We’re accepting session proposals for our 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Conference!

Our annual conference, entering its 31st year, draws a diverse audience of rural and urban farmers, industry professionals, entrepreneurs, educators, advocates, homesteaders, and others for intensive learning on sustainable agriculture and food system topics.

Our overarching goals for the conference are to:

  • Provide training and education that promote the environmental, economic, and social wellbeing of farms, food systems, communities, and the environment
  • Serve as an outlet for sharing cutting-edge research and science-based solutions, while preserving and passing on traditional farming knowledge and heritage
  • Be a venue where people, businesses, and organizations from across the sustainable agriculture movement make meaningful connections
  • Embrace an inclusive definition of sustainability, which accepts a diversity of methods and philosophies of production

Conference dates and planning for ongoing COVID-19 impact

We are hopeful that we’ll be able to safely gather in person for our 2022 Conference. We also realize a level of uncertainty remains as we plan our next event. Our current plan is:

  • Virtual pre-conference: We will offer virtual sessions in January and early February. We are also considering hosting some limited capacity in-person sessions in various locations across Pennsylvania during this time.
  • In-person main conference: If it is safe to gather, we will host the main conference and trade show in-person in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the Lancaster County Convention Center on February 10–12, 2022.

Though we are reasonably confident we will be able to gather in person, it’s possible we will need to make significant adjustments to our agenda and set up to adhere to safety precautions. For example, virus mitigation efforts may limit the number of sessions we can host as well as the number of people we can host. 

We are also planning for the possibility that we may need to transition to hosting all sessions virtually.


Timeline

Deadline for submitting proposals: June 14, 2021

Final notification of proposal status: September 30, 2021

Note: We evaluate proposals throughout the open RFP window, and may be in touch with feedback prior to the final notification of proposal status.


Proposal selection process

We work with a volunteer committee to assemble conference programming that reflects and meets the needs of our diverse audiences. We evaluate proposals using the following criteria:

  • Consistency with our organizational mission to cultivate environmentally sound, economically viable, community focused farms and food systems
  • Alignment with our conference goals (outlined above)
  • Expertise and experience of presenter(s)
  • Relevance of topic to our audience

You’re welcome to contact us for feedback on your ideas prior to submission. Please contact Conference Manager Kristin Hoy at kristin@pasafarming.org or 814-349-9856 x705.


Length of sessions

To prepare for the possibility of needing to host some or all conference sessions virtually, all proposed sessions must be 60–90 minutes, including time for discussion or Q&A. You are welcome to propose multiple related sessions to form a series, but they should be designed to accommodate participants who will only attend one or some of the sessions in the series, as well as participants who will attend all of the sessions in the series.

Note: Trade Show programming will be arranged separately from this proposal process. If you are interested in presenting a short (up to 20 minute) session on our Trade Show stage about a product or project, please contact Conference Manager Kristin Hoy at kristin@pasafarming.org.


Session development & production

If your session(s) is accepted, we’ll work with you to refine the content to align with our conference goals and audience expectations (if needed). We’ll also help you prepare for presenting at the conference. Expect to be able to attend 2–3 meetings with Pasa staff. 

Some virtual sessions will need to include pre-recorded content, which will be done with support from Pasa. We encourage using our virtual tools for sharing resources like links and handouts with attendees to enrich your session.


Conference audience

Approximately 50% of conference attendees are current farmers—over half of whom have farmed for eight or more years. Another 15% of attendees plan to start farming in the next three years. More than 80% of attendees grow agricultural products in some way. Considering this, we strive to focus much of the conference programming on farm production, business, and marketing topics; however, we also seek to cover a broad range of issues relevant to the sustainable agriculture movement.

We are seeking a variety of session proposals that meet the needs and interests of the following groups:

  • Experienced farmers
  • Intermediate farmers
  • Aspiring & beginning farmers
  • Agriculture & food system professionals
  • Agriculture & food system educators
  • Sustainable food system advocates
  • Youth (high school & beyond)
  • Homesteaders & gardeners

We will organize our programming under the following themes:

  • Animal husbandry (dairy, meat, fiber, and more)
  • Annual horticultural crops (vegetables, flowers, and more)
  • Business, finances, and entrepreneurship
  • Essential farming skills
  • Markets and marketing
  • Perennial horticultural crops (fruits, nuts, and more)
  • Policy, food systems, and community
  • Row crops (grains, legumes, and more)
  • Soil and ecosystem health
  • Value-added and beyond

Compensation

As a nonprofit education organization, we try to stretch our budget as far as possible to maximize the impact of our program. We also understand that some speakers may need additional support to participate in our conference. When you fill out the proposal form, you will have the opportunity to share your compensation needs. Here are some guidelines regarding compensation requests:

  • We are happy to offer complimentary registration to our speakers for as much of the conference as you would like to attend. For in-person speakers, lunch and free parking is provided the day you speak.
  • For speakers who travel more than 50 miles one way, we will consider requests to cover travel costs. We can also cover the cost one night of lodging per day of speaking. Speakers will be provided instructions for booking their own lodging within our conference block at the Lancaster Marriott, and how to send reservation details to Pasa for cost coverage. Please note that we cannot provide this support for speakers who will attend with a sponsoring company.
  • Limited funding is available to cover speaker requests beyond our standard compensation noted above. We are a nonprofit organization and we ask presenters to consider this when making requests. We are willing to consider non-traditional requests. Waived speaker costs can be included as part of in-kind support. Please be specific in your requests, and we will do our best to meet them.

Submission instructions

Click the button below to submit your proposal using our online form. To submit multiple proposals, you will need to complete the form once for each submission.

You will be able to save your progress. After submission, the primary contact you list will receive a copy of the responses.

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