Annual Farm and Food Conference - Manhattan, Kansas

Friday, November 17, 2017 to Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Annual Farm and Food Conference promises to have something for a broad spectrum of attendees – from conventional and organic farmers, to beginning and established farmers, conservationists and environmentalists, and local food advocates and community leaders.

The event will be held will be held Nov. 17 and 18, 2017, at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 530 Richards Drive, Manhattan, Kansas, and is organized by the Kansas Rural Center, sponsored in part by the Center for Rural Affairs.

This year’s theme, “Driving the Change that Matters: Practical and Political Solutions to our Farm and Food Future” will highlight how biological, human and economic diversity builds resilience, and how we can increase diversity on our farms, in our communities, and in our part of the world.

The keynote presenter on day one of the two-day conference is Denise O’Brien, Women Food and Agriculture Network founder and longtime Iowa farm activist. As a farmer, O’Brien has worked on state, national and international agriculture and conservation policy and written and spoken across the U.S. on women in agriculture, organic and sustainable farming and local food systems.

Ferd Hoefner, Senior Strategic Advisor for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), will be the Keynote speaker on day two. Hoefner has been NSAC’s senior representative in D.C. since 1988. Today he serves in a mentoring and advising role. Hoefner will speak on “The Past, Present, and Future of Sustainable Agriculture” providing an overview of farm policy, on the ground successes, grassroots efforts to create and change policy, and the work yet to be done to ensure a sustainable food and farming future.

On Friday, Pastor Adrion Roberson, faculty at the Kansas Leadership Center, and co-pastor of Berean Community Church in Kansas City, will also address the conference with comments on “Recognizing the Adaptive Challenges of Defining Our Purpose, our values, our vision for the sake of our future.”

On day two, an afternoon panel on “Diversity in Kansas: The People and Cultures of Food and Farming,” will discuss the roles and challenges of diversity in people, culture and ideas at work in Kansas. Just as we’ve learned that multi-species diversity benefits ecological health, we now need to understand the benefits of multi-cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity in our communities, state, and country.

Each day will also include 12 to 15 breakout sessions including practical production and marketing information, conservation practices and management, farmer presentations on SARE demonstration projects, the 2018 farm bill, and informative sessions on state policy, community organizing efforts in Kansas, and more.

Cost to attend the conference is $70 per day or $135 for both days. This includes access to all presenters, lunch and snacks both days, and a Friday evening social hour. Both days will include a lunch from locally-sourced ingredients and will offer conference attendees time for networking and visiting exhibitor booths in order to connect with and learn more about the great people and exciting things happening in farming, food production, and the environment, in Kansas and beyond.

Sponsors for the 2017 Conference include: Center for Rural Affairs; Eastern Kansas Chapter of Organic Crop Improvement Association; Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams; Kansas Permaculture Institute; The Merc Co-op; Green Cover Seeds, Kansas Farmers Union; Kansas Organic Producers; Kansas Wildlife Federation; No Till on the Plains; The Nature Conservancy; League of Women Voters; Cromwell Environmental; Kansas Department of Agriculture; Kansas Forest Service; Kansas Association of Conservation Districts; Westar; SAVE (Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education Corp.); Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club; The Land Institute; Kansas SARE and Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops; and Mother Earth News.

Registration for the 2017 Conference can be done online at www.kansasruralcenter.org with a deadline of Monday, Nov. 13. A limited number of scholarships are available to students and beginning farmers. Call 866.579.5469 ext. 701 or email info@kansasruralcenter.org to learn how to apply.