On Display at 2015 Annual Conference: 25 Years of SFA’s Vibrancy

SFA AC 2015 Kent teaches

SFA Livestock & Grazing Specialist Kent Solberg leads the Fencing session at the 2015 SFA Annual Conference on Feb. 14 at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn.

It was a cold Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14, 2015, but the energy inside the College of Saint Benedict easily lifted the spirits of the over 250 attendees at the vibrant SFA Annual Conference.

Snapshots from the day illustrate just how diverse an organization SFA has become:

  • Josh Reinitz and Daniel Zetah’s idea-packed session on salvaging and repurposing farm equipment and buildings was innovative, pointed and, at times, hilarious.
  • John Mesko’s opening remarks about SFA’s 25-year anniversary prove not just how much SFA and its members have accomplished, but how optimistic we are for our future and our role in regenerating the land in the Upper Midwest and beyond. Click here to download John’s opening presentation slides.
  • Budding-FarmersLed by Monica Irwin, the Budding Farmers program, which drew nearly 20 children to the conference, went home with abundant art they had created as well as seeds from their visit to the seed swap.
  • Mary Jane Miller’s braised beef was, in the words of Kelsey Wulf, “out-of-this-world.”
  • Deep Winter Greenhouses drew a crowd to Paradox Farm on Feb. 13 for our sold-out “combo pack” session, which was followed by two DWG-related sessions on Feb. 14 at St. Ben’s that combined Minnesota Deep Winter experts like Carol Ford, Sue Wika and Ryan Pesch.

And, of course, we debuted our popular “Back End of a Cow” t-shirts, only a handful of which remain. That’s what makes SFA great – we combine the most innovative thinkers and sustainable ag experts, but we’re not above making a good manure reference on a t-shirt.

Photos from the Conference coming soon here and on our Facebook page.

Look for an announcement regarding the 2016 SFA Annual Conference soon.

SFA Annual Conference: Last-Minute Details and Updates

SFA_AC_The 2015 SFA Annual Conference will be this Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, in the Gorecki Center at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Some last-minute details:

  • Pre-Registration has closed but you may still register at the door – all walkup registrations are $65. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m.
  • Children 3-12 who wish to attend the Budding Farmers programming may also register at the door for $10 each. Budding Farmers children must be potty-trained.
  • The Conference program and full schedule is now available for download at our Annual Conference homepage.
  • Mary Jane Miller’s Culinary Sessions include “Cooking for Kids,” “Start With a Rotisserie Chicken,” “Grassfed Beef 2: The Art of Braising,” and “Stump the Sommelier.” Then our popular after-conference reception will include beer from 612 Brewery and Mankato Brewery as well as cheese from Caves of Faribault.
  • There may be a limited amount of Leaders Breakfast spots available at the door for $12.50. If you wish to purchase a Leaders Breakfast ticket, make sure you arrive before the breakfast begins at 7:30.
  • Lunch is not included in conference registration. The bountiful and delicious St. Ben’s Cafeteria is in this building; there are restaurants across Minnesota St (which are listed in the conference program); and if you brought your lunch there are plenty of spots to enjoy that, including the Lunch Hour Sessions. Lunch is also a great time to visit our fabulous exhibitors and the ever-popular Seed Swap.
  • Want to set up a carpool? The SFA Annual Conference has a Facebook page.
  • Parking is available in Lot 5 across from the Gorecki Center at St. Ben’s. Enter the campus at the North Entrance on NW 3rd Ave off Minnesota St (be careful, blink and you can miss it). Just look for the SFA signs.

NEARLY 200 PEOPLE have already registered for the SFA Annual Conference. If you haven’t yet, make plans to attend!

SFA Annual Conference 2015 – From the Farm Solutions Podcast

The 2015 SFA Annual Conference will be held at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN on Saturday, February 14, 2015. This year, we are celebrating SFAs 25th Anniversary. In this episode of the Farm Solutions Podcast, John discusses the conference agenda in general and Jerry Ford discusses the Deep Winter Greenhouse aspect of the conference.

John also describes the voting process by which much of the conference content was selected.

Also, there is an explanation about online registration being closed, and walk up registrations starting at 7:30 at the door. More information is at: www.sfa-mn.org/conference

Annual Conference Member Discount Ends Jan. 31; Sign Up Your Budding Farmer for Just $10

SFA_AC_SFA’s Annual Conference, “Loving the Land: 25 Years of Sustainability,” is set for Feb. 14 in the Gorecki Center at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph. Registration opens at 7:15 a.m., programming begins at 8:30 a.m., and sessions run until 4:20 when the after-party with local beer and cheese begins.

SFA members: Register through Jan. 31 at the rate of $55 for members (registration is $65 for nonmembers). Current SFA members should have received a separate email with discount registration instructions. Only SFA members will receive this separate email – if you recently joined online, you should have received the email at that time.

If you need a reminder of the discount code or to check your membership status, email gro.n1425178425m-afs1425178425@nosa1425178425j1425178425.

More Annual Conference Tidbits:

  • Art and science projects, cooking lessons and more – the Budding Farmers program is coming to the 2015 SFA Annual Conference. Children attending must be between 3 and 12 years old and potty trained; kids under 3 are welcome to attend the conference but are the responsibility of their parents. We already have a good number of kids registered – this is a very exciting addition to the festivities and for just $10 per child it’s a great deal! Click here to register.
  • You can still sign up to volunter – all 2015 volunteers receive a newly designed SFA t-shirt. Contact SFA Volunteer Coordinator Gretchen Boyum at 218.535.1567 or moc.l1425178425iamg@1425178425smraf1425178425muyob1425178425.
  • There is still time for Vendor/Exhibitor Registration as well. Visit our Annual Conference homepage to download the proper form.
  • Join us during lunch for a viewing and discussion of “Grow,” a short film that captures the stories of young farmers around Fergus Falls and shares their visions for the local food movement and the future of Minnesota’s rural communities. The session will be hosted by SFA Sustaining Member Katy Olson, who is featured in the film. Katy is a farmer, beginning farmer mentor, activist, and owner of Body Mind Center with a focus on holistic health.
  • The Seed Swap is returning! Bring your seeds and swap away.
  • Chapters: Take part in our Opening Session Chapter Showcase by giving a one-minute introduction of your chapter, and share your happenings from 2014 and what you’re planning for 2015. Or, foster conversation and promote chapter engagement throughout the conference by preparing a tri-fold display to show all your chapter’s projects. SFA Communications Coordinator Jason Walker can provide chapters with display advice, graphics and fonts; email him at gro.n1425178425m-afs1425178425@nosa1425178425j1425178425. To reserve a spot for your showcase presentation and your display, contact Helen Schnoes, SFA Event Coordination Intern: helenaschnoes@gmail.com or 612.741.1591.
  • Through Feb. 1, 2015, we will be collecting SFA members’ most important questions for attorneys Jennifer Jambor-Delgado and Amanda Heyman to answer during a special session. At the conference, Jambor-Delgado and Heyman will also provide information about how smart legal strategies can help grow and protect your business. Join us in making this great opportunity a success – send your questions to moc.n1425178425amyeh1425178425robma1425178425j@oll1425178425eh1425178425.
  • Socialize with your farmer friends the night before the SFA Annual Conference during a reception and jam session from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13 at Minnesota Street Market (the food co-op in downtown St. Joseph). Bring the whole family, your instruments, or just drop in to say hello. The event is free, but RSVP by Feb. 9 to moc.m1425178425rafse1425178425rcasr1425178425ekab@1425178425asil1425178425 if you would like to buy a simple soup meal served at the co-op.