Visting from out of town?

Hotel package special:

The Gold Miners Inn (web site click here) just a few blocks from the event is offering a flat rate of $129.95 for Friday and Saturday night. Call 530-477-1700 press 1 to reach the front desk and ask for "the flat rate deal for the Sustainable Food Conference". Room rate includes Wifi, Hot Breakfast Buffet and 2 free drinks at the evening happy hour.



Schedule for The Event:

Saturday Schedule:

January 18, 2014 at Grass Valley Charter School & Grass Valley Veterans Hall

7:30am –BREAKFAST (GV Charter)

Doors Open at Grass Valley Charter School (225 S Auburn St, Grass Valley, CA 95945)
Breakfast food and coffee will be available for purchase prior to the workshop.


In this workshop, world-renowned soil biologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham explores the soil food web, compost, and compost tea technology.  In the Soil Food Webs section of the workshop, Dr. Ingham will present on the biology and chemistry of the soil, soil food web principles and myths, the anatomy of roots and compaction, soil management for disease suppression, nutrient retention and C:N ratios, and more.  Participants gain a full picture of the soil food web including nutrient cycling and the nitrogen cycle.  In the Compost and Compost Tea section of the workshop, participants will learn how to generate the right organisms and the right food for any plant in question. Dr. Ingham will cover the principles and parameters of creating situation-appropriate compost and compost tea.

10:30am –EXPOSITION AND LUNCH (Vet's Hall)

Doors open to public for Expo & Lectures at the Grass Valley Veterans Hall (255 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945). Explore demonstrations and displays of food and farming businesses and non-profits. Enjoy time for socializing and networking over a local meal provided for purchase by SummerThymes Bakery and Deli and BriarPatch Community Market. Snacks and beverages also available for purchase throughout the day.

1:00 - 5:45pm – KEYNOTE LECTURES (Vet's Hall)

Keynote Lectures presented by Wes Jackson, Elaine Ingham, Amigo Bob Cantisano, and Owen Hablutzel (see speaker bios here). Expostion and lunch breaks throughout the day.

5:45 - 6:00 – CLOSING

Sunday Schedule:

January 19, 2014 at Grass Valley Charter School & Tess' Kitchen Store in Grass Valley


Doors open. Breakfast and coffee available for purchase .


There will be 6 sessions of 45min-1hour workshops. During each session there will be 5-6 workshops to choose from. Three of the 30 workshops will be presented at Tess' Kitchen Store in their demo Kitchen. View, download, and print a workshop schedule here.

12-1 LUNCH

Break with Snacks and Lunch available for purchase at Grass Valley Charter School.

Workshop Schedule


Session #1: 9:00 to 9:45 am

Profitable Organic Farming

Learn from two experienced organic family farmers as they share their insights and experiences of running profitable organic family farms.

Presenters: Denise Willey of TD Willey Farm, a 75-acre farm in Madera, the geographical center of the Great Central Valley of California & Rich Johansen, Johansen Ranch, Orland California. TD Willey Farm grows a wide array of Mediterranean vegetables on their 7 acre farm. Their organic farm produce is appreciated in specialty markets and fine restaurants up and down the West Coast as well as on the tables of over 800 weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription members in their own community. The Willeys employ over 50 people full-time, year-round on their farm.

Rich Johansen of Johansen Ranch, family owned & operated since 1910. In 1960, they planted 2,000 Owari Satsuma Mandarin trees, and initially had difficulty selling the unfamiliar fruit. After customers realized their children would eat not only one, but three to four of these easy-to-peel treats, the market took off.

Sustainable Agriculture Lessons from the David-Goliath Story

At The Land Institute, we believe that a solution for the 10,000 year old problem of agriculture — soil loss and degradation, ecosystem destruction, and high energy use — is not only necessary, but possible. We will discuss feasible strategies to advance the sustainable agriculture movement within a climate of industrial agriculture.

Presenter: Wes Jackson, President, The Land Institute, Salina, Kansas

Fodder Solutions for Livestock

Learn the Fodder Solutions system for creating sustainable fresh, healthy and reliable feed solutions for year round production.

Presenter: Curt Chittock, Fodder Solutions, Simply Country and Ridge Feed Stores

Natural Bee Keeping

Learn the art and science of natural beekeeping through the experiences of a beekeeper that started beekeeping naturally when he saw how chemicals affected the bees. He will also answer questions about starting and maintaining healthy bees at your farm or garden.

Presenter: Dan Wheat, owner A to Z Farm Supply since 1984

Beginning Cheese Making Workshop (at Tess' Kitchen Store)

Learn easy, fun, beginner cheese making techniques in this hands-on workshop. We'll add a variety of seasonings to newly made soft cheese and have a tasting!

Workshop Leader: Sarah Griffin-Boubacar, Peaceful Valley Retail Store Manager and Cheesemaker

Session #2: 10 to 10:45 am

Training Livestock Herd Dogs

Biodynamic/ permaculture farmer, and locally renowned story teller, Tom Wade, brings a wealth of experience to the topic of herd dogs—for livestock that is. Not only will this presentation be informative, but it is sure to be highly entertaining as well.

Presenter: Tom Wade, Bluebird Farm, Nevada City, CA

38 Ways to Improve Marketing

A taste is worth a thousand words. We will discuss the value of developing a logo for your product, providing samples, accompanying hand-outs and social media. Yes, there are 38 techniques for good marketing and a hand-out lists each and every one of them.

Presenter: Joanne Neft, Farmer's Market Advocate and Author of The Art of Real Food,

Matching Landowners and Farmers

What are the essential ingredients to a successful farm lease for both the landowner and the farmer? This panel composed of landowners, farmers, and a representative of CA FarmLink will discuss the knowledge needed to create a mutually satisfying and beneficial relationship.

Moderator: Rene Wade with Anna Reynolds Trabucco: Linden Lia Ranch, Leo Chapman: Sierra Harvest, Evan Wiig: Young Farmers Guild, Liya Schwartzman: FarmLink, Dale Jacobson: Jacobson Dude Ranch

Biodynamic Farming Demystified

Learn the methods, ideas and techniques behind the Biodynamic farming movement. You will also be introduced to an international farming community that existed before organic farming. Learn biodynamic concepts such as the farm organism, cosmic influences, compost, biodynamic preparations, the dynamic aspects of nature, and international Biodynamic certification through Demeter International.

Presenters: Marney Blair and Lisa Bjorn farm 20 acres in the Sierra Foothills. Fulcrum Farm has been producing local food for over 13 years using Biodynamic methods and is Demeter Certified. Aside from food crops, Fulcrum Farm also produces excellent compost for local farmers and gardeners, and offers compost education.

Healing with Traditional Farm Fresh Food:

Benefits of Lacto Fermented Foods, Bone Broth and Properly Prepared Grains: PART ONE

Come learn through slideshow and lecture how to properly prepare farm fresh foods in healthy traditional ways. In the second hour, 20 people (who pre-register) will go to Tess's for a-hands on cooking class.

Presenter: Shan Kendall, a local food, nutrition and fermentation expert from the Gold Country Chapter, Weston A. Price Foundation

Home Canning (at Tess' Kitchen Store)

Learn the basics of home canning: when to use water bath canning, pressure canning and how to handle high acid foods – what does it all mean and how to can safely. This is your opportunity to learn from a seasoned expert!

Presenter: April Reese, UC Davis Master Gardener & Master Food Preserver, A to Z Supply

Session #3: 11:00 to 11:45 am

Farming Behind the Scenes: Crop Planning

Yes, farmers have computer time too. How does a farmer figure out what to plant when and where, and how to sequence crops? What are the most efficient tools for recording learning's from the previous season and planning the upcoming one. Come learn 'behind the scenes' secrets to successful farming from two local Grass Valley farmers.

Presenter: Deena Miller and Robbie Martin, Sweet Roots Farm

Permaculture Water Harvesting for Farm and Garden

Learn to drought proof your land when it is raining and keep your land hydrated when it is not, best ways to store rainwater for farming and gardening, and other techniques to keep the soil moist in our Mediterranean climate.

Presenter: Cathe' Fish, Permaculture Consultant, Designer and International Instructor, Director Practical Permaculture Farm School in Rough and Ready, CA

Livestock Enterprises for the Sierra Foothills

Explore potential livestock enterprises for the Sierra Foothills including raising grass-fed beef or sheep; browsing with goats, raising swine on pasture, and targeted grazing. Emphasis on using a grass and brush base for your primary source of nutrition with details on specific resource requirements, grazing and browsing strategies, economic analysis, and marketing options.

Presenter: Roger Ingram, Farm Advisor and Director, UC Cooperative Extension for Nevada and Placer County. He has been a tireless advocate of grass grazing and marketing issues for the last 25 years and will pass on what has been learned during that time.

Building Community and Networking the Next Generation of Farmers

Rebuilding local food systems means rebuilding local relationships—between farmers and consumers, farmers and distributers, as well as amongst farmers themselves. In this interactive workshop, we'll learn how a new generation of agricultural entrepreneurs are working together to share resources, tools, skills and the information necessary to ensure a vibrant local food economy through practical collaboration.

Evan Wiig: The Farmer's Guild and National Young Farmer's Coalition, & Leo Chapman: Sierra Harvest Backyard Garden Coordinator and co-founder of Living Lands Agrarian Network now part of Sierra Harvest

Healing with Traditional Farm Fresh Food:

Benefits of Lacto Fermented Foods, Bone Broth and Properly Prepared Grains: PART TWO (at Tess' Kitchen Store)

Preregistration required. Hands on cooking class and bone broth stock demo including lunch of homemade bone broth soup, gluten free pizza muffins, sauerkraut and cremé fraiche.

Presenter: Shan Kendall, our local food, nutrition and fermentation expert from the Gold Country Chapter, Weston A. Price Foundation



Session #4: 1:00 to 1:45 pm

Financing Your Small Farm

California FarmLink connects independent farmers and ranchers to the land and financing they need for a sustainable future. Learn about flexibly structured financing for farmers who would otherwise have a difficult time securing financing due to a variety of barriers (such as limited track record as a farmer; limited ability to prepare financial statements, limited traditional collateral; limited or no credit history; small loan size; language barriers; and non-traditional marketing and business models.) You will learn information relevant to borrowing from any lender, as well as covering FarmLink's Loan Program in depth.

Presenters: Liya Schwartzman, Central Valley Regional Coordinator & Brett Malone, Loan Office, Farm Link

Amazing Similarities of Healthy Gut and Healthy Soil Microbes

Drawing on more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Dale Jacobson discusses how our health is dependent on both our gut and soil microbes.

Presenter: Dr. Dale Jacobson of Jacobson Chiropractic lives on a 20-acre organic farm Jacobson Dude Ranch and teaches his patients the importance of traditional nutrient dense organic foods and moving the body.

Keys to Delicious Cow's Milk

Got dairy cows? Learn the secrets to the most delicious and health giving milk through care of cows and pasture.

Presenters: Jerome Verhasselt & Dan Crebbin are delicious milk fanatics and dairymen.

The Importance of Bioregional Seed Systems

Seed is the foundational element to all agriculture.  Come learn the importance of re-integrating seed production back into the local farming loop.  You will be inspired to re-engage as local bioregional seed stewards.  A truly local and sustainable agriculture must remember to steward the seeds. There will be hands on seed saving for participants to engage with, as well as some seeds to take home to start their seed saving journey.  
Presenter: Rowen White is a passionate seed steward and the Director and Founder of Sierra Seed Cooperative.  She teaches seed stewardship across the country for Native Seed/SEARCH's groundbreaking education program, "Seed School."  

Mushroom Cultivation

Biodynamic mushroom farmers Cliff and Marleen will give an overview of the value of mushrooms in diet, in farming and in the world. They'll discuss how mushrooms are an integral part of their whole farm and demonstrate of how they grow them.

Presenters: Cliff and Marlene Bottenfield: Tumbling Creek Farm

Session #5: 2 to 2:45 pm

Small Farm Start-ups: Lessons from the First Years

Whether you're planning on starting your own farm or you're a seasoned veteran, the fresh perspective of these enthusiastic new farmers is sure to inspire. Learn from their successes and mistakes as they share their experiences in farming.

Presenters: Jeremy Mineau, Super Tuber Farm of Nevada City and Tim Van Wagner, First Rain Farm of Nevada City, CA.

Raising Home Scale Livestock Q&A

A question and answer session on how to raise ducks, chickens, goats, sheep, cows, rabbits, quail, pigs, etc. With a panel of seasoned animal farmers.

Presenters: Rob Bielen, Back to Basics Farm, Brad Fowler, Fowler Family Farm, and Eric Dickerson, K&E Homestead, and Kathryn MacRoberts, Laughing Duck Farm

Farm Fresh Education in Schools

Hear stories about Sierra Harvest's Farm to School program which is reaching over 5000 students in 16 schools throughout Nevada County with field trips to over a dozen local farms, guest chef visits, produce stands and monthly tastings of seasonal produce. Learn how our educational farm, the Food Love project, is changing lives by involving community in growing, harvesting, eating, and celebrating fresh food!

Start a food literacy program in your school that's fun, meaningful and provides measurable outcomes. Learn 3 core practices to teaching a food literacy class that successfully turns picky kids into healthier vegetable fanatics. Includes one sample food literacy lesson (hint: food & cooking will be involved!) and a 45 minute lesson plan.

Presenters: Amanda Thibodeau, Sierra Harvest Farm to School Coordinator & Amber Stott, California Food Literacy Center,, award winning fresh food advocate, educator and blogger.

The Wonders of Aquaponics

Considering aquaponics for home and/or business? Come to this basic introduction to aquaponics and hydroponics with an overview of projects including hobbyist, nursery, small farmer and commercial and applications of aquaponics that will for engaging all types. John will share his business model for commercial project with employment of up to 5-6 full time workers. He will demonstrate a simple lettuce raft system in a restaurant busing tray, and a small aquarium aquaponics growing system on a stand.

Presenter: John Toth, director Let's Be Growing, longtime advocate of local food production and consumption now focusing on hydroponics and permaculture with experience in Ohio, Colorado, Hawai'i and Reno, Nevada where he currently resides.

Brewing and Applying Compost Tea

Learn to make compost tea the Dr. Elaine Ingham way. Learn what food stock and equipment you need, how to brew, when and how to apply.

Presenter: Brian Malin, Vital Garden Supply in Grass Valley

Session #6: 3 to 3:45 pm

Labeling Products for Animal Welfare

Today's producers and consumers encounter many food labels and claims – many of which are designed to mislead. Learn what the most commonly used labels mean (and don't mean) and how to find a label you can trust. Farmers will learn how certification and effective labeling can help their products stand out in the marketplace, and consumers will learn how to evaluate label claims to make informed food choices.

Presenter: Andrew Gunther pioneered the world's first organic poultry hatchery for chickens and managed production for the largest independent organic chicken producer in UK before becoming senior global animal compassionate product procurement and development specialist for Whole Foods Market. In 2008, he became Program Director of Animal Welfare Approved, spearheading the program's unprecedented growth.

Holistic Planned Grazing

Explore the practice and dynamics of good grazing management, the basics of grazing planning and applications for rangelands, irrigated pasture and drought scenarios will be outlined. Please join us for a lively discussion of the power of this practice to generate improved financial, social and ecological returns.

Presenter: Owen Hablutzel is a Holistic Management consultant, educator, and group-facilitator working with a range of clientele in whole systems design, thinking, and management for increasing land health

Growing in Greenhouses

Learn about state of the art greenhouses, and 21stcentury greenhouse production.

Presenter: Eric Brandstad, Forever Flowering Greenhouses, Grass Valley, CA

Small Grain Production Demystified

This workshop will introduce the seeds, machinery, and practices for growing and cleaning grain on a small farm scale. We will also discuss the processing and marketing needs for economic viability.

Presenter: Reed Hamilton grew up on a farm in the Midwest and has been growing a variety of grains in the Grass Valley area for six years.

Growing Cut Flowers

Basic considerations when planning a cut flower garden, from timing and succession planting, to complimentary flower choices. We will touch on varieties, marketing and maintaining high quality, long-lived bouquets.

Presenters: Molly Nakahara and Paul Glowaski, Dinner Bell Farm, Grass Valley, CA