Community Agriculture Conference

The conference will be virtual this year with daily sessions over Zoom throughout the week of February 22-27, 2021. Once you register, you will be able to sign up for as many sessions as you like. The session sign up information will be in your confirmation email.

Registration: The registration fee is up to you! You can attend for free or add on a donation to your registration.

Keynote Presentation

Gary Nabhan will be our keynote speaker on Saturday, February 27th with the presentation Preventing Extinction of Ecological Relationships: Community-Based Restoration & Collaboration. Gary is an Agricultural Ecologist, Ethnobotinist, Ecumenical Franciscan Brother, and author whose work has focused primarily on the interaction of biodiversity and cultural diversity of the arid binational Southwest. He is considered a pioneer in the heirloom seed saving movement, in part because in 1982 he co-founded Native Seeds/SEARCH, a non-profit conservation organization which works to preserve place-based Southwestern agricultural plants as well as knowledge of their uses. He currently is a faculty member of the University of Arizona as a research social scientist. Gary lives on a five-acre homestead where he farms a diverse set of heirloom fruit and nut varieties from the Spanish Mission era and from the Middle Eastern homelands of his Lebanese ancestors, as well as heritage grains and beans adapted to arid climates.

Conference Sessions

Monday, February 22nd, 6:00 pm, A Permaculture Approach to Foodscaping presented by Matt Lebon, founder of 
Custom Foodscaping ~ There is tremendous wisdom in the ecological systems around us. In this class we will explore design ideas and techniques that seek to mimic nature and create a low-maintenance edible abundance.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 6:00 pm, Growing Mushrooms at Home presented by Henry Hellmuth, Ozark Forest Mushrooms ~ Growing mushrooms at home can be exciting but a bit daunting. The presenter will cover the best ways to start mushrooms at home, the easiest and tastiest varieties, and the common pitfalls all mushroom growers face.

Wednesday, February 24th, 6:00 pm, The Sensory & Motor Benefits of School Garden Programs presented by Gabrielle Mack, PT (Physical Therapist), OTR/L (Occupational Therapist Registered/Licensed) ~ The physical and sensory stimulation experienced by children participating in school garden programs primes the nervous system for learning. All kids benefit from this stimulation – those diagnosed with mental health challenges and those without. Learn the connection between gardening tasks and self regulation in school children; explore research into the connection between movement, and attention and well being.

Thursday, February 25th, 6:00 pm, Organic Pest Solutions for your Vegetable Garden presented by Jackson Hambrick, Gateway Greening ~ Using simple pest management can keep your garden healthy and bountiful. This presentation will discuss the common pests for annual vegetables in the Midwest and using IPM (integrated pest management) as the structure for how best to deal with pests and disease safely as well as using organic techniques.

Friday, February 26th, 6:00 pm, Caring for the Life Beneath our Feet, presented by Dean Gunderson, Gateway Greening ~ Healthy plants come from healthy soil and healthy soil is to a great extent created by healthy soil life. Learn why soil life is so vital to increase your soil health and how to create these conditions in your garden and orchard.

Keynote Presentation: Saturday, February 27th, 2:00 pm, Preventing Extinction of Ecological Relationships: Community-Based Restoration & Collaboration, presented by Gary Nabhan, Keynote Speaker ~ Gary will discuss the human health and social benefits that come from the work of restoring plant-pollinator interactions and soil microbial diversity.

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A big thank you goes out to all of our sponsors for this event!