Florida small farms conference returns Aug. 2-4; early registration ends July 12
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Entering its fifth year, the Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference is a must-attend event for budding farm entrepreneurs or anyone with serious interest in locally grown food.
The conference is presented by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Florida A&M University. It will feature farm tours, vendor exhibits, a networking social and more than 35 workshops.
The conference will again be held at Osceola Heritage Park located at 1875 Silver Spur Lane in Kissimmee, Aug. 2-4.
Participants must register and pay a fee to attend the conference. Early bird registration, with reduced fees, ends July 12.
An expected highlight for this summer’s conference is keynote speaker Annie Novak, said Lynn Max, a UF/IFAS specialty crops program coordinator and a conference organizer.
Novak, a well-known urban rooftop farmer, is founder and director of Growing Chefs, a field-to-fork food education program; manages the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and is co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
She writes for The Atlantic and her work has been featured, among others, in New York Magazine, Edible Brooklyn and on the Martha Stewart Show.
Conference goers who have enjoyed networking with other small farmers and farm tours will have opportunities to engage in both of those activities at this summer’s conference, Max said. A social with a disc jockey is set for Saturday evening. Educational sessions will span a wide variety of topics, covering everything from irrigation to business management, and from blackberry production to insect management.
Following last year’s success, a luncheon featuring local food is scheduled for Saturday.
More than 90 percent of farms in Florida are considered small. Small farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are those with less than $250,000 in annual sales. There are more than 44,000 small farms in Florida. Around 800 people are expected to attend the conference.
More information on the conference is available here: http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/smallfarms/index.html.