8th Annual North Coast Farmers' Convergence
Growing resilient farms - coming together to share stories, successes & skills.
NCO is pleased to announce the 8th annual North Coast Farmers’ Convergence. The MendoLake Food Hub and the School of Adaptive Agriculture are leading the charge on this annual event, which brings together food producers from Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma and Humboldt counties, along with local food retailers, chefs and food activists.
The North Coast Farmers’ Convergence is a celebration of our region’s growing, local food system and the vital profession of farming in Northern California. Since the inception of this event, the Farmers’ Convergence has brought together over 150 local farmers, ranchers, retailers and advocates for a day of networking, education and inspiration. According to participants, successful outcomes of the day include: forging successful connections that enhance our local economy; linking farmers with needed resources; and sparking new or renewed buyer contracts for food producers. The 8th Annual Farmers’ Convergence promises to build on the successes of previous years with new workshops, speakers and additional, intensive-educational sessions. To stay up-to-date with this year's Convergence, please also visit our Facebook event page
Farmer's Convergence: Sunday, February 16th, 2020 | 8:00am-5:00pm
7:45am - Check in opens
8:15am - Welcome & Kick Off
8:30am - Morning Panel: Growing Resilient Farms
10:30am - Keynote: Alan Haight, Riverhill Farm - "Overcoming the Pitfalls on the Path to Profitability for the Small Farm"
12:15pm - Lunch
1:30pm - Session I Workshops
3:00pm - Session II Workshops
Check out the program and full line up of speakers and workshops -> here
Sunday morning kicks off with an inspiring welcome from Rachel Britton, guest instructor at the School of Adaptive Agriculture and new owner of the Mendocino Grain Project. Disaster Preparation is the timely topic addressed in Sunday morning’s keynote panel discussion. Farmers across the state increasingly find themselves staring down unprecedented challenges, including: drought, wildfires, floods, erratic weather and long-term power outages. This year’s keynote panel will highlight the personal stories from local food producers about how they are growing resilient farms in the face of adversity. Luke Frey (Frey Vineyards), Brian Bartholomew (Ridgewood Ranch), Kyle Farmer (Magruder Ranch), and Colleen Rentsch (Seely Farm) will share their personal stories on the road to creating their own resilient farms.
Alan Haight will lead the keynote on Sunday morning. He’ll share his story of farming at Riverhill Farm and the pitfalls on the path to profitability for the small farm. According to Alan, "When I started my farm, I had no business skills and not much common sense. My expectation was that I would grow beautiful organic produce, customers would embrace my farm enthusiastically, and it would all work out. I wasn’t wrong about any of those things, but there were pitfalls along the way to eventual profitability that delayed profitability and could have caused me to abandon what I considered to be my life’s work... Yet, all was not lost. Within a relatively short time ...we were netting a good income from our small acreage, we paid off all our farm and personal debt, and we had confidence that we were on the right track and could successfully adapt to changing markets. And, we did this with no increase in acreage."
This year’s Farmers’ Convergence includes an impressive lineup of experts and innovators in the agricultural community who will lead workshops and breakout discussions throughout Sunday on a wide range of topics. This year’s topics include:
- Tools & Equipment for the Small Farmer
- Leadership Skills: Creating a Culture of Goodwill
- Farm to School: Purchasing Roundtable
- The History and Basics of Seed Saving
- Tax Preparation for Businesses and Contractors
- The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) & Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
- Vermiculture 101
- Finance and the Small Farm
- Holistic Approaches to Mental Health and Depression for Farmers
- Healthy Soils & Climate Smart Farming
- Growing Great Fruit
Farmer's Convergence: Monday, February 17th, 2020 | 8:00am-5:00pm
Theme for the day - farming for the wholesale market - sponsored by the MendoLake Food Hub
8:00am - Welcome & Kick Off
8:30am - Morning Workshops
12:20pm - Lunch
1:30pm - Afternoon Workshops
- Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets
- To encourage attendees to bring a friend, we're offering a special ticket price this year - $20/person or $30 for 2 people! We hope this will encourage additional folk from the larger farming community and North Coast foodshed to come together for a day of networking, sharing skills and ideas.
- We also offer a pay it forward ticket, where folks can pay a little extra to support a farmer who can't afford a ticket.
- Tickets include a light breakfast and lunch produced with local ingredients.
- Attendees are encouraged to register in advance. Space is limited and early registration is encouraged.
- No one will be turned away due to lack of funds and scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the event’s sponsors. Please contact Kelly Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to apply for a scholarship or if you have any other questions about this year's convergence.
What Past Participants Have to Say
- “I love getting all the ideas, and those little nuggets help launch me into the new ideas for the next season,” said Laytonville farmer Irene Engber of Irene’s Garden (of last year’s event).
- “I’ve referred to talks I heard at the last convergence multiple times throughout the year,” said Caroline Radice of New Agrarian Collective. “It was worth every minute that I attended, and I can’t wait to go again this year.”
- "Growing our local food system benefits not only farmers and local food producers, it benefits schools, restaurants, support organizations, and the overall local economy", said Kelly Hansen of the MendoLake Food Hub. "The North Coast Farmers' Convergence is an excellent opportunity for attendees to learn from one another and gain access to resources, programs, and people they may not have known about. Our intent is to have everyone leave the event inspired and prepared for the upcoming growing season."
This year's Farmers' Convergence is made possible by our generous sponsors:
- Anderson Valley Foodshed
- Black Oak Coffee Roasters
- Christ's Church of the Golden Rule
- Cold Creek Compost
- Community Alliance with Family Farmers
- Economic Development & Financing Corporation (EDFC)
- Emergency Preparedness in Communities (EPIC)
- Good Farm Fund
- Flow Kana
- Lake County Farmers' Finest
- Mendocino County Certified Farmers' Markets (MCFARM)
- Mendocino County Herb Guild
- Mendocino County Local Food Guide
- MendoLake Food Hub
- North Coast Opportunities (NCO)
- School of Adaptive Agriculture
- Sonoma Clean Power
- Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op
- Yokayo Seed Project/Mendocino County Library
How to Get to the Farmers' Convergence
- Ridgewood Ranch - 1 Seabiscuit Drive, Willits, CA 95490 - Please note that Google Maps is not the best at giving directions in our rural area. Please use the directions below to find your way to Ridgewood Ranch and this year's North Coast Farmers' Convergence.
- Traveling North on Hwy 101: Approximately 2.5 hours North of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sixteen miles North of Ukiah, look for the signs for the Golden Rule RV Park with a left hand turn lane at mile marker 39.4. Turn left onto the driveway with a sign for Golden Rule RV Park and Ridgweood Ranch.
- Traveling South on Hwy 101: 6 Miles South of Willits, after you pass over the Ridgewood Summit, look for a right turn lane at mile marker 39.4 (and sign for Golden Rule RV Park) and turn right down the driveway with a sign for Golden Rule RV Park and Ridgeweood Ranch.
- After Exiting Hwy 101 details: Cross the cattle guard and begin winding down the road. On the right you'll see a cattle guard and a bunch of signs (LaVida Charter School, Seabiscuit Historic Landmark, School of Adaptive Agriculture), turn right and go over the cattle guard. (If you go straight and end up at the RV park - you're at the wrong place ). At the bottom of the hill, continue straight through the “WHOA” signs, follow the Farmers' Convergence signs and directions from our parking attendants.
- VisitMendocino also has an extensive list of local lodging options in the area on their website.