Sustainable agriculture conference scheduled

Innovative farmer and author Joel Salatin will share his views on “Healing the Planet, One Plate at a Time” at the 17th annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Conference Jan. 16-19 at the Galt House Hotel and Suites in Louisville, Ky..

Salatin owns Polyface Farm (“The Farm of Many Faces”), a three-generation family farm in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. He supports and speaks on the importance of family farms and local food systems. The farm services more than 1,000 families, four retail outlets and 30 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs.

The Salatins raise “salad bar” beef, “pigaerator” pork, pastured poultry, forage-based rabbits, eggs from pastured hens and forestry products. Salatin also will lead conference sessions where he will share some of his farming and marketing practices.

A Taste of Kentucky dinner featuring Kentucky Proud foods will conclude the conference Jan. 19. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s marketing office will gather the Kentucky Proud foods for the dinner.

Kentucky farmer and author Wendell Berry will host a pre-conference conversation on Jan. 17. There is no charge to attend.

A total of 62 educational sessions on sustainable agriculture topics and 20 networking sessions will be offered at the conference. A silent auction, a trade show and showings of the “Natural Farming Systems in the South” video series also are scheduled. Pre-conference intensive short courses will be offered Jan. 16-17. Pre-conference field trips and mini-courses will be available the afternoon of Jan. 17.

The conference is the annual meeting of the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group. Partners in the conference include the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Kentucky State University. More than 1,200 people attended last year’s conference.

Pre-registration fees are $135 for adults and $55 for children before Dec. 20 and $145 for adults and $60 for children after Dec. 20. Registration on-site is $155 for adults and $65 for children. Registration includes conference sessions and one ticket to the Taste of Kentucky dinner. Pre-registration forms must be postmarked no later than Jan. 7.

Additional fees are charged for most of the pre-conference courses and field trips. Space for the pre-conference courses and field trips is limited.

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