All you need to know about PASA’s Farming for the Future conference

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 01/19, 2018 at 10:35 AM

All you need to know about PASA’s Farming for the Future conference

From our friends at the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA), all the information you’ll need about the 27th annual Farming for the Future conference, to be held February 7-10 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. Two things you need to know right off the bat: pre-conference registration ends January 31, and this is the last year that the event will be held in the State College area. Read on for more details on the event from PASA:

Join us for PASA’s nationally renowned Farming for the Future Conference for its 27th year! An event not to be missed, this conference brings together thousands of farmers, local food activists, backyard gardeners, sustainable ag industry partners and experts from the field. Our guest speakers and sessions will address meaningful issues in this time of transition in agriculture.

This year, the conference theme of Farming in a Time of Transition examines the many ways farms and farmers are facing the challenges that come with a changing workforce, environment, and marketplace. With an aging population of farmers, agriculture must transfer farmland and skills to a new generation - a generation that will face new technologies and be more diverse than ever before. They will also have to contend with unpredictable weather patterns as the climate continues to change. Even getting product to market is happening in a changing landscape of methods and technology. Through it all, farmers will keep farming and the PASA Conference will help bring them the skills, knowledge and support to navigate these changes successfully.

“We are entering a challenging time,” says Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Executive Director of PASA. “A majority of our farms will change hands in the not too distant future. It’s up to us to be prepared. It will take determination, know-how and generosity. Together, we can ensure the continuation of our farms, our markets and our livelihoods through educational treasures like the Farming for the Future Conference and with support from the tremendously important PASA network.”

Taking place at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA, the PASA Conference attracts attendees from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond, building a community of innovation and inspiration. While over half of the attendees are farmers, the full spectrum of the agriculture and food system is represented - with educators, students, researchers, consultants, activists, and eaters. Even the youngest future farmers (K to 8th) can enjoy a kids program designed just for them.

Each year, PASA staff and their volunteer committee work very hard to find unique and compelling, innovative, and enthusiastic individuals to offer new views and push our audience members to see their work in a new light. With programs that cover a range of topics, including soil health strategies, apprenticeships for beginning farmers, uprooting racism in the food system and raising pastured pigs, the conference schedule offers a something for everyone.

The 2018 keynote speakers will take three different approaches to exploring our theme of transition. Lindsey Lusher Shute, Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition, comes from the front lines of making farming a viable option for the next generation through policy changes and access to capital. Karen Washington is a farmer and activist who is working to include people of color at the table of food and farming. Chris Blanchard, farmer and producer of the Farmer to Farmer podcast, will ask the tough question of how farming can be a viable and attractive career path with a healthy work-life balance and the ability to support a farmer through retirement without selling off the land.

Other featured speakers will bring their expertise on a variety of topics: Pam Dawling, Amanda Feifer, Craig Haney, Hue Karreman and Suzanne Nelson Karreman, Heather Manzo, Jeff Mattocks, Andrew Mefferd, Jim Travis, and many more! The full schedule and programming can be viewed at pasafarming.org/conference.

Another popular feature is the trade show, which features nearly 100 businesses and organizations.

Registration is open and available at conference.pasafarming.org/register or by phone at (814) 349-9856. PASA members receive a discounted rate. Scholarships are available through our Arias S. Brownback and PASAbilities funds. A WorkShare program is also an option for attendees to help reduce the cost of registration.

Special thanks goes to our top sponsors: Lady Moon Farms, Kimberton Whole Foods, and Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO).

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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