Late Afternoon Sessions:  3:45 pm - 5:15 pm

Seed Saving: on-farm & beyond

Breakout Room: Dogwood

One of the most important keys to sustainability and profitability for growers is proper variety selection.  How do you select your varieties?  How should you evaluate their performance?  Can you develop your own varieties?  Join a lively and practical discussion on how to secure your genetic resources and customize them to your farm.  Dr. Kazokas, a specialist in vegetable breeding, will provide an overview of the international seed business and then bring the discussion closer to home by providing tips all growers can use to evaluate and improve their genetic resources on the farm. Once you have an idea of the 'how' and 'what' of seed selection for your conditions, Angie Lavezzo, a seed saver of 18 years will be presenting practical skills for saving your own seed that you can easily take to your own operation. We will talk through common challenges, pollination requirements, and good long-term storage techniques for your seeds, and finish with hands-on demonstrations of wet and dry processing techniques so you will feel confident selecting and saving on your own.

Lead by Angie Lavezzo

USDA's National Organic Program

Breakout Room: Live Oak

Jenny Tucker, Associate Deputy Administrator of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP), will discuss the USDA's role in developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products and how these ensure that USDA certified products meet consistent, uniform standards. Jenny is happy to answer any of your questions.

Lead by Jenny Tucker

Urban Agriculture

Breakout Room: Hickory




Growing Under Cover

Breakout Room: Azalea


Organic Certification 

Breakout Room: Hawthorne

In addition to some of the typical challenges of traditional rural farming like pests, labor, and access to capital, urban farming presents some unique complexities that can make running a sustainable business even more difficult. By the same token, urban growers can use their city environment to the benefit of their organizations. In this workshop, Caroline Chomanics of Fleet Farming and Mike Meier of Ground Floor Farm present their successful non-profit and for-profit urban farms as well as some lessons learned. Explore how their farms continue to grow by focusing on their crop selection, appropriate tools and cultural practices, and marketing strategies, as well as additional revenue streams beyond vegetable sales.

Lead by Caroline Chomanics & Mike Meier

Jim Gibbons owns & operates Gibbons Organics, a 2 acre farm--including one acre of greenhouses-- which provides locally grown organic produce to his surrounding community by way of the Fort Pierce Farmers’ Market. In this workshop, Jim will be sharing his first-hand experience and expertise covered crop production. Dr. Majumdar will share his knowledge of pest management in covered crop production. The workshop will introduce participants to two methods of pest control using research data from Alabama: the high tunnel pest exclusion system for pest prevention and bio-insecticide use including tank-mixes and rotations. Participants will also receive a number of free IPM publications such as the Alternative Vegetable IPM Slide Chart and colorful pest scouting bulletins for major crops.

Lead by Dr. Ayanava Majumdar & Jim Gibbons

Are you thinking about getting certified, but don't know where to start? Are you unsure if certification is right for you? Do you have questions about the USDA organic standards? Come join two accredited certifying agents as they explain the National Organic Program crop and livestock requirements, the certification process, and tips for filling out an application. This interactive presentation is great for crop and livestock producers, ag professionals, and organic food enthusiasts!

Lead by Kelli Diaz & Vallerie Torres