Join us at various farms and off-site locations throughout San Luis Obispo County for special pre-conference events, including intensive trainings, field days, tours and more.

  • Farmers Market Manager Training
  • Small Vineyard Practices for a Hotter, Drier Climate
  • Organic Seed Production
  • Regenerative Farm-to-School Field Day
  • Composting Systems Field Day
  • Weighing Cover Cropping Options in Orchards
  • Los Cinco Principios de la Salud Del Suelo

NOTE: some Thursday events included with general conference admission; others require additional fees. All require RSVP and personal transportation to and from venues.



SLO Downtown Farmers Market Social Gathering

Free Admission, San Luis Obispo, 6pm

Science & the Transformation of Agriculture

Suggested donation $5 – $10, SLO Botanical Gardens




Downtown Paso Robles Art Gallery Social Mixer

Free admission, Studios on the Park, 5 – 6:30pm




The Agrarian Lovers Ball & Awards Ceremony

$50 Admission includes dinner & drinks, 6 – 10pm

Get your tickets here!



Full Workshop Descriptions


Planting Habitat and Increasing Biodiversity on Farms

Conservation plantings such as hedgerows and grassed waterways can play an important role in building your farm’s resilience. Many growers are adopting these plantings as their role in climate change mitigation and adaptation is increasingly recognized and more incentives become available for their implementation. This presentation will highlight a diversity of projects, focusing on established practices, and will discuss available financial incentives and technical assistance.


Sam Earnshaw has over 40 years of experience in agriculture and conservation related work. He is the author of the 2018 Hedgerows and Farmscaping for California Agriculture: A Resource Guide for Farmers. 

Sacha Lozano has been with the Santa Cruz RCD since 2011, playing a variety of roles within the agriculture and conservation team. In recent years much of his work has focused on soil health, carbon farming and advancing soil conservation on farms. 


Microgreens for Wholesale Production

Farmers, both microgreens businesses and mixed vegetable operations which use microgreens as a supplemental cash flow, are interested in learning a wholesale-dominant approach towards their microgreens sales. My workshop will include a lecture/Q&A on developing the systems (both for production and sales) that can lead to success in selling microgreens to wholesalers. 


Luke Carneal is an Oakland-based urban farmer specializing in microgreens. 


Small Farm Tech: Innovation Challenge

Tools and technology can help farmers improve efficiency, save labor and connect with their customers. But many of the innovations in agriculture today are built for large-scale production, out of reach for most family farms. So we challenged you–farmers, engineers, startups, students–to develop new innovations that would help smaller-scale farms compete, survive and thrive. Come meet the three winners of the Small Farm Tech Innovation Challenge and see their tools in action.


David Haynes, West Jordan, Utah.The FarmHand Tractor: A remote-controlled, multi-faceted, track-based tractor system.

Pedram Sheraf, San Diego CA. Farmfox: Software enabled service providing modern procurement tools to streamline farm-to-school purchasing. 

Sriraman Sabesan, Tier 1 Digital, Milpitas, CA. Track+ Market: An online produce catalog and distribution service system


How to Draw in Customers & Increase Revenue: Marketing Strategies & Tips for Farmers Who Sell at Farmers’ Markets

Farmers, are you looking for new ways to draw customers to your farmers’ market stand and keep them coming back? Are you seeking new ideas for marketing your products? Join Jamie Collins of Serendipity Farms for a workshop that reviews marketing tips and tools to increase your farm’s customer base and your revenue. Find out how to set your farmers’-market stand apart with a gorgeous display. Get tips on how to keep customers coming back week after week though creative marketing. Finally, hear about strategies to connect and communicate with consumers outside the farmers’ market.


Jamie Collins, owner of Serendipity Farms near Monterey, CA, has farmed organically for two decades. She sells produce via farmers’ markets and other direct-to-consumer outlets. Jamie draws on her experience with interior design to inform the marketing of her farm.


Cost by Crop Tool Kit: Am I Profitable at this Price?

If you’re a diversified farmer and you aren’t exactly sure how you’re making a profit, or what your profit-by-crop might be, this workshop is essential. Learn what your minimum price point should be, and a quick method for testing potential price by crop before expanding and possibly losing some of your profits!  BRING YOUR LAPTOP if you want to try out the model and follow along. 


Rebecca Frimmer has worked with Kitchen Table Consultants for the past 5 years, helping farmers, artisan food makers, and others working along the local food value chain to focus their lens on financial management.  Rebecca has an MBA in small business development, and a work history that includes general management and business ownership; accountability for budgets, profits and staff. Her past positions include a wide range in management: urban farms, CSA, nursery, events, hospitality, e-commerce, and specialty food retail.


Primocane blackberries and raspberries

Primocane caneberries provide flexibility in production of attractive fruit that appeal to consumers with appearance, flavor and health benefits.  The workshop will focus on new publically available varieties and provide guidance for demand-driven production, management and fruit quality. The presenters have industry experience and have been conducting experimental work in caneberries for over 10 years in coastal California.


Oleg Daugovish, Mark Gaskell and Mark Bolda are University of California County-based farm advisors with programs in berry crops including small farms. 

Miguel Ahumada is a Chief Agriculture Technology Officer at BerryWorld


Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds

Beneficial birds act similar to beneficial insects, helping with pest control when farms provide for their needs. Farmers are furnishing nest boxes, perches, shrubs and trees, making it easier for birds to provide pest control. Bluebirds utilizing nest boxes consumed 2.4 times more insects in winegrapes. Woody margins increased bird presence and reduced codling moths by an average of 35% in walnuts and 88% in apples; weevils by 33% in alfalfa; and caterpillars by 24% in cole crops. This workshop and WFA’s Supporting Beneficial Birds and Managing Pest Birds booklet (www.wildfarmalliance.org/bird_resource) helps farmers make the most of birds on farms.


Jo Ann Baumgartner, E.D., Wild Farm Alliance, promotes a healthy, viable agriculture that protects and restores wild Nature. She is author of many farm publications on birds and biodiversity, studied avian pest control, and organically farmed for over a decade. 

Rachael Long, IPM Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Sacramento Valley, studies the benefits of hedgerows for attracting natural enemies and bees for enhanced pest control and pollination in adjacent crops. She’s a UC Berkeley and UC Davis graduate; biology, entomology.


Managing Soil Invertebrates for Healthy Soil

Your soil nourishes more than your crops; it is also alive with countless creatures that contribute to its fertility. By farming with the health of soil invertebrates in mind, farmers can create an environment that sustains yields and provides nutrition for crops with less reliance on external inputs. In this workshop we will learn about soil’s biological processes and how different soil invertebrates can provide specific benefits to a farm. Participants will come away with a plan to facilitate soil invertebrate health on their own farms by using strategies such as cover cropping and reduced tillage.


Kathryn Prince is a biologist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. She designs farmland habitat for beneficial insects. Her background is in entomology, and she has worked in many different natural and agricultural systems as a scientist and educator.


Post-Harvest Handling Design for Small Farmers

Small-scale farmers often have many questions and ideas about how to design a post-harvest cleaning and packing area in a way that meets their needs while minimizing cost. Recently, with the implementation of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), farmers have additional questions about what they must do to legally comply and to minimize food-safety risks. The post-harvest area of the farm is a location where the potential for contamination is often found when best practices are not utilized. During this workshop we will discuss practical ways to reduce food-safety risks in the post-harvest area of your farm, as well as different types of post-harvest designs. All these are geared towards small/medium, diversified, and organic farms.


Kali Feiereisel – Kali provides food safety technical assistance to farmers as they further develop their practices to meet new requirements. In addition to being a farmer, she studied food and agriculture policy and local food systems during graduate school at UC Berkeley.

Stepheni Norton – A military Veteran, with over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, Stepheni started and ran multiple successful business before breaking ground on her farm, W.D. Dickinson. Stepheni is the San Diego Regional Food Safety Lead and a certified PSA Grower Trainer.


Why Guess? Understanding Soil, Water and Plants

On a small farm, guesswork will only go so far.  If you can’t measure it, how can you manage it? There are a number of agricultural tests and measurements which can aid a farmer’s intuition and decisions. Knowing which test to use and how to interpret the results is key to moving the farm in the direction the farmer wants to go.  In this workshop we will provide an overview of the tests available to evaluate overall soil health, soil structure and mineral content and biological diversity and health. Testing need not be expensive or time consuming in order to be effective.”


Erica Reinheimer is a long time organic gardener and co-author of “The Intelligent Gardener – Growing Nutrient Dense Food”. She has had the privilege of working with over 1000 soil tests per year for the past 7 years. Alice and Erica own and operate Grow Abundant Gardens. They help small farmers and serious gardeners grow nutrient dense food using organic methods including mineral balancing.  Based on testimonials it really works! 


Pastured Poultry: Production Practices and Business Resources

Identify practical next steps to address current challenges in your pastured poultry operations! Bring your questions about production, flock health, business scale, marketing or regulations. Draw on shared farmer knowledge and the experience and resources of producer networks. Learn about state diagnostic labs, results of state-wide surveys, research and extension services. Consider how regulations of egg handling and poultry meat processing impact your business planning, the role of your extension ombudsmen. Walk through enterprise cash flow budgets, profitability calculators, and recordkeeping tools that facilitate realistic assessment. Discuss scenarios and pathways to a desired future of organic and pastured poultry production.


Ann Baier is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) / ATTRA Program that provides practical information to farmers and ranchers, including poultry and pasture production, business and regulations. She is also an organic inspector. 

Macie Tanaka is a Junior Specialist in Dr. Maurice Pitesky’s lab with a B.S. in Animal Science and 5 years of avian husbandry experience, including time as a student manager for the UCD Pastured Poultry Farm. 


Women Farmers: The Key to Success is Diversity

Hear from three successful women farmers and their journeys as farmers and entrepreneurs. Come explore the role of diversity in our agricultural system, what it means to be a woman in farming and learn from the successes and failures these women have experienced on the way to their perfect business model. 


Melissa Sorongon, Piedrasassi

Marguerita Smith, Mud Creek 

Libby Batzel, Beet Generation


Composting Systems: Exploring Methods of Composting

Chris Thompson, renowned compost expert from Santa Barbara County and Delmar McComb, Blossoms Biodynamic Farm will discuss the intricacies of successful compost management for both small and large scale operations with special discussion on the magic of vermiculture with Cristy Christie, Black Diamond Vermicompost.



Guner Tautrim, Orella Ranch and ConnorJones, Be Love Farm will discuss the benefits of sculpting landscapes with earthworks and keyline for water and fire management. The talk will include an onsite analysis of the Cuesta Campus farm and discuss practical solutions.


Hemp in diverse regenerative farming systems

The challenges and the rewards.  It’s a brand new industry in California. And now, dealing with the uncertainty of our county’s politics with this crop, we can’t be sure if we will be growing this year.  Phil and Vanessa will speak to the positive aspects of this crop adding to crop diversity, the many amazing attributes of hemp in regenerative systems and the dangers of monocropping.

Phil McGrath, McGrath Family Farm

Vanessa Ramirez, Ventura Seed Company


How Do We Pay for This? Financing Considerations for the Beginning & Small Farmer

Join the discussion on financing, access to capital and decoding the loan application process!  Let’s talk about how record keeping and business planning are connected to accessing capital, and how understanding the difference in credit products and having the vocabulary to navigate the application process are key components of planning.   American AgCredit’s Allison Paap will lead the discussion and show how you can begin planning to insure sustainable business performance in order to achieve the goals of your organization. Don’t miss this discussion!


Allison Paap is Vice President-Lending Manger for American AgCredit and helps provide financing for all types of farmers and ranchers throughout Southern California. With over 20 years of experience with Farm Credit, Allison has been an active member of the Southern California agricultural community.  


Integrating Livestock into Cropping Systems: Building Ecosystem Health & Economic Viability

Farms that practice integrate crop livestock systems (ICLS) use their animals to graze crop residues and/or cover crops. ICLS has many benefits such as reducing pests or weeds, increasing soil fertility, and strengthening farm income. This workshop will cover explore good agricultural practices for integrating sheep and cattle, food safety mitigation strategies, and soil health benefits. Producers will share their experiences with ICLS in vineyards and vegetable cropping systems. Available resources will be present to help small farms learn more about these practices, including GAPs that promote growing safe, healthy, and nutritious crops in these systems.


Nathan Stuart is the Vineyard/Ranch Manager at the Tablas Creek Vineyard since 2016 He is Accredited Professional through Savory Institute and an extensive experience grazing sheep in vineyards, and a practical perspective to putting livestock back on our land. 

Kelly Mulville is the director of agricultural operations at Paicines Ranch. He has designed, consulted with and managed vineyards in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, New Zealand and Australia. He has been involved with livestock integration in vineyards and vegetable operations. 

Sara Tiffany manages CAFF’s Climate Smart Farming program, which investigates and promotes climate smart practices throughout California. She has graduate degrees from UC Davis, in Soils and Biochemistry and International Agricultural Development, and has a background in international development. 

Alda Pires (Moderator) is Assistant Specialist for Urban Agriculture and Food Safety at UC Davis, whose research and outreach programs are focused on pre-harvest food safety in diversified, small-scale, and organic systems. She has been involved in food safety capacity building by collaborating with stakeholders, extension personnel, and small-scale farmers.


Cuesta Campus Farm Tour

Take a walk with farm and operations managers Dean Harrell and Troy Quimby and learn the history of this school farm and educational center and their sustainable management practices.  The farm project began 3 years ago and now has an orchard, vineyard, vegetable production and row crops with onsite compost production. Learn about the successes and challenges of starting a farm on desert plains grazing lands.


Dean Harrel – Cuesta College Farm Manager and instructor for the Agriculture Plant Science with a career of farm and vineyard management.  

Troy Quimby – Cuesta College Farm Operations Manager.  


Carbon Farming Great and Small

Do you know your local Resource Conservation District? Do you know how a Resource Conservation District can help farmers? The panel will discuss various conservation projects they can offer and possible funding sources. From water quality & quantity, erosion, irrigation efficiency, healthy soils; the list goes on. One area the Resource Conservation Districts can assist farmers with is carbon farm planning and implementation of practices. What is carbon farming & how can it benefit the operation? What are the South Central Coast Carbon Farm Planning Hub goals and opportunities?


Hallie Richard, Programs Manager, Coastal San Luis RCD. B.A. in Environmental Studies and the Urban Environment, San Francisco State University. Eight years of natural resource management experiences. Specializes in irrigation management, soil health, project/grant management, and resource conservation plan development.

Devin Best, Executive Director, Upper Salinas-Las Tablas RCD. B.S. in Ethnobotany, Humboldt State University.  With twenty years of experience in watershed planning, species recovery, stream and riparian restoration, natural resources management, program development, regulatory compliance, and non-profit development and management covering California, Oregon and Washington.  

Anna Olsen, Executive Director, Cachuma RCD. B.S. in Animal Science, California Polytechnic State University, SLO with minors in Equine Science and Agribusiness and an M.A. in Sustainability and Environmental Management, Harvard University. Twelve years experience in agriculture and natural resource project management in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. 


Exploring the Tools & Science Behind Biointensive No-till: Occultation for Weed Control

Organic no-till systems require effective weed control methods that do not cause soil disturbance. Occultation, a method of weed control with black plastic tarp, provides soil cover while helping to reduce weed pressure. Aaron Kern will share his experiences in vegetable and perennial crop production using biointensive no-till methods including occultation. CAFF will speak to their collaboration with Kern Family Farm into research on the effectiveness of occultation in vegetable crops, results on biointensive no-till on soil health, and practical ways to integrate no-till practices for climate resilience.


Aaron Kern manages much of the day-to-day operations of his family’s farm, Kern Family Farm, spearheading their transitions into no-till farming and holistic management. They farm regionally appropriate vegetables on three acres of land comprising over 40 terraced fields, 7 hoophouses and two acres of orchards and vines and raise chickens and goats, and practice holistic grazing of our land with our goat herd and chicken flock, as well as regenerative forest management using animals, tools, and fire.

Sara Tiffany manages CAFF’s Climate Smart Farming program, which works with farmers, researchers and other agencies to investigate and promote climate smart practices throughout California. She has graduate degrees from University of California, Davis, in Soils and Biochemistry and International Agricultural Development, and has a background in international development work.

Emily Buerer has worked to promote sustainable agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Spain, and holds a graduate degree in Organic Agriculture from the University of Barcelona. She coordinates CAFF’s Climate Smart Farming Program. 


Compost: Thermophyllic, Mesophyllic and Worm Composting

Composting is technical but it shouldn’t be complicated. We will discuss composting methods, C:N ratio, biology, inputs, structure, porosity, aeration and more. A variety of inputs that are typically available to build a compost pile will be available. A vermicomposting demonstration will be part of this program too. 


Cristy has owned and operated Black Diamond VermiCompost for ten years. 


Introduction to Seed Production

Learn the fundamental skills to produce seed and develop and adapt seed varieties for your organic farm conditions. Topics will include the biology of seed production, seed harvest and cleaning, choosing appropriate seed crops for your system and climate, and maintaining the genetic integrity of varieties with appropriate population sizes and isolation distances.


Jared Zystro works for Organic Seed Alliance, teaching seed production and plant breeding, conducting research, and supporting regional seed systems. He has a PhD in plant breeding and over 15 years experience in seed. Jared lives in Arcata, California. 


Biochar: Co-composting for Maximum Benefit

Compost qualities can be improved when biochar is added in early stage, a practice which also improves biochar qualities for use in farming.  A brief review of biochar characteristics and relevant field trials will be followed by discussion of research and experiences with biochar amended compost. 


Josiah Hunt, Director of Pacific Biochar, has been working with biochar for 10 years, primarily with a focus on agricultural applications.

Charlie McIntosh, Operations Manager of Pacific Biochar, has a broad background in sustainable farming and engineering.


Community Engagement on For-Profit Farms

Join this conversation on how to engage your community of customers without compromising productivity and revenue. While there has been great momentum in hyping healthy soil and permaculture values, this movement does not always speak to the reality of growing food to earn money. In this workshop we will discuss how to honor these bridges without compromising the financial bottom line. Ideas we’ll review include: Creative marketing, Social media, Farm tours, Grants, Workshops and Programming.


Nicki Anderson started farming at Green String Farm, then ventured to Massachusetts, working at Green Meadows, Red Fire, then Brix Bounty and Round the Bend, then back to California to manage the City Farm in San Luis Obispo. She now farms in Malibu. 


CSA Survival in a Fast-Paced World

In today’s marketplace, the call for convenience has never been louder. How is your CSA responding and balancing the ethos of CSA with our cultural need for speed and simplicity? Whether you’re a savvy CSA with tried and true tricks or one struggling to simply stay afloat, you have something to contribute to this dynamic farmer-to- farmer conversation and CSA software management demo.


Michelle Wyler, a long-time staffer at the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and a former CSA farmer, has been in rural food systems development for over 20 years. She specializes in supporting farmers who sell via direct marketing channels, especially CSA. 


Natural Disasters & Farm Resilience

As California’s wildfire season intensifies each year, it’s evermore more important for farmers and ranchers to plan ahead for prevention, mitigation and community relief in the face of these very real risks. Join us for a workshop exploring techniques to better prepare your home, property, family and community. Hear stories from fire survivors, get tips, learn about a variety of resources and brainstorm with fellow attendees what a healthy, just and collective response would look like to assure that your local community is ready for the next wildfire, flood or earthquake.

Mark Lipson is a staff affiliate for “organic policy studies” at UC Santa Cruz, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) and was Policy Director at Organic Farming Research Foundation and was the first USDA Organic & Sustainable Ag Policy Advisor.

Evan Wiig is the Director of Membership & Communications at Community Alliance with Family Farmers and was deeply involved in the farm response and recovery efforts during the North Bay Fires of 2017 and 2019. 


Is your financial house in order?

Discover the tools you can use to become invincible to lawsuits, save thousands in taxes, and achieve financial peace of mind. By the end of the presentation you will know how to avoid the most common asset protection mistakes made by farmers & ranchers and their advisors. How farmers & ranchers can minimize vicarious liability for the acts of other professionals and staff. Five strategies farmers & ranchers can use to reduce income taxes by up to 40% each year. How farmers & ranchers can eliminate the capital gains tax on the sale of a business, real estate, stocks or other assets. How to effectively use corporations, trusts, wills, and family limited partnerships.

Don Pendleton is an expert in the areas of lawsuit protection, tax reduction, and estate planning and has authored several publications on the subjects. He is the co-author of the books, The Asset Protection Handbook, The Asset Protection Bible, and 7 Legal Tools Made Easy. Don has presented at numerous association meeting, advanced training seminars, webinars, and workshops on the subject of asset protection. He is one of the nation’s top asset protection advisors and has helped thousands of professionals learn how to property structure themselves for lawsuit protection and tax reduction.


Regenerative Practices in Perennial Systems

California’s almond acreage has exceeded 1.33 million acres and is growing fast. But how are those orchards being managed and what does that mean for our farms and our climate? Come hear the preliminary findings from a two-year study, “Regenerative and Conventional Almond Orchards: A Systems Level Comparison”. Data analyzed to date show that: regenerative orchards contain higher amounts of soil organic matter and total soil carbon, larger microbial communities, lower bulk densities, faster water infiltration rates, greater water retention, and have larger and more diverse invertebrate communities, with no difference in pest damage. Most importantly, this workshop will feature Rosie and Ward Burroughs, two producers from the study, who will discuss ways that producers can integrate regenerative practices in their own perennial systems.

Ward and Rosie Burroughs farm with their children and their families in California’s San Joaquin Valley and Southeastern Oregon. The Burroughs work continually to reduce water use and improve soil fertility by focusing on nourishing soil biology and increasing biodiversity.

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren is the founder and director of the Ecdysis foundation. He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois. His vision is to use Ecdysis generated research to shift agricultural practices at home and abroad toward regenerative principals.

Tommy Fenster is a MS student in Biology at Cal State East Bay and a member of the Ecdysis Foundation. His research focuses on regenerative management practices in California agroecosystems.


Exotic Fruit Fly Impacts on Small Scale Farms & Markets


In this workshop, we’ll learn about the impacts of exotic fruit fly and insect quarantine on small scale farmers and farmers markets. Hear from a CFDA Senior Environmental Scientist about the eridation and quarantine projects, including statistics, triggers, regulations, safeguarding methods and crop treatment options.


Vince Arellano is a Senior Environmental Scientist at the Emergency Quarantine Response Program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. He has worked on several quarantine projects over the years, including over 15 exotic fruit fly projects ranging from San Diego to Sacramento. 


Pruning in Deciduous Orchards and Vineyards

Are you curious about how to prune young vines and trees?  Would you like to gain some knowledge that can help you make good pruning decisions?

We will prune various types of deciduous fruit trees and grapevines.  The orchard is two years old and the vineyard was just planted last year.  Types of pruning cuts will be reviewed and will be related to the structure of the tree or vine and its bearing habits.  Basic plant parts, pollination and physiology also will be reviewed.  


Meet the Experts

Are you seeking more in-depth, one-on-one support or advice? Visit our registration table anytime on Friday and sign up for a one-on-one meeting with a variety of agricultural experts and farm service providers, taking place from 3:45 to 5pm. Space is limited. First come, first serve.




Harnessing Community Investment


How do you create and maintain reliable funding streams that support marketplaces that are vibrant and lively, along with being economically viable for our farmers, and deliver solid wages and meaningful work for your staff? In this session, learn how to start and scale a strategy of active community engagement that leads to deep community investment in your market. This investment can translate into a dependable funding stream that supports staff retention, and supplements revenues to support outreach efforts, promotions, community events, and advances the goals of the Market organization in presenting these valuable community gathering places without the farmers, ranchers and food makers bearing the full brunt of those associated expenses.


Erin Tormey is a farmer, and the founder/manager of Coastside Farmers’ Markets of Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and Pescadero. The sole proprietor of Farm Fatales, she lives and farms pioneer/heritage apples and chickens in San Mateo County, where she was named 2017 Farmer of the Year, an honor read into the Congressional Record by Congresswoman Jackie Speier. in 2018 she was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame for her role as an instigator and inaugural member of the San Mateo Food Systems Alliance, founder of The HEAL Project ( Health, Environment, Agricultural Literacy) and work in Agricultural education and promotion of a broad array of community projects.




Keeping the Farmers in Farmers’ Markets

Learn how to keep farmers, ranchers and local harvests front and center in your farmers’ market messaging and marketing. Curating full service events that supplement farm fresh produce with groceries, prepared food and even crafts means more shoppers. But it’s not just the size of the crowd that indicates success. Attracting and educating the customers who will support the certified producers in your market creates financially sustainable farms, which means more farmers coming back to your market, which brings more shoppers. It’s the best kind of chicken and egg.


Catt Fields White is the Director of San Diego Markets, developing and managing certified markets, the Founder of Farmers Market Pros, educating market managers, small farmers and foodmakers nation-wide, and the co-host of Tent Talk, the Farmers’ Market Podcast.


Documenting Certified Farmers’ Markets and Conducting Seasonal Farms Visits  

Our responsibility as certified farmers’ market managers involves keeping records & documenting the produce our farmers sell. Part of this responsibility includes visiting certified producer’s farm locations seasonally to ensure they “grow what they sell” & are practicing the growing methods they inform us they conduct. You can hire a professional photographer or use your smartphone to create content to educate & promote seasonal items in the hopes of increasing sales to our certified producers. Creating this content will make managers more aware of the products sold, help build better relationships with their farmers & overall improve the farmers’ market experience for your customers.


Jay Elizabeth is a local art/activist from South Central Los Angeles, California who has managed certified farmers’ markets in Southern California for the past five years with an iPhone, Polaroid, film and DSLR cameras in the hopes of eliminating the disconnect in our food system.


Making Farm-Fresh Food Accessible

In this workshop, we will discuss ways to bring locally-grown foods to new customers that have traditionally not had access to the local bounty. Topics covered will include gleaning programs at farmers’ markets, farmers’ market CalFresh EBT access, outreach to low-income shoppers, and incentive programs like Market Match.


Lucy Asako Boltz is a Farmers’ Market Access & Equity Program Coordinator at the Ecology Center and supports the California Farmers’ Market EBT Technical Assistance and Market Match Programs. She holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and received a certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz.


Emily Dimond is a Community Education Specialist with the CalFresh Healthy Living Program, University of California. She received her B.S. in Nutrition at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and worked in international community health education with the Peace Corps. She is an avid farmers market shopper and member of the EBT at Farmers Market Workgroup of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. The workgroup strives to increase access to fresh, local food for EBT recipients as well as increase revenue for farmers.  


Emily Wilson is Program Coordinator for GleanSLO, a program of the SLO Food Bank that rescues produce from local farms, orchards, and backyards and distributes it to community members in need.  Emily grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. After spending four years in Tallahassee, Florida earning her bachelor’s degree, she relocated to the central coast of California where she discovered her passion for communal living, mountainous landscapes, and rescuing fresh, local produce.


Farmers’ Market “World Cafe” Roundtable

In this Farmers’ Market Manager Roundtable, participants will have the opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer learning. Using a “World Cafe” format, participants will rotate through three or more twenty-minute rounds of conversation on set farmers’ market discussion topics, led by experienced farmers’ market leaders. This will be a great opportunity for newer market managers to learn from experienced industry professionals, as well as sharing their own experiences and best practices.


Facilitated by the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets and led by experienced Farmers’ Market leaders, TBD


Leveraging Farmers’ Market Social Media for Marketing

In this workshop, the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets (Alliance) will partner with Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA) to demonstrate how farmers’ markets have successfully turned social media fans into farmers’ market shoppers. The speakers will share how they used FMPP grants at local and statewide levels to strengthen market performance through marketing and promotion strategies that increase shopper numbers at Certified Farmers’ Markets. Attendees will learn new ways to make use of social media for marketing and promotions, and key messaging strategies that have been successful in California.


Carle Brinkman leads the Ecology Center’s Food and Farming Programs, including three Berkeley Farmers’ Markets, the statewide Farmers’ Market Access and Equity programming, the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, and food-related policy and coalition building efforts. She served on the CSFC Board for many years, and now serves on the Board of the EcoFarm Conference.

Allen J. Moy is Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA), a nonprofit organization which serves nearly 250 California farmers by operating and promoting more than 50 certified farmers’ markets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Allen serves on the Boards of Fresh Approach and the National Farmers’ Market Coalition.


Farmers Market Legal Toolkit

Running farmers markets is a challenging business and most of us don’t have lawyers on staff. This workshop will introduce market managers to  the Farmers Market Legal Toolkit, a free resource that can help identify and manage legal risks in a farmers market setting. 

Ben Feldman currently serves as the Executive Director for the national Farmers Market Coalition, where he previously worked as the Policy Director. Ben has spent his career in farmers markets. Prior to joining the Farmers Market Coalition, Ben worked at the Ecology Center where he helped found the California Alliance of Farmers’ Markets, served as vice-chair of the CDFA Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee, Administered the California Market Match Program, and championed policy to improve connect  low-income shoppers and farmers at farmers’ market. 


The Future of WIC at the Farmers Market

What does the future hold for the business of WIC benefits at farmers markets? This presentation will provide an overview of the changing landscape of WIC participation and the new technology requirements that pose specific challenges and opportunities for farmers and market managers.

Paula Griffin, WIC Farmers market programs, CA Dept. of Public Health; Ryan Loof, FMNP


Food Hubs & Coops: Support Networks for Small Farmers

Food Hubs are an innovative business model in which producers, buyers, and other related supply chain players form collaborative, transparent partnerships that attempt to combine efforts with a commitment to shared values and social mission goals. FEED Sonoma is one such successful example, whose owner Tim Page will be joined by Nate Siemens of Fat Uncle Farm in a discussion of farmer coops to strengthen Food Hubs, build support networks and stimulate viable land access.


Tim Page co-founder, owner operator of FEED Sonoma

Nate Siemens, Fat Uncle Farms is a part of the California Grain Collaborative.  He has worked with diverse cropping systems and animals throughout California and is currently working with other farmers on a farmer cooperative in Paso Robles.


Annual Farm Policy Forum

Farmers, ranchers and advocates for local food and sustainable agriculture, join us to hear how state and federal policies could impact your farm and our food system and what we can do about it. From national issues to local ordinances to statewide programs, get updates on policy matters pertaining to small farms, sustainable agriculture and local food systems. And find out how our community can take action. Then share your own thoughts, concerns, ideas and questions. Feedback from this forum will help guide Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) in the year ahead as they work to give voice to sustainable agriculture and small farms in the halls of Sacramento and beyond.


Dave Runsten, Policy Director, CAFF

Paul Towers, Executive Director, CAFF

Pete Price, Policy Committee Chair, CAFF


Building a Farm Trail

Many California farmers and ranchers are forming agritourism associations and together promoting their regions to visitors as a Farm Trail. This workshop starts with an overview of the history and variety of California farm trail organizations. Then Lynette Sonne, will share the process, challenges, successes and activities of the SLO Farm Trail, which she organized. Finally, Tina Ballantyne, owner of ten-acre Giving Tree Family Farm, will talk about her experience starting an agritourism operation and being part of the SLO County Farm Trail. Karen Tallent, SLO Co Farm Trail member, olive oil producer and agritourism operator, will moderate the workshop.


Penny Leff, Agritourism Coordinator with UC Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP) works with UC Cooperative Extension all over California to develop resources and connections for everyone involved in California agritourism. 

Lynette Sonne, Founder of FARMstead ED and the SLO County Farm Trail – In 2014, she launched FARMstead ED to promote locally grown and made products through pop-up events; getting people out to the farms, ranches & production facilities.

Tina Ballantyne, Giving Tree Family Farm – Tina & David Ballantyne, with their daughter and her family, keep registered Nubian goats, alpaca, potbellied pigs, Merino sheep, an assortment of fowl, and host classes and events.

Moderator: Karen Tallent, The Groves on 41 – The Tallent’s family farm produces a premium extra virgin olive oil and serves as the backdrop for private weddings, events and hosts many farm tours and local events.


Successful Farm 2 School Programs

K-12 school food services have proven to be good sales opportunities for local small farmers. Greater nutrition and student education on the importance of consuming locally farmed and raised food is recognized. Lessons learned and approaches to engagement with suppliers and students will be covered. We will discuss the process in place now and the farmer experience, the importance of relationship to the success and how farmer to buyer connections will be expanded in 2020.


Erin Primer is Director of Food Services, San Luis Coastal School District. Erin is passionate about providing students with quality food options. She develops and tests new recipes that fit dietary needs while including food contracts with local farmers. 

Brandon Sanders owns RobinSong Farms with four acres of non-certified organic vegetables.  Brandon sells to local schools and is contracted with a school district to develop and implement an educational farm program with emphasis on in-house production for Food Services. 

Jeff Wade is founder of the non-profit Slow Money SLO dedicated to provide support and advocacy for local food and farm businesses.  Slow Money is a national movement to “support and invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered.


Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields

(An award-winning documentary film and discussion afterwards with the film’s producer, farmer-veterans and the audience.)  There are tremendous opportunities for military veterans in farming, ranching and value-added food and beverage products. Thousands of combat vets are heeding a call to the land and ensuring delicious, nutritious food security to communities across America. A national support system is in place to help beginning or expanding farm operations.

Dulanie Ellis is Producer/director of the film & social action campaign, Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields.  Filmmaker produced sustainable agriculture documentaries for the past 20 years: Farmland preservation; the need for farm worker housing; the environmental stewardship of agriculture; rise of farmer-veterans. 

Farmer Mac (Jonathon McDonald) is an Air Force veteran with three combat tours in Iraq behind him.  A horticulture class awakened a passion for growing nutrient-rich mushrooms and so began his new company, Forevermore Funghi. 


Food, Farms & Social Justice

Join us for this interactive, guided conversation around the topic of social justice in our food and farming systems. This year’s conference theme is “Strength Through Diversity”, but how does diversity play out in the real world? Are opportunities to thrive as a farmer equally available to everyone? Land ownership? Access to capital? Government services? And why do certain communities always bear the brunt of the sometimes ill-effects of irresponsible agriculture? This is not a sit-and-listen workshop; come ready to share your perspective and collectively seek solutions with fellow conference goers from across the state. 


Aves de Corral en Pastura: Prácticas de Producción y Recursos para su Negocio

¿Produce aves de corral en pastura? ¿Necesita identificar pasos prácticos para emprender retos actuales en su negocio? O ¿Le interesa saber si sería factible empezar un negocio? Traigan sus preguntas y respuestas para un intercambio de conocimientos y recursos. Exploraremos presupuestos económicos para producción de ponedoras y aves de carne. ¿Cuánto dinero se ocupa para la inversión principal y para los gastos mensuales? Evaluaremos diferentes escenarios, y veremos opciones para facilitar los registros y la contabilidad. Consigan conocimientos prácticos de otros agricultores, redes de productores; aprovechen los recursos de la extensión Universitaria, y entiendan las regulaciones gubernamentales.


Ann Baier es especialista en agricultura sostenible con el Centro Nacional para la Tecnología Apropriada (NCAT por sus siglas en inglés) y su programa ATTRA. Provee información práctica a los agricultores y rancheros, incluyendo producción, regulaciones y manejo de negocios de aves de corral en pastura. También es inspectora orgánica.


Como Manejar el Nitrogeno y el riego usando La Prueba Rapida de Nitrato

El Uso de la Prueba Rapida de Nitrato una Herramienta en el manejo del Nitrogeno y el Riego. Los beneficios en trabajar con nosotros y las diferentes fuentes de disponible ayuda para entrenar y apoyar en su manejo de practicas.

Misael Sanchez, Alcance Bilingue y Especialista en Recursos Hidricos. Cachuma Resource Conservation District


Evaluación de la rentabilidad de los cultivos para la planificación de negocios agrícolas

Únase Kitchen Table Advisors para un taller que se sumerge en la planificación de negocios agrícolas desde una perspectiva de rentabilidad de los cultivos. Entender la rentabilidad de cada uno de sus cultivos es tan importante como saber cuál de sus mercados aporta más beneficios. En este taller, aprenderá el valor de entender la relación precio-volumen de sus cultivos y por qué es importante conocer los costos de sus cultivos. Al final del taller, te irás con recursos para ayudarte a empezar a pensar en la rentabilidad de los cultivos en tu propia operación.

David Mancera se desempeña como Director Regional de Kitchen Table Advisors para el área de Salinas, Watsonville, Hollister, CA. Mancera creció en una familia migrante de trabajo agrícola en la pequeña ciudad de Chualar, que se encuentra en el corazón del valle de Salinas de California. El interés de David en la agricultura y la alimentación lo llevó a cursar una licenciatura en Negocios Agrícolas en Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo y más tarde una Maestría en Agricultura y Economía de Recursos de UC Davis. Mancera ha pasado el último año, como voluntario en un jardín escolar, enseñando agricultura sostenible en el colegio comunitario local y trabajando con pequeños agricultores para fortalecer sus negocios a través de su posición en Kitchen Table Advisors.


Poda y de Huertos Caducifolios y Viñedos

¿Tienes curiosidad sobre cómo podar vides y árboles jóvenes? ¿Le gustaría obtener algún conocimiento que pueda ayudarlo a tomar buenas decisiones de poda? Podaremos varios tipos de árboles frutales de hoja caduca y vides. El huerto tiene dos años y el viñedo se plantó el año pasado. Revisaremos los tipos de cortes de poda y que se revisaran y estarán relacionados con la estructura del árbol y el lugar donde se forma la fruita. También revisamos las partes básicas de la planta, la polinización y la fisiología. ¡Ven al seminario y trae algunas preguntas y buenas ideas!