9th Annual Farmers’ Convergence Returns March 19

North Coast Opportunities (NCO) is excited to collaborate once again on the North Coast Farmers’ Convergence, held at Ridgewood Ranch on Tuesday, March 19th. This annual event brings together food producers from Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, and Humboldt counties (the North Coast region), along with local food retailers, chefs, food activists, and interested community members.

The North Coast Farmers’ Convergence is a celebration of the North Coast region’s growing local food system and the vital profession of farming in Northern California. Each year since 2013 (with a short break for COVID), the Farmers’ Convergence has brought together over 150 local farmers, ranchers, retailers, and advocates for a day of networking, education, and inspiration.

This year’s focus is re-building our local food web. An issue that “became sort of urgent” said Michael Foley, Chair of the Board and Director of the School of Adaptive Agriculture, with the closing of the sole full-service grocery store in Laytonville, Geiger’s Long Valley Market. Without a strong local food web to step up and fill the hole left by the store’s closing, residents have faced difficulty sourcing groceries in the area.

 A local food web describes the links between local food producers, retailers, and consumers. Historically, the North Coast region has had a rich and diverse food web. Today, it faces the challenges of a decline in local production. While wheat, peas, potatoes and more have historically been key crops in Mendocino and Lake Counties, their production now represents only a fraction of their rich history.

Today, a local food web still exists, but it is a shadow of its former strength. This is a reality that will become increasingly problematic as climate change and fossil fuel scarcity continue to take a toll on global food distribution networks. “We are going to be more and more reliant on our local food web” says Foley.

The Farmers’ Convergence provides an opportunity to foster the connections and relationships that a local food web is built on. And it is a way for those that participate in the local food web to discuss and tackle the barriers and challenges that face the community.

“We often hear from farmers that farming can feel very solitary.” NCO Food Policy and Promotions Manager Sarah Marshall said. “This event is a chance for attendees to share inspiration, share common woes, and really feel supported by our local community,”

This year’s Farmers’ Convergence boasts an impressive lineup of experts and innovators in the agricultural community who will lead roundtables on a variety of topics requested by our local producer network.

Roundtables at this year’s event include topics covering marketing, seed saving and locally adapted seeds, conversations on land access and building working farm teams, a breakout discussion on feeding Laytonville, connection opportunities for farm to school producers and cooks, an advocacy training for local food policy, and a farm demonstration on off-grid salad mix washing station. Register today to see the full lineup of roundtables and their descriptions.

In celebration of the Spring Equinox, the schedule will feature wellness sessions including a yoga meditation hour from Flourish & Flow studio and hand reflexology sessions. Attendees are invited to join a mixer to connect with fellow farmers, buyers, school food service directors, and supporters. Producers are encouraged to bring samples of their products to share with potential buyers, and seeds to swap with other growers.

Tickets for the event are on a sliding scale, set your own price. Your generosity is appreciated. Register online by March 18th: bit.ly/farmersconvergence24, or day-of on site. Your ticket includes a delicious, farm-fresh lunch and access to the full day of programming as well as the mixer.

Tuesday 3/19/24 – Program

  • 8:00am – Check in, coffee and breakfast available
  • 8:45am – Welcoming address
  • 9:30am – Panel: Finding the Sweet Spot: Choosing the Right Mix of Wholesale, Retail, CSA, Restaurant, or School Sales for My Farm
  • 10:45am – Roundtable Session I
  • 12:00pm – Locally sourced lunch
  • 1:45pm – Roundtable Session II
  • 2:45pm – Roundtable Session III
  • 4:00pm – Mixer

The 9th Annual North Coast Farmers’ Convergence is a collaboration between North Coast Opportunities, the School of Adaptive Agriculture, Blue Zones Project- Mendocino County, and the CDFA Farm to School Regional Lead staff.

NCO is the Community Action Agency that serves Lake and Mendocino Counties, as well as parts of Humboldt, Sonoma, Del Norte, and Solano Counties. NCO reacts and adjusts to community needs, including disaster response and recovery.

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