6th Annual North Coast Farmers' Convergence
Join Us For A New & Expanded Farmers' Convergence
This annual event brings together food producers from Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties, along with local agencies and organizations that serve the food and farming community of Northern California.
Local farmers, ranchers, food producers, retailers, advocates, and support organizations from across the region will come together at Ridgewood Ranch, just south of Willits, for two days of facilitated networking, sharing skills and ideas, to build a network of support while sharing best practices. The Convergence will also celebrate growing resilient local food systems and the vital profession of farming.
This year’s Farmers' Convergence is an opportunity for our community to gain access to resources, people, and programs they may not have known existed. Ideally, attendees will leave the event prepared for the growing season ahead.
- To stay up-to-date with this year's Convergence, please also visit our Facebook event page
Day 1 - 2/20/18
- Doors open at 8:30 am for check-in and light breakfast at the Golden Rule Community Dinning Hall.
- Local legend Doug Mosel of The Mendocino Grain Project will kick Tuesday off promptly at 9 am with an inspiring welcome.
- Our Keynote Speakers (9:30- 10:30am) - Gloria and Steven Decater, founders of Live Power Community Farm in Covelo. They will share their journey as organic and Biodynamic pioneers in California. Founded in Round Valley in 1973, Live Power Community Farm is a 50-acre, solar electric and horse-powered, diversified, certified biodynamic farm. Four acres are devoted to an intensive vegetable garden hosting some 60 varieties of vegetables and herbs. Live Power's animal husbandry includes draft horses, dairy and beef cows, feeder pigs, sheep, and laying hens.
- The day will then break out into three Workshop Sessions (Session 1 - 10:45am to 12pm) (Session 2 - 1:30pm to 2:45pm) (Session 3: 3:00pm to 4:00pm) with a networking lunch from 12:00 - 1:00pm at the Golden Rule Community Dinning Hall.
- Eric Shramm, renowned mushroom expert and owner of the world’s oldest solely wild-mushroom company, Mendocino Mushrooms, will explore the connections between mycelium, the earth, and all of us in a fascinating talk 'Man, Mushrooms, and The Earth'. “Life wouldn’t exist without fungi doing what they do. Under one footstep is 300 miles of mycelium. It breaks everything down to the carbon molecule" says Shramm.
- Evan Wiig of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) will moderate a panel “Climate Smart Farming in the Real World,” a conversation with speakers Paul Kaiser, from Singing Frogs Farm in Sebastopol; Gowan Batist of Fortunate Farm in Caspar; and Adam Gaska of Mendocino Meats in Redwood Valley on sustainable farming in action, visions for the future, and resources available for your farm.
- Small Equiptment Workshop with Hunter Flynn and Isabel Quiroz, Owners of Tequio Community Farm. Learn about the tools and small equipment that can revolutionize a market farm operation, saving time and dramatically increase production efficiency and volume.
- No-Till Farming Round Table Discussion with Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm. Whether you're brand new and looking to transition or already use a no-till system at your farm, this discussion is the perfect place to get your questions answered and learn more about this beneficial farming practice.
- CSA Round Table Discussion with Elizabeth Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm. CSAs can play an important role in a diversified farm. Elizabeth will share some successful tools she has learned over the years, including making their CSA available to EBT customers.
- Humane Poultry Slaughter and Butcher with Ruthie King of the School of Adaptive Agriculture. Learn the theory and practice behind humane slaughter and butcher techniques for poultry, including the science behind different kill methods, anatomy and physiology, low stress handling and meat quality.
- Seed Saving Workshop & Swap with Ava Ryan, Manager of the NCO Gardens Project & Jen Lyon of the Yokayo Seed Project. Fed up with buying seeds year after year? Learn the science and art of saving your own seeds so you don't have to! Participants will learn all aspects of seed saving from growing and selection to harvest, drying and proper storage.
- Common Vegetable Pests & Integrated Pest Management with Glenn McGourty of the UC Cooperative Extension. Glenn is well known for his wine grape expertise but also advises on plant science--all horticultural crops including vegetables; viticulture; nursery and floriculture (ornamentals); landscape and sustainable agriculture and weed science. During this session Glenn will focus on pest challenges faced by local farmers growing vegetables, in particular aphids and brassica pests.
- Hands-on Compost Building Workshop with Jes Pearce, Compost Operations Manager at the School of Adaptive Agriculture. Compost can help you improve your soil, grow healthier plants, reduce insect damage, conserve water, sequester carbon, recycle your kitchen and garden waste and introduce life into your soil! It is one of the most important activities any human could engage in, and is the keystone of any regenerative system! And it’s easy! We will discuss the universal principles of decomposition so that you can make great compost in any context.
- What Kind of Commercial Kitchen Do You Want? We hear more and more that local value-added products, like pre-made dinners and soups, are in high-demand. But how can we meet that demand without ample commercial kitchen space? In this workshop, Fontaine McFadden will talk about work being done towards building out a new commercial kitchen in the county. She will highlight some successful kitchen models from across the country and gather insight and ideas about what type of kitchen would be most beneficial to you.
- How to Work Smarter on Your Small Farm with Michael Foley, Co-Owner of Green Uprising Farm & Executive Director of the School of Adaptive Agriculture. Ben Hartman’s The Lean Farm has inspired many farmers to find new efficiencies on their farms and increase profits without increasing their work. But it’s not always easy seeing where to start or what to do next. Part workshop, part consultation, “How To Work Smarter” is designed to give participants a look at how to increase efficiency, reduce workload and worry, and increase profitability on their farms.
- Ranching with Wildlife with Dr. Kim Rodrigues Director of UC ANR Research & Extension Center. Kim had been serving as HREC Director since July 2014. She began her UC career with Cooperative Extension in 1991 as a forestry and natural resources advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. She became the county director two years later. Her research and extension activities have focused on environmental policy and engagement of the public in resolving environmental conflicts. Her experience coupled with a great passion for HREC's 5,300 acres of oak woodland and a keen desire to reach out to the community to encourage collaboration and partnerships offers new opportunities and exciting times at HREC. HREC ranches over 500 sheep and have developed their array of tools in relation to predator control including coyotes and mountain lions.Kim will be sharing details of the current methods employed, their predator control standard operating procedures and the latest research related to new methods of predator control.
- Seed Saving In Action: Building Seed Growing Boxes with Ellen Bartholomew, Farm Manager of the Golden Rule Rule Garden. Come learn how to make an above ground grow box that will last FOREVER! Golden Rule Garden received a Good Farm Fund grant to build seed growing boxes that will make it possible to fit isolation cages for seed growing, and also act as small greenhouses, nursery beds and rodent (gopher especially) protected boxes . These boxes will help to protect your food and rogued vegetables for growing seeds. Ellen Bartholomew and her intern crew will show you how easy it is done and how great it can be to protect your time and money investments to build one or more on your farm, garden or even in your backyard!
- Black Gold: A Discussion & Tasting of the Most Prized Mushroom in the World with Todd Marcellini Spanier of California Truffle Orchards. Todd is the founder of California Truffle Orchards LLC the golden state's first truffle agricultural management company. His company made a game changing discovery in 2017 when they unearthed the first farm raised black truffle in Sonoma County.
- Introduction to QuickBooks with Megan Goodall, owner of Bastion Bookkeeping and West Company Business Advisor. Every business needs a solid method to track accounts. Learn the basics of QuickBooks Book Online (QBO) including how to properly create a QBO account for your business and set up all banking transactions. With QuickBooks you can easily create professional invoices, pay bills, track customer and vendor lists, and accounts receivable and payable.
- Farm Business Consulting with West Company. West Company will be on hand to offer farm business consulting to attendees, with helpful information on accounting systems, farm labor, taxes, and other nuts and bolts that are important in operating any business. West Company will provide six sessions with a business coach throughout the day. Come to our booth and sign up for 30 minute session. Appointments are on a come, first serve basis. West Company West Company's Mission is to help you succeed in business. West Company is a nonprofit, business development organization focused on helping businesses thrive in today’s marketplace. We provide Business coaching to start ups and seasoned entrepreneurs. We serve our clients through customized one-on-one business consulting and training workshops that improve financial performance, marketing outreach, and operational efficiency. We are here to inform, inspire and launch a new generation of businesses throughout Mendocino County.
- For more details on the Day 1 workshops - follow this link.
- Tuesday will close around 4:30pm with a late afternoon mixer, where food producers and buyers can make connections and establish sales relationships over locally sourced beer, wine, and other beverages. Inland Mendocino Farmers' Guild falls on the same day as the Convergence, which is the perfect excuse for us to stick around for awhile, enjoy a beverage, and relax. The talented volunteers from The Caring Kitchen Project will be featuring some light refreshments. Read about their great work here.
Day 2 - 2/21/18
- Doors open at 8:30 am for check-in and light breakfast at the Golden Rule Community Dinning Hall.
- Kali Feiereisel, farmer and Food Safety Specialist with the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), will share current information on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). An overview of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) will also be discussed, as well as best practices for retaining high quality produce through effective and safe postharvest practices. This training will be half in the classroom and half on Tequio Community Farm, discussing real farm examples of how to integrate practical, useful, and effective "right-sized" food safety on the farm. This workshop will run from 9am - 12pm.
- Networking lunch from 12:00 - 1:00pm at the Golden Rule Community Dinning Hall.
- Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets- https://2018convergence.brownpapertickets.com/
- 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 are also offering a pay it forward ticket, where folk can pay a little extra to support a farmer who can't afford a ticket.
- Tickets include breakfast, snack 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 at email@example.com 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 Black Dog Farm. “It was worth every minute that I attended, and I can’t wait to go again this year.”
This year's Farmers' Convergence is made possible by our generous sponsors:
- Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op
- Surf Market
- Mendocino County Farm Bureau
- Sonoma Clean Power
- Community Alliance with Family Farmers/Farmers' Guild
- Savings Bank of Mendocino
- UC Hopland Research & Extension Center
- West Company
- Yokayo Seed Project
- Yokayo Ranch
- Victory Gardens for Peace
- MendoLake Food Hub
- Good Farm Fund
- School of Adaptive Agriculture
- Caring Kitchen Project
- Gardens Project
- North Coast Opportunities
- Golden Rule Church Association
- Winter Abundance Festival
- Siskiyou Seeds
- Ecology Action and John Jeavons
- Bite Hard Cider
- Cypress Grove Fine Goat Cheese
- Black Oak Coffee Roasters
- Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate
- Petit Teton
- Floodgate Farm
- Fairall's Farm
- Green Uprising Farm
- Mendocino Ferments
- Pennyroyal Farm
- Parducci Wine Cellars
How to Get to the Farmers' Convergence
- Event Address: Ridgewood Ranch - 16200 North Highway 101, 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 gard. (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.
- Onsite camping is available at the School of Adaptive Agriculture. Please contact Ruthie King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Yokayo Ranch has vineyard view rooms available. If interested please contact Julia Dakin at email@example.com.
- VisitMendocino also has an extensive list of local lodging options in the area on their website.
- Press Release
- Event Fyler - .pdf
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