We are excited to announce details about the…
Virginia Biological Farming Conference
Jan 31 – Feb 1, 2014
Richmond, VA Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
This year’s exciting Keynote speakers:
Gunther Hauk, world-renowned biodynamic beekeeper and central figure in the movie Queen of the Sun, will deliver the Friday evening Keynote address. Gunther has been an educator, biodynamic gardener/farmer, and beekeeper for nearly four decades. In 1996 he co-founded the Pfeiffer Center and built up one of the first biodynamic training programs in the US. Since that time he has been lecturing and giving workshops on biodynamic / sustainable beekeeping methods. His book Toward Saving the Honeybee was first published in 2002. Together with Vivian he co-founded Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary in 2006. Watch a video of Gunther speaking here.
Ray Archuleta, Conservation Agronomist, NRCS, is an inspiring and informative speaker about “Healthy Soils for Healthy Profits.” Ray will deliver the Friday lunch plenary session. Watch a video of a previous keynote address of Ray’s here.
Conference Sessions include:
Profitable Vegetable Farming on 1.5 Acres: BioIntensive Market Garden - by Jean-Martin Fortier, Les Jardins de la Grelinette.
Les Jardins de la Grelinette is a micro-farm located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, just north of the American border. Despite growing on 1.5 acres of land, owners Jean-Martin and Maude-Hélène manage to feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands. For more than a decade there market garden as provided the only household income, their operation generating close to 140 000 $ in sales with a profit margin of around 40 %. The secret of their success reside on low-tech, high-yield methods of production they’ve developed by continuously focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.
In this session Jean-Martin Fortier provides an overview of all aspects of vegetable production at les Jardins de la Grelinette demonstrating how adopting intensive methods of production can lead to the optimization of a cropping system. (Note: Their website is in French, but Google Translate works very well to present it in English. The conference session will be in English!)
The Sustainable Home and Small farm Flock: Moving Toward a New Feeding Paradigm and The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Markets Growers - by Harvey Ussery, The Modern Homestead
Successful Management of a Diversified Organic Farm - by Stacy Brenner and John Bliss, Broadturn Farm.
Broadturn Farm is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm located 10 miles from Portland, Maine that raises vegetables and cut flowers. Their vegetables are MOFGA certified organic. The farm is famous for hosting barn weddings and events, and floral design for events off-site. Produce and flowers are sold in the dooryard farm-stand, as well as through a traditional CSA program. The farm provides flowers and design services for weddings throughout Maine, NH and the Boston area. The farm is partnered with The Long Barn, a non-profit whose focus is on connecting the farm with the community through educational programming. Broadturn owners and operators will share an overview of the key elements to their diversified farm’s success over the past decade.
Organic Cut Flowers - by Mark Cain, Dripping Springs Garden
Mark Cain came to organic market gardening through his interest in all things biological, with a degree in biology from the University of Illinois and subsequent study in organic horticulture at the Farm and Garden Project of the University of California Santa Cruz in 1978. Mark is an active member of the Fayetteville Farmers Market Board of Directors, and often an invited speaker at local and regional sustainable agriculture conferences. An avid practitioner of ashtanga-vinyasa yoga, Mark also teaches at a local studio, and to summer interns at Dripping Springs Garden.
Growing Cool Season Vegetable Crops in High Tunnels and Greenhouse Herb and Transplant Production for Profit - by Paul and Alison Wiediger, Au Natural Farm.
$43,560 Project - by Clif Slade Learn how to gross $1 per square foot – with 43,560 square feet per acre – to manage your small farm for profit, using organic growing methods.
Beneficial Insects and Farmscaping and Managing Pests in Virginia - by Richard McDonald (“Dr. McBug”) - Dr. McDonald’s business, Symbiont Biological Pest Management Company, specializes in utilizing naturally occurring, beneficial insects to control pest insects and weeds in a variety of situations, from farm to home. Learn from Dr. McBug how to apply these methods in your setting.
Edible Landscape Plants - by Michael McConkey, Edible Landscaping
- Multiple Hands-On Sessions - New this Year! - including Vegetable Plant Grafting Techniques, Soil Blocks, Tractor-Method Rolling of Landscape Fabric for End-of-Season Storage, and Simple Farm Structure Construction.
- Women in Agriculture Panel
- Postharvest Handling of Vegetables and Berries
- Brewers, Bakers, and Farmers: Successful Collaborations between Growers and Artisans
- Raw Milk and Herdshares
- The Homestead Art of Fermentation
- Practical Tools for Small Growers
- How your Smartphone Can Increase your Farm Profitability and Efficiency
- Farmer Experiences in Profiting from Social Media
- Experiences with Meat Goat Production and Marketing
- Increasing Farm Profits through Food Hub Participation
Stay tuned for Early Bird Registration!
* * *
VABF will also offer two separate day-long intensives on January 30, 2014, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel (same location as Conference), as we did in 2013. These day-long workshops will be a separate registration from the Conference and have a limited number of spaces available. This year we will offer:
Profitable Management of a Diversified Organic Vegetable & Flower Farm: Strategies Developed Over a Decade of Successful Farming by Stacy Brenner and John Bliss, Broadturn Farm.
Biodynamic Gardening and Beekeeping - A Day with Gunther Hauk of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary
Registration for both will begin soon. Information will be updated on the conference page of our website.
~ * The Virginia Biological Farming Conference is co-hosted by Virginia State University and the Virginia Association for Biological Farming. * ~