The 2017 California Small Farm Conference was held on October 29 and 30 at the Robert Cabral Agricultural Center in Stockton. The two-day event was an opportunity for farmers’ market managers and producers of varying experience to hear industry updates and operational guidance.
The first day was filled with different field courses and short courses providing onsite education at local farming operations, farmers markets, and production facilities. The short courses offered attendees an opportunity to hear approaches for beginning a cottage foods business as well as a study of the small urban businesses that have developed in San Joaquin County. One of the field courses brought participants out to farming locations to hear about conservation practices. The other field course was a comprehensive look at farmers markets.
The second day of the conference offered three workshop sessions throughout the day. The morning session hosted presentations on topics including farm management, soil health and maintaining the integrity of a farmer’s market. Formulating financing strategies for sustainable farmland succession was also discussed before the keynote speakers spoke at the plenary session.
The first set of keynote speakers were the creators of Woodleaf Farms, Carl Rosato, and Helen Atthowe, who are leaders in the sustainable farming community. They were followed by an address from Danny Lazzarini and Andrew Seidman who were handpicked to take over Woodleaf Farms. Lazzarini and Seidman both spoke about the amount of community support they have received in the wake of the wildfire that destroyed their home and much of the farm.
The afternoon sessions featured presentations on the management of biodiversity, food safety regulations, farm financing and how to become more engaged in policy. Workshops also offered marketing strategies on how farmers can increase their success at farmers’ markets.
The California Small Farm Conference has been bringing together producers, farmers’ markets managers, and other industry experts to share their knowledge with the community for 30 years. The leadership provided by the California Small Farm Conference Board of Directors has a mission to provide educational opportunities and the necessary resources to address the concerns of small-scale farmers, ranchers, and market managers.