The 2018 SD Local Foods Conference is proud to host the following pre-conference workshops on November 1st:

Pollinators – Increasing Your Production – 8:30 am to noon – $10
McCrory Gardens Visitor Center and Strawbale Building

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren of Blue Dasher Farm will facilitate this session. Blue Dasher Farm focuses on research, education, and demonstration as it relates to the regeneration of agriculture.  Their missionis to “develop and evaluate ecologically based pest and farm management solutions that reduce disturbance and increase biodiversity in crop and livestock production; promote regenerative farming practices through teaching and outreach programs focused on educating farmers, the community, and the next generation of scientists; and demonstrate the feasibility of current and novel regenerative agricultural practices on a functional farm to showcase the viability and sustainability of regenerative agriculture.”  In this session Dr. Lundgren will discuss the importance of pollinators and ways to increase production by using regenerative agriculture.

Natural Farming Practices: Is your food local? Is it sustainable? – 8:30 am to noon – $30
McCrory Gardens Visitor Center and Strawbale Building

John D. Brown is a self-proclaimed Microbe Herder, Ranch Innovation assistant, and Imagineer with the Northern Plains Resource Council and Yellowstone Valley Citizen’s Council. He has been an organic producer in both Montana and Oregon, currently does regenerative work on a ranch in Montana, specializes in soil health, and serves as the chair of the Northern Plains Ag Task Force Soil Health subcommittee.

Of the session Brown says “We are all in this adventure of life together. Sometimes we are producers, sometimes we are consumers. My goal is to bridge the gap we have created between what we perceive as producers and what we perceive as consumers. I won’t be telling anyone how to run their operations though. Every one is different, and every place is different. And food does not come from a chemistry set, it comes out of a biological system. What I will attempt to do is share how we think about things and then take action on how and what we think within the framework of these ecological systems . During our time together, we will tease out a story that we will be delighted to tell – a story of caring for and collaborating with our LOCAL neighbors that will increase our soil health, our economic health, our community health, our physical health and our mental/emotional health. This time together will be very participatory. We will blend our imaginations, experiences, questions and intentions (likely some fears as well) in ways that will consciously create the community in which we want to live, and in which we want our grandchildren and their peers to live and thrive.

Starting a Shared Commercial Kitchen – 8:00 am to noon – $10
McCrory Gardens Visitor Center and Strawbale Building

Jennifer Quail, Director of Entrepreneur Support for the Brookings Economic Development Corporation, will facilitate this session focusing on shared commercial kitchens.  The goal of the session is to share the process, collaboration efforts and resources being used to start a shared commercial kitchen in Brookings, SD. Participants can tour the facility (mid-renovation) and discuss the creative vision for this resource, anticipated users of the space, the various uses for the space, and the potential economic impact for the community. Attendees will gain an understanding of the process and requirements to start a commercial kitchen as well as scalable ideas and concepts that could be utilized or applied within their own community. Single presentation, casual Q&A format with open discussion/dialogue (hopefully) of the entire group.

Fresh Thinking, Small Farm Income Diversity – 9:00 am to noon – $10

Julie Ross, co-owner of Good Roots Farm and Gardens, will discuss their journey to become an organic vegetable farm, event space, CSA, pizza farm, commercial kitchen, and beyond. Interlaced with ideas and ways to think strategically in your own unique situation, the session will cover strategy development, visioning, planning, zoning, and execution. This workshop will include a presentation, small group discussion, and 15 minute hayride tour of the organic production, tour of the high tunnel, and tour of the commercial kitchen (weather permitting).

All About Aronia – 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm – $10
Good Roots Farm and Gardens

Presented by Julie Ross of Good Roots Farm and Gardens and Jeff and Jolene Stewart of Stewart’s Aronia Acres, this workshop will provide an introduction to aronia berry production. Topics covered will include how to get started, site preparation, growing, harvesting, the different types of aronia berries, and taste testing.  Also included will be a demo in the on-site commercial kitchen to learn about the different uses of aronia berries including smoothies, chili, appetizers, dessert pizza, jam and sauces.  Participants will also have the opportunity to tour the 6 acres of aronia in various stages of development, high tunnel, cherry bushes, and and orchard (weather permitting).

Intro to the Farm to School Handbook – 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm – $10
McCrory Gardens Visitor Center and Strawbale Building

This session, presented by Dakota Rural Action and SDSU Extension, will cover the new South Dakota Farm to School Handbook.  The handbook covers the rules, regulations, and best practices for Farm to School as it relates to producers, schools, and those passionate about teaching the next generation about food production. Attendees will receive a copy of the handbook and have the opportunity to connect with resource providers in the state.

Food Safety for Farmers: What You Need to Know – 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm – $20
McCrory Gardens Visitor Center and Strawbale Building

Presented by SDSU Extension, this session will cover the latest developments in produce safety regulations, as well as what you need to know in order to develop your own farm food safety plan.  While this session will be targeted towards fresh fruit and vegetable producers, buyers and associated organizations can benefit from the increased understanding of food safety risks on the farm.

Local Foods Education Center and Producer Support (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm) – $10
McCrory Gardens Visitor Center and Strawbale Building

This workshop, hosted by Brett Owens and Sarah McClure of the SDSU Local Foods Education Center, will cover the history and mission of the South Dakota State University Local Foods Education Center. Future research and marketing tips to help producers understand and excel in today’s local market will be discussed. A tour of the Local Foods Education Center will be provided (weather permitting).