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Though there remains much uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, what we know without a doubt is this: Farmers are facing unprecedented challenges, and the need for exploring best practices, sharing lessons learned, and connecting with their peers will be greater than ever. That’s why we are committed to hosting our annual conference in 2021.
Depending on how the pandemic mitigation efforts progress over the next several months, there are two possible scenarios for our 2021 Conference:
Through the proposal process, you will be able to indicate if your session(s) can:
Our annual conference draws a diverse audience of farmers, food system professionals, educators, and gardeners for intensive learning on more than 100 sustainable food and farming topics.
Our overarching goals for the conference are to:
|DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING PROPOSALS||FINAL NOTIFICATION OF PROPOSAL STATUS|
|June 15, 2020||September 16, 2020|
Note: We evaluate full- and half-day session proposals on a rolling basis. Consider proposing longer sessions early as we aim to confirm them by early June.
The greatest strength of our educational program is its responsiveness to timely and highly relevant food system topics. Our staff and conference planning committee have identified topics that we want to explore more deeply at the 2021 Conference.
If you are submitting a proposal under one of these topics, please find a focused way to address it, such as tackling a specific question that relates to it, addressing the broader topic for a narrow audience, or using case studies, panels, and personal stories to relate an aspect of the topic to your experience.
|DIGGING DEEPER TOPICS|
We offer several lengths of sessions. Full-day sessions, which are seven hours, will be scheduled on Wednesday (February 3) only. The rest of the sessions will be scheduled on Thursday–Saturday (February 4–6).
|IF OUR CONFERENCE GOES VIRTUAL:The dates of our conference would shift to be spread out over more time. We would likely adapt full- and half-day sessions into a series of multiple sessions over several days. We would do a combination of pre-recorded and live sessions.
Full day (7 hours): Full-day sessions should focus on a specific topic, and use the time to explore it in depth with the attendees. The agenda can include one or multiple presenters; however, we prefer to have no more than four presenters. The proposal will require a draft agenda.
Half day (3 ½ hours): Half-day sessions should take an in-depth look at a specific topic. They can include one or multiple presenters; however, we prefer to have no more than three presenters. The proposal will require a draft agenda.
Standard (90 minutes): The majority of our sessions will be 90 minutes, which allows time either to provide an overview of a broad topic, or to focus on a very narrow subject. These are a good format for lectures, panel discussions, and facilitated group work. They also work well for a short presentation combined with other formats. They typically include one to two presenters. For panels, we prefer to limit it to three presenters (in some cases, a pair of speakers can count as one presenter), plus a facilitator. We also enjoy hosting more informal sessions through clinics (group case studies and consultations led by one or several experts) and learning circles (lightly moderated group discussions organized around a theme).
Note: Trade show stage programming will be arranged separately from this proposal process. If you are interested in presenting in the trade show for up to 20 minutes about a product or project, please contact Kristin Hoy directly at email@example.com.
Approximately 50 percent of conference attendees are current farmers—over half of whom have farmed for eight or more years—and over 80 percent 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 programming that meets the needs and interests of the following groups:||We will organize our programming under the following themes:|
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. You will have the opportunity on the proposal to share your needs. Below are some guidelines regarding compensation.
All speakers: For an in-person event, we offer complimentary registration to our speakers for as much of the conference as they would like to attend. We have not yet determined what complimentary registration we would offer for a virtual event.
[In-person event] All speakers are offered lunch and free parking on the day(s) they speak. For speakers who travel more than 50 miles one way, we will consider requests to cover travel costs. We can also provide one night of lodging per day of speaking. All speakers are responsible for booking their own lodging, within the PASA block at the Lancaster Marriott, and using the appropriate method of alerting PASA of reservation details. Please note that we cannot provide this support for speakers who will attend with a company that is sponsoring or exhibiting.
Limited funding is available to cover speaker requests beyond our standard compensation. 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 credited towards sponsorship, trade show, or advertising costs, but these arrangements must be negotiated when your business pledges the sponsorship/trade show/advertising support.
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:
Thank you for your interest in our conference! You’re welcome to contact us for feedback on your ideas prior to submission. Please contact Kristin Hoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-349-9856 x 705.
Click the button below to submit your proposal(s) using our online form. You will be able to save your progress in the form. Upon submission, the primary contact will receive a copy of the response. To submit multiple proposals, you will need to complete the form once for each proposal.
Our conference speakers are a diverse group of farmers, food system professionals, researchers, educators, artists, authors, chefs, food entrepreneurs, farmers market managers, and more! What they share is their passion for building a more sustainable and more equitable food system.