6th Annual North Coast Farmers’ Convergence

A New & Expanded Farmers’ Convergence

This annual event brings together food producers from Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties, along with local agencies and organizations that serve the food and farming community of Northern California.

Local farmers, ranchers, food producers, retailers, advocates, and support organizations from across the region will come together at Ridgewood Ranch, just south of Willits, for two days of facilitated networking, sharing skills and ideas, to build a network of support while sharing best practices. The Convergence will also celebrate growing resilient local food systems and the vital profession of farming.

This year’s Farmers’ Convergence is an opportunity for our community to gain access to resources, people, and programs they may not have known existed. Ideally, attendees will leave the event prepared for the growing season ahead.

Day 1 – 2/20/18

  • Local legend Doug Mosel of The Mendocino Grain Project will kick Tuesday off with an inspiring welcome.
  • Keynote SpeakersGloria and Steven Decater, founders of Live Power Community Farm in Covelo. They will share their journey as organic and Biodynamic pioneers in California. Founded in Round Valley in 1973, Live Power Community Farm is a 50-acre, solar electric and horse-powered, diversified, certified biodynamic farm. Four acres are devoted to an intensive vegetable garden hosting some 60 varieties of vegetables and herbs. Live Power’s animal husbandry includes draft horses, dairy and beef cows, feeder pigs, sheep, and laying hens.
  • Eric Shramm, renowned mushroom expert and owner of the world’s oldest solely wild-mushroom company, Mendocino Mushrooms, will explore the connections between mycelium, the earth, and all of us in a fascinating talk ‘Man, Mushrooms, and The Earth’. “Life wouldn’t exist without fungi doing what they do. Under one footstep is 300 miles of mycelium. It breaks everything down to the carbon molecule” says Shramm.
  • Evan Wiig of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) will moderate a panel “Climate Smart Farming in the Real World,” a conversation with speakers Paul Kaiser, from Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol; Gowan Batist of Fortunate Farm in Caspar; and Adam Gaska of Mendocino Meats in Redwood Valley on sustainable farming in action, visions for the future, and resources available for your farm.
  • Small Equiptment Workshop with Hunter Flynn and Isabel Quiroz, Owners of Tequio Community Farm. Learn about the tools and small equipment that can revolutionize a market farm operation, saving time and dramatically increase production efficiency and volume.
  • West Company will be on hand to offer farm business consulting to attendees, with helpful information on accounting systems, farm labor, taxes, and other nuts and bolts that are important in operating any business.
  • No-Till Farming Round Table Discussion with Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm. Whether you’re brand new and looking to transition or already use a no-till system at your farm, this discussion is the perfect place to get your questions answered and learn more about this beneficial farming practice.
  • CSA Round Table Discussion with Elizabeth Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm. CSAs can play an important role in a diversified farm. Elizabeth will share some successful tools she has learned over the years, including making their CSA available to EBT customers.
  • Humane Poultry Slaughter and Butcher with Ruthie King of the School of Adaptive Agriculture. Learn the theory and practice behind humane slaughter and butcher techniques for poultry, including the science behind different kill methods, anatomy and physiology, low stress handling and meat quality.
  • Seed Saving Workshop & Swap with Ava Ryan, Manager of the NCO Gardens Project & Jen Lyon of the Yokayo Seed Project. Bring some seeds to share if you have them, pick up some other seeds to grow out this year, and then bring back more seeds next year.
  • Common Vegetable Pests & Integrated Pest Management with Glenn McGourty of the UC Cooperative Extension.
  • What Kind of Commercial Kitchen Do You Want? A discussion of local food processing models with Fontaine McFadden, of NCO.
  • Ranching with Wildlife with Dr. Kim Rodrigues Director of UC ANR Research & Extension Center.
  • Tuesday will close with a late afternoon mixer, where food producers and buyers can make connections and establish sales relationships over locally sourced beer, wine, and other beverages. Inland Mendocino Farmers’ Guild falls on the same day as the Convergence, which is the perfect excuse for us to stick around for awhile, enjoy a beverage, and relax. The talented volunteers from The Caring Kitchen Project will be featuring some light refreshments. Read about their great work here. 
  • For more details on the Day 1 workshops – follow this link.

Day 2 – 2/21/18

  • Kali Feiereisel, farmer and Food Safety Specialist with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), will share current information on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  An overview of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) will also be discussed, as well as best practices for retaining high quality produce through effective and safe postharvest practices. This training will be half in the classroom and half on Tequio Community Farm, discussing real farm examples of how to integrate practical, useful, and effective “right-sized” food safety on the farm.

Tickets

  • Tickets are available via Brown Paper Ticketshttps://2018convergence.brownpapertickets.com/
  • To encourage attendees to bring a friend, we’re offering a special ticket price this year – $20/person or $30 for 2 people! We hope this will encourage additional folk from the larger farming community and North Coast foodshed to come together for a day of networking, sharing skills and ideas.
  • We are also offering a pay it forward ticket, where folk can pay a little extra to support a farmer who can’t afford a ticket.
  • Tickets include breakfast, snack and lunch produced with local ingredients.
  • Attendees are encouraged to register in advance. Space is limited and early registration is encouraged.
  • No one will be turned away due to lack of funds and scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors. Please contact Kelly at office@adaptiveagriculture.org if you would like to apply for a scholarship or if you have any other questions about this year’s convergence.

What Past Participants Have to Say

  • “I love getting all the ideas, and those little nuggets help launch me into the new ideas for the next season,” said Laytonville farmer Irene Engber of Irene’s Garden (of last year’s event).
  • “I’ve referred to talks I heard at the last convergence multiple times throughout the year,” said Caroline Radice of Black Dog Farm. “It was worth every minute that I attended, and I can’t wait to go again this year.”

Sponsors

This year’s Farmers’ Convergence is made possible by our generous sponsors:

  • Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op
  • Surf Market
  • Mendocino County Farm Bureau
  • Sonoma Clean Power
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers
  • Savings Bank of Mendocino
  • UC Hopland Research & Extension Center
  • Yokayo Seed Project
  • MendoLake Food Hub
  • Good Farm Fund
  • School of Adaptive Agriculture
  • North Coast Opportunities
  • Golden Rule Church Association
  • West Company

Local Lodging

  • Onsite camping is available at the School of Adaptive Agriculture. Please contact Ruthie King at ruthie@adaptiveagriculture.org.
  • Yokayo Ranch has vineyard view rooms available. If interested please contact Julia Dakin at fresh.julia@gmail.com.
  • VisitMendocino also has an extensive list of local lodging options in the area on their website.

Media Materials

Program(s) Involved: Community Wellness Projects Mendo Lake Food Hub Good Farm Fund School of Adaptive Agriculture