During the late winter farmers and gardeners look forward to the vast number of seed catalogs that begin circulating. The beautiful photographs and illustrations of seed packages, varieties of fruits and vegetables, bulbs, and farm and garden tools and other materials appear to us in a fabulous catalog. While we study these fine pages, we make or modify our plans for planting, decide on new implements and new crops to grow. The catalog contains articles along with seed and plant information, growing guides, and if you look at the online versions you can also read reviews from people who have bought and tried the items.
This is a time that is spent making ready fields or garden beds, starting seeds you already have in your kitchen or hot house. It is also a time to tend and harvest the overwintering plants of hardy greens like collards, mustards, kale and turnips, pick those peppers that are still producing and anything else that is in your hot house a.k.a. seasonal high tunnel. Keeping the compost bays filled and hot to be useful in the field and orchard is a noteworthy chore along with cleaning animal houses, their manure is a valuable resource.
Another activity this time of year is attending conferences and workshops to get a grasp of new concepts or reinforce those already learned. Conferences and workshops are aplenty, on various topics so it may be hard to choose the one that best addresses your needs. Networking is just as much a part of attending a conference as the subject matter.
There are two upcoming events scheduled for the month of March here in South Carolina that we have chosen to attend. First, a workshop offered by the SCF-Organic Farms, Ltd.,"they are having their Organic Production System Plan Workshop at LHSPAA Lincoln Center on 24 Council Street in Sumter, SC 29151 which is in Sumter County. The event is focused on Heritage Organic Dry Farming, Public health and improving agriculture through food safety. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Roy T. Hollingsworth, Ph.D. in rural sociology. A professor and expert in education, economics and rural development. Hosting and officiating the event will be done by SCF-Organic Farms. Agricultural Literature will be provided by Roy T. Hollingsworth, Ph.D. We look forward to seeing you at this event. Please tell a friend. The workshop is free to the public and food/refreshment are free to the public. Thank you and SCF looks forward to seeing you on March 21, 2020 on Saturday. The event is from 12:00 to 4:00PM." If you are interested in this kind of farming please consider attending this workshop. SCF-Organic Farms offers agriculture and health workshops on a regular basis and have been speakers themselves at the Sustainable Agriculture Conference put on by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. We attend their workshops as often as possible and are glad to receive their expert advice and mentoring.
The second is the SC Black Farmers Conference. I attended the first conference last March in Charleston and found it to be very informative and a great networking opportunity. The speakers were extremely knowledgeable and made themselves available to have sidebar conversations and entertain questions. Books were available and a time for signing and chats with the authors and the food was outstanding!
"Why SC Black Farmers Conference?
The south needs more young, black farmers. Only 1.3% of US farm producers are black. That's only 45,508 out of almost 4 million total producers. To make matters worse, southern states have, on average, older producers with the average age of farm producers in US being 57.5. Years of generational knowledge of farming will be lost if we do not share it with black youth and work to support those that are established."
- 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture Highlights
"Germaine Jenkins, CFO of Fresh Future Farm advocates for the strengthening of the Black farming and food entrepreneur industry. She created the SC Black Farmers Conference as an extension of that effort. The SC Black Farmers Conference (SCBFC) brings experts from across the country to share their critical information. The result is an expanded food literacy leveraged into a chance to connect and advocate around shared economic opportunity."
"This year's theme is a Farm Family Reunion. Our mission is to grow farmers in community by:
creating a connected Black farmer and food entrepreneur advocacy network
providing tools, knowledge, and technical support to strengthen farming practices
building and cultivating inter-generational connections
celebrate and reinvigorate the rich tradition of Black farming"
Date: Mar 29, 8:00 AM – Mar 30, 12:00 PM
Location: Penn Center Circle East, Penn Center Cir E, South Carolina 29920, USA
Take a look at these and other conferences you may hear about, you just find yourself attending and getting hooked on the atmosphere!