Farmers and community members from across the state will gather at Lakeview Resort and Conference Center for the seventh annual West Virginia Small Farm Conference, Feb. 17-19.
• fruit and vegetable production
• cheese making
• food security
• proper food labeling and preparation
The conference provides seven days of in-depth workshops with topics chosen from past attendees’ feedback.
“We cover topics that affect West Virginia farmers here and now,” said Tom McConnell, WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center project leader, “as well as the basics in vegetable and beef production, while including tax and tourism information. It’s a conference that is relevant to farmers whether they’re interested in growing their farm as a business or simply growing more on the farm.”
The conference kicks off on Thursday with two events open to the public—the Winter Blues Farmers Market, and a Slow Foods Dine-Around. The indoor market, hosted by the West Virginia Farmers Market Association, runs from 4-7 p.m. It features farmers from all over the state and a huge variety of products, accompanied by live entertainment. Credit and debit cards, as well as EBT (SNAP benefits), will be accepted.
The Slow Food Dine-Around debuts this year. It features area restaurants offering local food items from 5-7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
Friday and Saturday are filled with more than 65 classes taught by experts, including farmers, Extension agents and specialists, professors, agency personnel and industry representatives from across the country.
Highlights include the inaugural West Virginia Small Scale Poultry Forum, a discussion of the successful ‘Farm-to-School’ project, and tips on tax management and SARE and other specialty crop grants.
As in the past, the Conference menu will be sourced entirely from the local area. Last year, the Small Farm Center added more than $10,000 to 46 West Virginia small farmers’ bottom lines through local sourcing at the event.
“The conference uses local sourcing as a way to raise awareness that in our state we grow almost every kind of food,” said Carrie See, WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center Program Coordinator.
The conference is hosted by the WVU Extension Service Small Farm Center, in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. The Conference also will also receive assistance from faculty at West Virginia State University.
The three-day event is preceded by the two-day Better Process Control School, conducted by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Registration for the School is separate from the conference. Those interested in attending the Better Process Control School should call 304-558-2210 for information and to register.
For additional information on the West Virginia Small Farm Center or Conference, visit www.smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu. Additional questions may be directed to Carrie See at 304-293-2715, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry, WVU Extension Communications