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Sustainable Food & Farm Conference returns to Nevada County

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to The Union


WHO: Sierra Harvest

WHAT: Sustainable Food & Farm Conference

WHEN: Feb. 7 through 9

WHERE: Grass Valley

The idea of “food sovereignty” — producing local, sustainable food to feed a community — is gaining more attention as Northern California communities face fires, electrical outages and other challenges of climate change. This February, Sierra Harvest’s Sustainable Food & Farm Conference will focus on providing farmers and home gardeners with the tools they need to become more self-sufficient in regards to food production, focusing on climate-smart techniques developed locally and around the globe.

On Saturday Feb. 8, award-winning rancher Jim Gerrish will highlight regenerative grazing techniques that could ultimately help mitigate rangeland wildfire risks.  Local rancher Brad Fowler will expand on this topic in his Sunday workshop “Grazing for Fire Suppression.” Keynotes Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser, of Singing Frogs Farm, and Dr. Vandana Shiva, one of Forbes 7 most powerful women on the globe, will join Jim Gerrish on Saturday to discuss climate-smart farming methods and food sovereignty, respectively.

Jacob Nachel, foodie and aspiring farmer from Reno, attends every year, he says “I keep coming back to this conference because of the quality of headliners. You’re getting people from the forefront of the organic food movement. There’s the full cycle of farming represented- from those just starting out to those who are retiring and sharing their knowledge.

On Sunday, workshop presenters will give conference-goers the opportunity to enhance their skills in a variety of areas, including homesteading, farming and cooking. A highlight of the conference promises to be a panel discussion, “Resources for Resilience,” featuring program and services to support small farms facilitated by farm educator Molly Nakahara. Other workshop presenters include The Ham Stand owner Jason Jillson who holds a master’s degree in culinary education and will show participants how to create cured meats from local, sustainably raised livestock. 

Rachel Berry will be teaching the art of Wild Foraging Food and Medicine. As one past attendee relayed to organizers, “I love this conference. I look forward to it every year and I learn so much. I eat more vegetables, I eat organic, and I get it now. I feel better, I’ve lost 20 pounds since the last conference, my head is clear. My wife and I have totally changed the way we eat. This education is so important.”

Past conference attendee and co-founder of Flying V Farm Brenna Lanton said this about the conference; “I really love attending this conference! The convergence of so many farmers and foodies is really inspiring. The content of the workshops is geared towards actual farmers and the information is concrete and relevant. I think the conference is a great value for the price, especially with the farmer discount!”

Farm to Table

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