While the green things are beginning to flourish in your patch of Alabama, it’s time to give some thought to the row, come December, you’ll hoe in the state’s biggest celebration of local and sustainable food — the Food & Farm Forum and Youth Food & Farm Forum, held Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7.
Approximately 200 farmers, gardeners, community leaders, young people and other advocates for local and sustainable food will convene in Fairhope, in Baldwin County for a weekend of “cross-pollinating” — swapping stories, ideas and wisdom — with the shared goal of building a more robust and resilient agricultural system in Alabama.
The Forum is an annual event produced by the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, and participants need not be existing members of ASAN’s network to participate.
This year ASAN is building the Forum program by putting out a call for session proposals. Farmers, market managers, business owners, activists and other members of the public are invited to submit ideas for possible sessions, which will be reviewed by a committee.
Topic areas for sessions include (1) Farming (beginner level), (2) Farming (advanced level), (3) Farm business/marketing, (4) Community food systems and food movement, and (5) Green living.
Examples of sessions at past Forums include:
- Sustainable Woodland Management for Small Farms and Landowners
- Growing a New Market with Microgreens
- On-Farm Processing of Poultry and Rabbits (panel)
- Cooperative Farm Marketing
- Carpentry Life Skills
- Putting Solar to Work on the Farm Using Passive Solar Structures and Off-Grid Solar Photovoltaic
- Fermentation 101
- Introduction to Herbal Tincturing
Sessions can be hands-on demonstrations, panel discussions, facilitated roundtable discussions (including audience members), storytelling and/or traditional presentations. Sessions may be led by youth (14-21) and/or adults. The proposal form states that, while traditional presentations from traditional experts are welcome, ASAN “value[s] and uplift[s] folk wisdom, practical skills, intuition, emotional intelligence, embodied knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, creative arts and other forms of knowing.” Priority will be given to sessions that reflect:
* Skill-building across cultures, communities and sectors/roles in the food system
* Collaboration, cooperation and network-building
* Diversity of presenters and perspectives
* Grounding in racial, social and economic equity/justice and authentic community-building
More details and the form to submit a proposal are available here. The deadline to submit a session proposal is Monday, June 17, 2019. All session leaders (and co-leaders) receive free registration to the event.
Programs are available for the 2017 Food & Farm Forum, 2018 Food & Farm Forum (adult), and 2018 Youth Food & Farm Forum to give potential applicants a sense for the full breadth and depth of sessions appropriate for the event.