Joel Salatin

Joel-4-200x300Get inspired one most famous farmers in the world, the high priest of the pasture, and the most eclectic thinker from Virginia since Thomas Jefferson.  Joel Salatin will teach you how to make a living raising animals, how to build relationships to have a successful farm business, and how to use “nature mimicry” to increase your yields and profits. With ten published books and a thriving multi-generational family farm, Joel Salatin draws on a lifetime of food, farming and fantasy to inspire farmers, ranchers and home gardeners around the world.

Joel co-owns, with his family, Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia.  Featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma and award-winning documentary Food Inc., the farm services more than 6,000 customers, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets, and a farmers’ market with salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, and forestry products.  If you are interested in how to create or expand a thriving farm enterprise, join us to at the 2018 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference to hear Joel share details from his latest book, Your Successful Farm Business: Success, Profit and Pleasure.

As a germination tray for new farmers ready to take over the 50 percent of America’s agricultural equity that will become available over the next two decades, Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley stands as a beacon of hope in a food and farming system floundering in dysfunction: toxicity, pathogenicity, nutrient deficiency, bankruptcy, geezers, and erosion. Speaking into that fear and confusion, Salatin offers a pathway to success, with production, profit, and pleasure thrown in for good measure.

Salatin writes The Pastoralist column for Stockman Grass Farmer, the granddaddy catalyst for the grass farming movement, and the Pitchfork Pulpit column for Mother Earth News, as well as numerous guest articles for ACRES USA and other publications.  His books include Folks this Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World and You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise,  Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front, as well as seven other publications for farmers, ranchers, and consumers who value quality, local food grown in ways that enhance human and environmental health.

A frequent guest on radio programs and podcasts targeting farmers, homesteaders, and foodies, Salatin’s practical, can-do solutions tied to passionate soliloquies for sustainability offer everyone food for thought and plans for action. Mixing mischievous humor with hard-hitting information, Salatin both entertains and moves people.  Read more about Joel in Time Magazine and at Polyface Farm.


Paul Stamets

Paul StametsMushroom scientist Paul Stamets believes that mushrooms can save our lives, restore our ecosystems and transform our world  – and he has done the science to prove it. Stamets has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them, mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas, mushrooms that can treat cancer,  and mushrooms that can break down oil and radiation.

Stamets is a leading researcher into mushrooms as a keystone species for soil and plant health, bio-remediation and habitat restoration.  For many of the crises we are facing in commercial agriculture –  E.coli outbreaks, pollution of our oceans and streams with pesticides and fertilizers, and  peak phosphorus – Paul will tell us how to stave them off with mushrooms.

Stamets is the author of 5 books including the classic Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Once you’ve heard ‘renaissance mycologist’ Paul Stamets talk about mushrooms, you’ll never look at the world – not to mention your farm, neighborhood or backyard – in the same way again.

Paul is presenting at the 2016 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference on January 9th. Read more about Paul at Fungi Perfecti.

Jean-Martin Fortier

Jean-Martin FortierSix figure farming on 1 ½ acres without a tractor? Learn how to maximize profits on small farming plots from one of North America’s most recognized and influential organic growers, Jean-Martin Fortier. Farmers who follow in his footsteps are making farming profitable and fulfilling on even one acre!

Jean-Martin blends experience and know-how on optimizing intensive cropping systems by focusing on vibrant soil as the engine that runs the farming operation.  His book The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Growing illustrates how to successfully earn a living from selling vegetables through CSA shares (Community Supported Agriculture) and local Farmers Markets.

Jean-Martin is passionate about demonstrating how small farms play a most important role in the rebuilding of our food system by growing better-not bigger, by optimizing small organic cropping systems, making them lucrative and resilient. He and his wife Maude-Hélène Desroches live on their organic 10 acre micro-farm Les Jardins de la Grelinette in the very small town of St-Armand, Québec.

Regularly featured in mainstream newspapers, radio shows and television, Fortier believes in replacing mass production with production by the masses. During a recent speaking tour, he was dubbed a “Rockstar Farmer.”

Jean-Martin presented at the 2016 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference in January 2016.  Listen to a radio interview with Jean-Martin on the KVMR evening news with Elisa Parker, and read more about Jean-Martin here.

Gabe Brown

Gabe BrownOn the verge of going broke after 4 years of commercial crop failure, Gabe Brown and family could no longer afford chemical inputs on their 5,400-acre ranch near Bismarck, North Dakota. They began searching for a non-chemical farming model and soon began implementing non-conventional approaches using patterns from nature, which began to rapidly improve their soil, resulting in high yields and strong net profits.

For over 20 years, they have said NO to unsustainable farming and ranching practices. Gabe will teach us how to farm and ranch profitably and sustainably, even in drought years.

A very popular speaker, Brown will show us how his family holistically integrates mob grazing of grass-fed beef, sheep and poultry with a no-till cropping system, including a wide variety of cash crops along with over 25 multi-species cover crops. This diversity and integration has regenerated the natural resources on the ranch without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Over 2,000 people visit the Brown’s ranch annually to see this award winning sustainable operation for themselves, and adopt the Brown family’s practices on their own farms and ranches.

Gabe presented at the 2016 Sustainable Food & Farm Conference.  Read more about Brown’s Ranch here.

Elaine Ingham

Inham soilfoodwebElaine Ingham is a recognized leader in soil microbiology, founder Soil FoodWeb Inc., key author of the USDA’s Soil Biology Primer and author of The Compost Tea Brewing Manual. Her focus is soil microbial science in agriculture applications.

Dr. Elaine Ingham is a world-renowned soil microbiologist who continues to study the microbial life of the soil, which in large part explains why organic “works.” Elaine founded Soil Foodweb, Inc. in 1996, helping farmers all over the world to grow more resilient crops by understanding and improving their soil life. She is also an affiliate professor at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa and has served in academia for three decades.

Elaine started her academic career at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN graduating in 1974 with a double major, cum laude, in Biology and Chemistry. Elaine earned her Master of Science in Microbiology in 1977 at Texas A & M University and her doctorate degree in soil microbiology from Colorado State University in 1981, after which she worked as a Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab at Colorado State University. In 1985, Elaine accepted a Research Associate Fellowship at the University of Georgia. In 1986, Elaine joined the faculty at Oregon State University, with a split appointment in Forest Science and Botany and Plant Pathology, until 2001, when her work with Soil Foodweb, Inc. required her to focus on the world-wide network developing around her work.  Read more about Elaine here.

Eliot Coleman

Coleman bioEliot Coleman is the author of “The New Organic Grower”, “Four Season Harvest” and “The Winter Harvest Handbook”.  He has written extensively on the subject of organic agriculture since 1975, including chapters in scientific books and the foreword to “Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques and Recipes” by the gardeners and farmers of Terre Vivant.
Eliot has more than 40 years’ experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field vegetables, greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. During his careers as a commercial market gardener, the director of agricultural research projects, and as a teacher and lecturer on organic gardening, he studied, practiced and perfected his craft. He served for two years as the Executive Director of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and was an advisor to the US Department of Agriculture during their landmark 1979-80 study, “Report and Recommendations on Organic Farming.”

He has conducted study tours of organic farms, market gardens, orchards and vineyards in Europe and has successfully combined European ideas with his own to develop and popularize a complete system of tools and equipment for organic vegetable growers. He shares that expertise through his lectures and writings, and has served as a tool consultant to a number of companies. He presently consults and designs tools for Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

With Barbara, he was the host of the TV series, Gardening Naturally, on The Learning Channel. He and Barbara presently operate a commercial year-round market garden, in addition to horticultural research projects, at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine.

Wes Jackson

Wes Jackson in fieldWes Jackson is the founder & president of The Land Institute, and member of World Future Council.  His focus is on perennial polyculture and alternatives in appropriate technology.

Dr. Jackson earned a B.A. in Biology at Kansas Wesleyan, a M.A. in botany at University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in genetics at North Carolina State University. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the Environmental Studies department at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor.
Dr. Jackson’s writings include his most recent work, Nature as Measure (2011) and Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture (2010). His book New Roots for Agriculture(1980) which outlines the basis for the research at The Land Institute which Dr. Jackson founded in 1976.
In addition to lecturing nationwide and abroad, Dr. Jackson is involved outside The Land Institute with a variety of projects including being a Post Carbon Institute Fellow, a Councillor with the World Future Council and a member of the Green Lands Blue Waters Steering Committee.

Jim Hightower

hightower bioNational radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, “Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow”, Jim Hightower has spent four decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top.

Hightower is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, spreading the message of progressive populism all across the American grassroots. He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International. Each month, he publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown,” which now has more than 135,000 subscribers and is the fastest growing political publication in America. The hard-hitting Lowdown has received both the Alternative Press Award and the Independent Press Association Award for best national newsletter.

A popular public speaker who is fiery and funny, he is a populist road warrior who delivers more than 100 speeches a year to all kinds of groups. He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate. Hightower frequently appears on television and radio programs, bringing a hard-hitting populist viewpoint that rarely gets into the mass media. In addition, he works closely with the alternative media, and in all of his work he keeps his ever-ready Texas humor up front, practicing the credo of an old Yugoslavian proverb: “You can fight the gods and still have fun.”

Hightower was raised in Denison, Texas, in a family of small business people, tenant farmers, and working folks. A graduate of the University of North Texas, he worked in Washington as legislative aide to Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas; he then co-founded the Agribusiness Accountability Project, a public interest project that focused on corporate power in the food economy; and he was national coordinator of the 1976 “Fred Harris for President” campaign. Hightower then returned to his home state, where he became editor of the feisty biweekly, The Texas Observer. He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before running for statewide office and being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).

During the 90’s, Hightower became known as “America’s most popular populist,” developing his radio commentaries, hosting two radio talk shows, writing books, launching his newsletter, giving fiery speeches coast to coast, and otherwise speaking out for the American majority that’s being locked out economically and politically by the elites. As political columnist Molly Ivins said, “If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell, with a sense of humor.”

Mark Shepard

mark bioMark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural forest considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.
New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as the ecological models.

Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered and farm equipment is powered with locally produced biofuels that are not taken from the human food chain.

Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement.

Mark is founder and board President for Restoration Agriculture Institute and serves on the board of the Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council. He teaches agroforestry and Permaculture worldwide. Mark is a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the worlds largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, and is the founder and chief Cydermaker for the Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery in Viola, Wisconsin.

Mark has been invited to speak at some of the world’s most innovative farming organizations, including: Acres USA Conference, Midwest Organic Farmers Conference, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference, Association for Temperate Agroforestry, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association National Conference, and Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Will Allen

Will Allen is CEO and founder of Growing Power in Milwaukee, WI
Time Magazine: 100 Most Important People in The United States, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., Will is recognized as the preeminent practitioner of urban agriculture in America and throughout the world. Will grew up on a small farm in Maryland, the second-youngest of six children of a sharecropper. Despite a strict rule of his father’s – no sports until all farm chores were done – he became a standout basketball player in high school and the first African-American scholarship athlete at the University of Miami. He eventually became the men’s basketball team captain, and still holds a number of Miami Hurricanes records. Will graduated with a degree in education.
Continue reading “Will Allen”

Nicolette Hahn Niman

Nicolette Han Niman is an attorney and rancher at BN Ranch in Bolinas, CA, raising cattle, turkey and goats. She is the author of “Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms”.

Nicolette Hahn Niman is an attorney and livestock rancher. She and her husband, Bill Niman, are regularly featured in media about sustainable food production, including an August 2009 TIME magazine cover story. Much of her time is spent speaking and writing about the problems resulting from industrialized agriculture, including the book Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (HarperCollins, 2009, ), four essays she has written on the subject for the New York Times, and one for the Sunday Los Angeles Times. She is regular blogger for The Atlantic, and has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, Cowboys & Indians, and CHOW, among others. Previously, she was the Senior Attorney for the environmental organization Waterkeeper Alliance where she was in charge of the organization’s campaign to reform the concentrated livestock and poultry industry, and, before that, an attorney for National Wildlife Federation. Ms. Hahn Niman served two terms on the city council for the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan (pop. 80,000), during which time she served on sixteen community boards and commissions including the Environmental Concerns Committee. She received her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1993 and her B.A. in Biology and French from Kalamazoo College in 1989. She lives in Bolinas, California with her son, Miles, and her husband, Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch, a natural meat company supplied by a network of over 700 traditional farmers and ranchers. They now market the products of their ranch under the name BN Ranch.

Patrick Holden

Patrick Holden is a dairyman and farmer at Bwlchwernen Fawr (Farm & Dairy) in Wales, UK.

After a London upbringing Patrick Holden trained in Biodynamic farming at Emerson College in Sussex before moving to Wales in 1973 to establish his mixed organic dairy farm near Lampeter. The 250 acre farm with which he is still actively involved, it is now the longest established organic dairy holding in Wales, producing a raw milk cheddar style cheese from the milk of 70 Ayrshire dairy cows.

He was founder and first chairman of British Organic Farmers, a producer group which along with the Organic Grower’s Association developed the production base for the organic food movement before merging with the Soil Association in 1995. After serving as Director of the Soil Association between 1995 and 2010, he stepped down to establish a new organization, The Sustainable Food Trust, which is working to promote increased international cooperation between all those involved in sustainable food production.

Patrick is an advisor to The Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, Patron of the Bio-dynamic Agricultural Association, the Living Earth and the Soil Association’s Land Trusts and International Ambassador of the Soil Association.

He received a CBE for services to organic farming in 2005.

Amigo Bob Cantisano

Amigo BobAmigo Bob Cantisano is the President of Organic Ag Advisors and a pioneer of the modern organic farming movement.  He is the founder of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, the EcoFarm Conference, and the Felix Gillet Institute.  His focus is advancing organic agriculture and educating farmers and the public.

Amigo is president of Organic Ag Advisors. He is the owner of Heaven and Earth Farm on the San Juan Ridge. He has over 35 years of experience growing and advising more than 400 commercial scale organic farms in the Western U.S. and the tropics totaling more than 160,000 acres.
Amigo is the cofounder of the EcoFarm Conference, the Ecological Farming Association, founding member of California Certified Organic Farmers and founder of Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, We The People Natural Foods Cooperative, Aeolia Organics, and the Felix Gillet Institute. He is the author of numerous publications and a featured speaker at hundreds of events.

Owen Hablutzel

Owen in pastureOwen Hablutzel is a Holistic Management educator and sits on the Board of Directors for Permaculture Research Institute.  His focus in Holistic Management, Permaculture, and educating farmers on those practices.

Owen is a consultant, educator, and group-facilitator performing international work with a range of clientele to radically amplify practical whole systems design, thinking, and management for increasing land health, at multiple scales.

Having lived and worked in Africa, Australia, and much of the western United States, Owen brings a wide array of experiences and training to his work with broad-acre and regional systems. This work continues to integrate Keyline, Permaculture, and Holistic Management applications with a wider spectrum of practical, leading-edge solutions capable of slowing and reversing the current global social-ecological crisis. Whether with farms, ranches, classrooms, non-profits, NGOs, government agencies/ministries, or other land managing entities, the core work remains empowering people and communities to create robust land health, adaptive capacity, and resilience through stewardship.

Owen is a Certified Educator with Holistic Management International, holds a Masters in Eastern Philosophy (the original systems thinking & ‘science of the whole’) from St. John’s College in New Mexico, and serves passionately on the Board of Directors of the Permaculture Research Institute, USA.

Mark Baker

Mark Baker is a farmer and rancher at Patriot Baker’s Green Acres in Marion, MI.
Born in the heart of Revolution country, Massachusetts native Mark Baker began his farming career while still employed full time in the U.S. Air Force, raising hogs in a farrow to freezer operation, chickens, turkeys, and beef. He and his family have raised produce and animals to sustain themselves as well as to sell for over 15 years.

When he retired with 20 years military service and moved to Michigan in 2004, Baker’s Green Acres become a full time occupation. With a focus on raising animals on pasture, he has centered production on pastured poultry and on heritage Mangalitsa cross-bred pigs.

He is a vocal proponent of locally produced food and the use of sustainable production methods. He sees education of consumers and growers as the key to food sovereignty. Mark feels strongly about the revolutionary idea that consumers have the right to eat wholesome, farmer direct food. With that passion, Mark recently took on Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources to defend farmers’ rights to raise heritage breed hogs. Mark was the Keynote Speaker at the annual Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Annual Dinner and Fund Raiser recently held in November.