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Author: Melissa Cipollone

Thanks to all who attended and supported our 28th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference, making it one for the record books. Nearly 1,900 farmers, food system professionals, and sustainable agriculture supporters gathered to learn, share, and connect at our new venue in Lancaster, PA.

While many of you have attended our annual conferences for more than a decade, a whopping 38 percent of you attended for the first time—welcome! And we were excited to learn that 55 percent of our farmer attendees were between the ages of 25 and 44. This year’s especially strong showing of young and beginning farmers is a hopeful sign for keeping arable land in the care of ecologically minded stewards, and for the continued growth of a community-focused food system.

During this year’s conference keynote addresses presented by Michael Hoffman from the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, Leah Lizarondo from 412 Food Rescue, and Michael Rozyne from Red Tomato, we explored how we can adapt to climate change while working to mitigate it, confronted the staggering amount of food waste produced in the U.S., and considered how we can open ourselves to pursuing common goals with people who hold values and beliefs different than our own.

As we divided into more than 160 workshops over the course of four days, we learned strategies for honing our craft and advancing our causes—from learning how to manage pastured poultry during floods and droughts, to connecting farmers to institutional markets.

And as we chatted in the hallways, in the trade show, and over meals and receptions, we commiserated over our shared challenges as we made new connections and sparked ideas for future opportunities.

As always, we closely consider all of the feedback you provide about your experience. You’ve shared many stories that have warmed our hearts, and offered us grace when you told us what we could do better next time. For those of you who have attended our conference for many years, we appreciate you acclimating to our new venue with us—and were glad to find you overwhelmingly approved of it.

Until next time!

Save the date!

Our 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference is February 5–8 at the Lancaster County Convention Center.

We’ll be sharing our request for speaker proposals and our 2020 sponsorship, exhibitor, and advertising packages soon. We’ll also be opening on-site, reduced-rate lodging in our conference block during the next few months. Subscribe to our email list to stay in the loop.

Many of our conference workshops were recorded.

If you’re interested in purchasing MP3 audio recordings, learn more here.

Special thanks to…

…our 200+ presenters, panelists, and facilitators for sharing your knowledge, experience, and wisdom with all of us.

…our 85+ volunteers and workshare participants—it truly takes a village to host our conference, and we couldn’t do it without you.

…those of you who donated to the Arias M. Brownback Memorial Fund, the Heinz Endowments, Blue Yak Foundation, Farm Aid, and PA Farm Markets with funding from USDA Risk Management Agency for enabling us to provide scholarships and offer workshare opportunities to 195 attendees.

…our 100+ sponsors, exhibitors, advertisers, grantmakers, and foundation funders for your generous support. You help us keep registration costs down, and the quality of our programming high. Find a list of our 2019 sponsors here.

Wild for Salmon for donating a percentage of their sales at the conference for a second year to support our education and research programs and raising more than $500!

…our volunteer Conference Planning Advisory Committee members who helped develop and hone our program lineup.

…all of the farmers and producers who donated and supplied food for our meals: Amazing Acres Goat Dairy, Black Valley Farm, Columbia County Bread & Granola, Clover Creek Cheese Cellar, Culton Organics, Emerald Valley Artisans, Forks Farm, Koch’s Turkey Farms, Lady Moon Farms, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, Lemon Street Market, Milky Way Farms, Natural by Nature, Organic Valley, Pasture Maid Creamery, Perrydell Farm & Dairy, Phillips Mushroom Farms, Profeta Farms, Riverview Dairy, Sterman Masser Potato Farms, Three Rivers Grown, Three Springs Fruit Farm, Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, Village Acres Farm & FoodShed, and Whole Foods Market.