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Food and Farm Conference returns for 10th year

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to The Union


WHO: Sierra Harvest

WHAT: 10th Annual Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

WHERE: Nevada Union High School, 11761 Ridge Rd, Grass Valley

WHEN: Feb. 7 through 9

MORE INFO: http://www.foodandfarmconference.com or call 530-265-2343

The Nevada County food and farming movement comes alive each year at Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food & Farm Conference.

The 10th annual conference takes place Feb. 7 through 9 at Nevada Union High School with a farm tour, keynote speakers, demonstrations and workshops. It is a wonderful way for newcomers to learn more about growing and eating locally sourced food, but also has great appeal to those who are well versed in the practice of farming and ranching.

Immerse yourself in a weekend of education beginning with the popular farm tour, featuring For The People Seed Farm, Legacy Ranching, and Mountain Bounty Farm, the oldest CSA in the region.

The conference continues Saturday with a Food & Farm Expo and presentations from international leaders in the ecological farming movement, all of whom will share climate-smart practices for farmers, home-gardeners and consumers.

Not-to-be-missed is the internationally acclaimed author and keynote speaker Dr. Vandana Shiva. Known as “one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers on food sovereignty.” The Himalayan native is an activist passionately working to keep communities around the globe in control of their own food and their own health. Much of her work focuses on seed sovereignty — “When you control the seeds, you control life on Earth.”

Dr. Shiva is committed to shedding light on propaganda spread by companies who put profits above human welfare. She says, “We can’t wait for governments and corporations to make the shift, people must.” Award-winning rancher Jim Gerrish, and climate-smart farmers Elizabeth and Paul Kaiser will also be presenting with Dr. Shiva on Saturday.

On Sunday, participants create their own curriculum with a full day of twenty workshops to choose from. Design your day based on your own interests as a farmer, rancher, homesteader or foodie. Local experts offer classes on how to manage garden pests and disease organically, how to make soft cheeses at home, how to train your dog to herd livestock, how to integrate permaculture principles into your home garden, and more.

One highlight is The Ham Stand owner Jason Jillson’s workshop entitled “Make Your Own Salumi.” Jillson is partnering with Cosmic Roots Ranch who will supply a half a pig for the Salumeria owner to break down. Jillson said, “It’s important for people to be educated. People see these small, weird shapes at the butcher shop, and they don’t associate where that is on the animal. It’s a real part of the education in learning what you are eating. We should know our food.” Jillson has been working on curing and meat processing for about ten years. He said people are becoming more savvy. “There is no way my shop would have survived twenty years ago.” He said the products found at The Ham Stand are fresh, nutrient rich and unlike anything you can find anywhere else.

You can make plans now to spend the first weekend in February at Sierra Harvest’s 10th Annual Sustainable Food and Farm Conference. To purchase tickets and see a full schedule, visit http://www.foodandfarmconference.com or call 530-265-2343.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.

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