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The 23rd California Small Farm Conference in San Diego, CA was attended by two San Benito Board Members. Entitled Sustaining our Bounty, this year’s event was a great opportunity for learning, networking and providing small farmers the tools they need to sustain and grow their farms in these tough economic times.
The Monday breakfast Keynote Address was offered by Rayne Pegg, an administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
Breakout sessions focused on five tracks: Resource Conservation and Management Strategies; Marketing and Business Practices for Successful Small Farms, Building your Bounty: Production Strategies for Small Farmers; Strategies for Successful Farmers’ Markets; and Hot Topics in California Agriculture.
The California Alliance with Family Farms, San Benito Bounty’s partner in the Harvest of the Month program introduced this year in local schools and after-school care sites, hosted a roundtable discussion on agriculture-based education.
A second Keynote Address came at the Awards Banquet Dinner. Russ Parson, food columnist for the LA Times was amusing and warm. The 2010 Tom Haller Award Winner, recognized for exceptional and exemplary commitment to helping small farms strive and excel, went to Pompea Smith for her creation of the non-profit Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) following her creation of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. She has opened the Farmer’s Kitchen, a 1500 sq. ft. community teaching and retail kitchen to provide job training for residents while delivering farm fresh food to the community with a retail café and innovative marketing programs. San Benito Bounty will be exploring some of these successes with an eye to application in our area in the coming years.
The final Keynote Address was held at breakfast the following day. Josh Viertel, the President of Slow Food USA shared his views on changing the face of our food system and our eating.
Next year’s conference will be held in San Jose, CA. San Benito Bounty is hoping to be part of the planning process. Perhaps you will be there in 2011!
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