In addition to the presentations below, the conference will have over 70 classes to choose from among 8 of the participating statewide organizations.   Whether you are a farmer or backyard gardener, there is sure to be something for everyone.

Friday 9:15-10:15

Hemp and Health with Dr. Sarah Daron-Mathis

With Hemp being on everyone’s lips there is still very little understanding of how this plant effects our bodies and how we can get the most benefits from it. Dr. Sarah is researching CBD in Colon Cancer but recognizes the importance of how Hemp can help multiple symptoms and is going to share how Hemp works in the body.

Native Bee Pollinators: They will never ask, but they need our help with David Cook

As bees of all kinds decline, that leaves behind a pollination vacuum, and less pollination means lower food quality, higher food prices and threatened plant communities. Thus, large bee populations are in everyone’s best interest, and anyone who grows or uses plant products is a stake holder in bee conservation. Now more ever, it is critical to consider practices that will benefit native bee pollinators by providing habitats free of pesticides, full of nectar and pollen resources and with ample potential nesting resources. This program will present information on native Tennessee bees, natural habitats for native bees and how homeowners and commercial producers can help in bee conservation.

Friday 10:30-11:30

 Lesser known fruit crops for Tennessee with David Lockwood

Pawpaws, pomegranates, elderberries – these are but just a few fruits less commonly seen, but having potential in Tennessee.  For some of these crops, fewer insect and disease issues may make them especially worth consideration by organic producers. Varieties, site selection, site development, and cultural practices will be addressed along with major insect and disease pests.

The Homestead Garden, Growing Plants with a Purpose with Cindy Shapton, aka The Cracked Pot Gardener of Fernvale Herb and Flower Farm

With more and more people wanting to grow organic food and medicine in their backyards, choosing the right plants is essential…who has time to weed around plants that don’t contribute to your family, critters or garden?  Lets dig in to talk about some real contenders for the garden or as I like to call them, plants with a purpose.  Most of us are familiar with a kitchen garden where one grows food to eat, herbs to spice up a meal, and even flowers to set the atmosphere at the dinner table.  A homestead garden goes a step further to help heal and nourish the gardener and his or her family along with the livestock, all while maintaining balance in the ongoing battle between good and evil bugs and keeping the pollinators well fed. Whether you have ¼ acre or hundreds of acres or a few containers on the patio, you can obtain a garden with plants that help you move toward a healthy and more sustainable lifestyle

Friday 2:15-3:15

Blueberry Production with Tony Foster

In this course, Tony Foster, owner of Blue Honey Farm in Eagleville, Tennessee, will talk about how he started his blueberry operation as well as  some of the pitfalls and lessons learned along the way.  You will learn helpful growing tips that he has acquired over the years, as well as basic blueberry knowledge.  He will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of organic blueberry production.

Grow Herbs and Flowers For fun, profit and the pollinators with Cindy Shapton, aka The Cracked Pot Gardener of Fernvale Herb and Flower Farm

Everyone can grow herbs and flowers to spice up a meal or brighten the table with a beautiful bouquet.   Some may want to help supplement their income by selling herbs and flowers or for some, keeping pollinators coming to the garden is important.  Join Cindy as she breaks down some of her favorite herbs and flowers and gives you tips on planting, growing and more.

Friday 3:30-4:30

Certified Organic and Certified Naturally Grown: Which is right for you? with Dilip Nandwani and Deborah Lockhart

This session will discuss two certification processes for anyone who is interested in learning about certified organic and certified naturally grown (CNG). Participants will learn professional, efficient and objectives of organic certification and process to assist farmers, ranchers, handlers and other vendors. Basics of organic certification process, transition to organic, USDA National Organic Program (NOP) rules and regulations, organic standards, national list (OMRI), input requirements, benefits and cost of certification and many more topics will be covered. Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) is a participatory guaranteed system (PGS). PGS have existed for decades, but in recent years they have gained recognition for the valuable role they play in the organic movement by including small-scale farmers in organic guarantee systems. This class will discuss lessons on the basics of meeting CNG production standards for produce operations from a CNG producer.

Organic Pest Control with David Cook

This presentation will present organic methods for monitoring and managing insect pests in greenhouses, high tunnels, orchards and farms.  Topics will include providing habitat for beneficial organisms, maintaining a healthy living soil, best nectar and pollen plants for beneficials and native bee pollinators, and organic insecticides and other tools.

Saturday 8:00-10:15

NRCS- Organic Champions-What They Have to Offer Organic Growers 

Organic agriculture is the fastest growing segment of agriculture with more than $43 billion in sales at the retail level, up this year 11 percent from last year. Consumer demand for organic products is growing much faster than domestic organic production. While 5 percent of food sales are now organic, only 1 percent of acreage is certified organic. This percentage provides a major economic opportunity for agriculture and rural America, and USDA is well-positioned to meet the needs of organic producers.

This multiagency session discusses organic agriculture programs and assistance offered from various state, federal and public organizations in Tennessee for organic farming community as well as technical resource on organic agriculture. Representatives and experts from USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, Rural Development, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, Tennessee State University present and discuss support available from their agencies, new network of “Organic Champions” of NRCS and FSA (“go-to” resource) within State of Tennessee. Panel will fill a need for more expertise in organic agriculture, which is fastest-growing segment of agriculture in the country and globally.

Saturday 10:30-11:30

Native Bee Pollinators: They will never ask, but they need our help with David Cook

As bees of all kinds decline, that leaves behind a pollination vacuum, and less pollination means lower food quality, higher food prices and threatened plant communities. Thus, large bee populations are in everyone’s best interest, and anyone who grows or uses plant products is a stake holder in bee conservation. Now more ever, it is critical to consider practices that will benefit native bee pollinators by providing habitats free of pesticides, full of nectar and pollen resources and with ample potential nesting resources. This program will present information on native Tennessee bees, natural habitats for native bees and how homeowners and commercial producers can help in bee conservation.

Climate Smart Agriculture for Tennessee Farmers with Dr. Joanne Logan

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, “Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach to guide actions needed to reorient agricultural systems to effectively ensure food security in a changing climate by taking on three main objectives: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions, where possible”.  Joanne likes to include a fourth pillar of CSA – educating farmers to increase their knowledge about the impacts of different aspects of weather and climate, such as extreme weather, on production. During this presentation, she will provide multiple examples of how CSA principles can be applied to small farms, especially organic enterprises.

Thursday Farm Tours

Tennessee Organic Growers Association Tour: Stoney Creek Farm, Rocky Glade Farm, Delvin Farms and Arrington Vineyard

Lunch included, we will leave the hotel at 9:30 am and carpool to each farm.  Cost is 75.00, includes organic lunch and wine glass from the vineyard.

Stoney Creek Farm: Join Olin and Leigh Funderburk on their 15 acre “Teaching Farm” for a one hour tour.   Let them show you how they turned a few acres into 7 unique, profitable income streams and give you additional ideas for more revenue in your operation!

Rocky Glade Farm: WELCOME to Rocky Glade Farm we’ve been growing Really Great Food since 1998… Rocky Glade Farm is a busy place, operating on 50 acres in Eagleville, Tennessee (Southern Middle Tennessee) our family grows many naturally raised vegetables such as garlic, strawberries and fresh greens in the spring and a diverse array of vegetables in our hoop-houses during the winter.  We hope you will enjoy seeing our three 35×144 passive solar greenhouses in full winter production of various lettuces, mustards, kales and other cold hardy greens.  Tennessee winter weather can be unpredictable.  Hopefully, we can visit our late season caterpillar tunnels as they are wrapping up their winter production and catch the last of our field crops in action.  Our sons, Dylem and Caleb operate a 365 day a year fully pastured—rotationally grazed laying hen system.  They invite you to come along to gather eggs and ask any questions you might have.  We hope you will join us for a look at winter vegetable production in Middle Tn.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have about winter production and marketing.

Delvin Farms: Working Lunch at Delvin Farms. “The ABC’s of Growing Hemp” Hank Delvin of Delvin Farms, will be discussing genetic selection, weed control, as well as managing flower growth and harvesting. Join us for a very informative workshop on the latest crop to sweep the state.  We’ll have our organic lunch before going across the street to the Vineyard.

Arrington Vineyard: Arrington Vineyards opened its doors July 1, 2007. Since then, we have been providing a “wine country experience” of award winning wines set among the picturesque rolling hills of middle Tennessee.  Owned by country music artist Kix Brooks, winemaker Kip Summers, and Nashville businessman John Russell, Arrington Vineyards has truly become “Nashville’s Wine Country”.

 Event Details: This memorable private tasting option takes place in our charming Vineyard House. You and your guests will enjoy your wine tasting of four of our bestselling wines within a relaxing table service setting. In addition, each table is served with a small complimentary cheese plate to have something to nibble on during the experience. Each guest will be able to keep the AV Logo wine glass as a memento of your vineyard experience!