northeast Organic Farming and Gardening conference took place at the Saratoga Hilton and the theme was Resilience. This was my first time at a NOFA Conference and was to be my “coming out into farming” party, so to speak. The scheduled workshops had high interest but in regards to the rest of the conference, I really did not know what to expect.
Serving up our local organic farming bounty
Friday’s Local Taste event was a superb way to start off the Conference. A nice assortment of artisan breads, cheeses, pastas and even bourbon – all made with local grains. During breakfast, lunch and dinner there were at any one time over 500 farming & gardening folks chowing down on some of the tastiest local and organic dishes in New York State.
Serving up knowledge and experience
The workshops I attended were excellent. Almost all of the them were easily running over the scheduled time because of the combinations of an engaged, inquisitive audience and guest speakers wishing to impart all of their knowledge. The diversity of sessions made it tough to choose which to attend. Here’s what I attended:
- Homestead Brewing with Victoria Kombol from Windflower Farm
- Forest Farming of Shiitake and more with Cornell Cooperative Extension
- Successful Farmers Cooperatives with Anthony Mariscotta from Deep Root Organics
- Enterprise Hogs with Brad Marshall of The Piggery
- Food Processors Marketing with several experts
- Weed Management with Andrew Dygert of Interbrook Farm
- Off-Grid Farming with Raymond Luhrman from Fox Creek Farm CSA
- Working with Volunteers with Jacob Eisman of Six Circle Farm
Serving up social networking
To me, the conference felt like a Grateful Dead show. Everyone was so open and transparent. You could strike up a conversation with anyone. There was lots of heritage songs being played throughout the program by the Sylvester Manor Worksongers. Friendly vendors selling useful items in organic farming and gardening. They even offered free yoga in the mornings. It’s the perfect conference to recharge your sustainable agricultural batteries, get new perspectives, take lots of notes, make connections and then take that back home to your garden, farm, business, etc… to keep you going on the journey. In other words, you’re not alone – the support network is here!
NOFA NY Future Conferences
I also got the chance to volunteer for several hours during registration, so that was cool to play a small part in the event. If you like local food, organic farming, gardening, heritage music, hands-on sessions and workshops – I suggest you check out NOFA events website to learn more about future conferences if you’re in the area.