Southern Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference

AUGUST 7-9, 2022

San Marcos, Texas

General Info | ProgramSpeakers | Exhibitors | Sponsors
Event Hosts | Event Venue | Scholarships | Registration

Pre-conference workshops are described at the bottom of this page, along with our Sunday evening “speed dating” and networking events for farmers who want to connect with wholesale buyers.

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE FOR AUGUST 8-9 (Days and times remain subject to change.)


8:15-8:30 am


8:30-10 am

The Big Picture Track. From Soil Test to Grave: Farmland Access, Ownership, Easements, and Estate Planning. Join us for a wide-ranging discussion to help address the many challenges in land access. LD Thomas will discuss key legal issues in accessing land, including what needs to be addressed in purchasing land, as well as estate planning tools and techniques for protecting the family legacy. Fran Miller will discuss the model of community land trusts holding agricultural land (with entities such as the White River Land Collaborative, for example) as an approach to make agricultural land more accessible and viable. Krsiztian Varsa of the Working Farms Fund will discuss the role that conservation easements can play in accessing and keeping land – both the benefits and the things people should look for. L.D. Thomas, Francine Miller & Krisztian Varsa Grand Ballroom

Niche Topics Track. Herb & Flower Production. Herbs and flowers are high-value crops that can also bring a warm touch to your landscape, medicine cabinet, and kitchens. You’ll hear from two farmers in this session: one discussing herbs that perform well in Texas and how to process them for medicinal and culinary uses, and another who grows herbs and flowers as an addition to their produce and egg operation in the upper Gulf coast. Walk away with an understanding of what these specialty crops need to grow, from seed to sale and everything in between. Kay Bell & Brent Heironimus LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. Soil Health. Typical tillage and grazing management have caused most soils in use to degrade. Properly managed, soils can increase drought resilience, reduce fertilizer costs, increase yields, and improve pasture grasses. Cover cropping or planted forages can accelerate the recovery of typical soils to a condition that is far more regenerative. In this session, learn from TXST Associate Professor of Crops & Soil Science Dr. Ken Mix what you can do to improve your soil health. Ken Mix LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Success with Small Ruminants. Small ruminants deserve special mention. They are less immune to common parasites than other livestock and have different grazing behaviors. Learn how you can use holistic planned grazing to keep your sheep and goats healthy and resilient in times of drought and other challenges. Christine Martin LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Pricing to Ensure Profitability. The simplest way to ensure your product is profitable is to first understand costs going into it. In this session, learn what costs you need to consider, methods for tracking them, and ultimately how to set your prices. If you know your costs and price for a specific product, it may be helpful to bring them along and do a practice run. If you don’t, then this is the perfect session for you to dig deeper into your business and learn what might (or might not) be making you money. Jarred Maxwell & Felicia Bell LBJ 3-9.1

Consultation Room 1. How to Develop a Direct, Profitable Email Relationship With Customers. Ask ecommerce veteran Patrick Pitman of any question about collecting and using email to grow your business. What to do with old emails you may have, and how to reactivate the customers to whom they belong? How to get more emails from website visitors? How to set up automated systems that keep sending relevant emails when you’re working outside? How to come up with ideas for what to put in your emails? Don’t just rely on social media followers to stay in touch unless you’re paying Instagram, Facebook etc. for ads. Tap into the lasting, low-cost business asset that is your email list of supporters, prospects, and customers. LBJ 3-6.1

10:45-11:45 am

The Big Picture Track. Texas Legislative Session Outlook & Priorities. The work to pass good bills and kill bad ones starts long before the Texas Legislature convenes in January 2023! FARFA’s Executive Director, Judith McGeary, will discuss the outlook for next year’s session, both generally and for sustainable farmers and local foods specifically. She’ll share what FARFA is already working on – and invite input on what you want to see happen. Come prepared with your questions, ideas, and energy to make change in our state! Judith McGeary Grand Ballroom

Niche Topics Track. Rainwater Harvesting & On-Farm Use. Rainwater is a valuable resource and can be exceptionally useful around the farm. Learn the basics of capturing rainwater and techniques for using it for livestock, poultry, fruit, vegetables, and in-home use. The speaker, who uses rainwater as their sole water source, will discuss gravity drip irrigation, gravity pressure for livestock and poultry, under pump pressure for irrigation, and mist systems. Billy Kniffen LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. Fruit Trees for Texas. Peaches, pears, pomegranates, persimmons – can you grow them all? Learn from Texas fruit grower and production specialist Dr. Jim Kamas of AgriLife Extension the types of fruit trees best suited for the Texas climate, and considerations for choosing the right fruit trees for your land. Jim Kamas LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Profitable Pastured Pork During Inflation & Drought. Concerned about how to get started or continue with pigs in spite of increasing feed prices and drier weather? This session will open the floor to all your pig farming concerns and give practical solutions within your context. Topics to discuss will include breed/color selection, water management, feed options, marketing strategies, and more. Pork Rhyne LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Farmers’ Market Tips & Tricks. Learn how to make the most of your time at the Farmers’ Market. We’ll discuss how to create an engaging display to entice traffic to your booth and boost sales, choosing products, and setting prices. Bring your questions, problems, and solutions to discuss! Michelle Akindiya LBJ 3-9.1

Consultation Room 1. Land Access. L.D. Thomas, J.D. LBJ 3-6.1

Consultation Room 2. Greenhouses, flower production, and more, with Brent Heironimus. LBJ 3-7.1

1-2:30 pm

The Big Picture Track. Regenerative Renegades Screening & Panel Discussion. This 30-minute short film takes a deep dive into grassfed beef production. After screening the documentary, the panel and attendees will discuss soil, community vitality, food sovereignty, public health, the logistics of finishing, harvesting, processing, and how Thousand Hills and others have successfully partnered with key retailers. Justin Halstead, Wayne Knight, Robby Sansom Grand Ballroom

Niche Topics Track. Grants for Producers & Organizations. Have you considered writing a grant for your farm business or organization, but then felt overwhelmed by the application process? In this session, you’ll hear from several professionals who write, manage, review, and evaluate grant proposals in agriculture and beyond. The panel will provide an overview of a few programs you can consider as either an independent producer or a nonprofit organization, how and where to search for grants, and what works (and doesn’t work) well for grant projects. Ken Mix, Kat Neilson & Manuel Piña, Jr. LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. Packing & Grading Vegetables. For small farmers, quality is key to standing out and building your customer base, and growing the product is only step one in the journey from farm to plate. Packing, grading, and quality control are important skills for any farmer, particularly those wanting to sell to restaurants, grocery stores, or wholesale distributors. In this session, you’ll hear from a Texas vegetable farmer on best practices and steps to ensure you’re providing the best quality produce you can, and from a wholesale representative on what they look for when bringing on a new farm business. Lorig Hawkins & Minh Nguyen LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Managing Cattle through the Tough Times. Drought, flood, freezes, weeks of temperatures over 100 degrees – how can you raise and manage your cattle to develop resiliency through the most unpredictable Texas weather? Hear from a producer and grazing lands specialist what you can do to prepare for the tough times while prioritizing soil health and sustainability. Jose “Pepe” Martinez LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Increasing Farm Viability through Agritourism. Agritourism can be a great strategy to educate consumers and bring in extra revenue, but what does it take to do it well? Hear from Felicia Bell, NCAT Gulf States Regional Director, about practical considerations for your farm and how agritourism can impact your bottom line. You’ll also hear a success story from Meg Neubauer about her pick-your-own operation, which has increased their farm’s profit four-fold and substantially reduced their workload. Meg Neubauer & Felicia Bell. LBJ 3-9.1

Consultation Room 1. Livestock Marketing. Pork Rhyne. LBJ 3-6.1

Consultation Room 2. Michelle Akindiya. LBJ 3-7.1

3:15-4:45 pm

The Big Picture Track. Who Gets Water in Texas, Now and In the Future? Robert Mace, one of the top experts in groundwater in Texas, will discuss the current state of use and the future outlook for this vital resource. Milan Michalec, a Groundwater Conservation District Board member, will share how landowners and concerned citizens can impact the future in their communities. The conversation then shifts to surface waters, with Lauren Ice explaining how rural communities can help protect surface water flows and surface water quality in the face of rapid development. Robert Mace, Lauren Ice & Milan Michalec. Grand Ballroom

Niche Topics Track. Value-Added: Cottage Foods & Beyond. If you’re interested in creating value-added products from your farm or starting up a value-added business, this is the session for you. Hear the startup story and lessons learned from a farm-to-table chef who creates and manufactures innovative value-added foods. You’ll also learn from FARFA’s executive director what you need to know to navigate cottage food rules and regulations from FARFA. Judith McGeary & Jasmiune Matthews. LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. You Can’t Spell GAPS without Birds, Bees, and Biodiversity. Learn about recent research around ecosystem services’ link to food safety, with emphasis on how vegetative buffers around a growing area can protect the growing area from runoff, protect water supplies, and provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial bird species. As part of the presentation, presenters will conduct a tabletop demonstration showing how soil covered with vegetation reduces runoff and protects water supplies. Kristin Woods & Billy Mitchell LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Meat Processing – From Brick & Mortar to Mobile. The past few years have highlighted big issues for meat packing and processing. In this session, hear from producers who are advancing creative solutions to meat processing, increasing local and community control through both state-inspected micro facilities and mobile processing units. Learn how meat processing is tied to your success as a direct marketer of animal products and how you can continue to move the needle on this important issue. Justin Trammel & Robby Sansom Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Using Social Media to Market Your Farm. Social media is a powerful tool to market your farm business, but it’s not always clear which platforms to choose, what to post, and how to make the most of the business and analytical tools available to you. Learn from Ivy Walls, a farmer expertly using social media, including Facebook and Instagram, how you can Empower, Engage, and Entertain. You can grow your business, create meaningful content, personalize your story, and have fun while you’re doing it. Ivy Walls LBJ 3-9.1

Consultation Room 1. Land Access & Easements. Working Farms Fund. LBJ 3-6.1

Consultation Room 2. Jose “Pepe” Martinez. LBJ 3-7.1

5-6 pm

Social Hour in Exhibit Hall & FARFA Member Meeting (LBJ 3-3.1). (For current & prospective members.)

6-8 pm

Banquet Dinner & Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin Keynote. The Foundation and Future of Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is more than a selection of practices to build soil and protect ecosystems. Regenerative agriculture is a value system and a method for designing resilient and equitable agricultural systems. In his keynote, farmer, author, and movement builder Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin digs into our current food system, drawing on his indigenous roots, and exploring how we can develop scalable models for regenerative agriculture throughout the world. He challenges us to reflect on our place in nature so we can begin to create the future we want to see. Grand Ballroom


8:15-8:30 am

Announcements. 3rd floor, LBJ Student Center, Grand Ballroom

8:30-10 am

The Big Picture Track. Ahead of the Curve – Climate Resilience in Agriculture. The intersection of agriculture and climate resilience is vital for farmers and for our entire society. Producers, a wholesale buyer, and a DC lobbyist discuss how regenerative agriculture can help reduce climate change and help farmers to survive its impact, what is working and what is standing in the way, and how we can move it forward more effectively. Patty Lovera, Alan Lewis, Kimberly Ratcliff, Wayne Knight Grand Ballroom

Startup & Homesteading Track. Basics of Beekeeping. Description Coming. Tara Chapman LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. No-Till Market Gardening. Market gardeners utilize small pieces of land to grow a big assortment of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, or other products for market, generally with biointensive and regenerative principles at the helm. In this session, you’ll learn the basics of no-till market gardening including bed prep, planting and harvesting techniques, composting, and crop maintenance from farmers Sarah & Sylvain Claveires. Bring your questions and be amazed at what you can do on just one acre! Sarah & Sylvain Claveires LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Regenerative Poultry Production I. In this 2-part session, get an in-depth look at Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture design developed by Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin. The system utilizes a coop and paddock system under a perennial canopy. Learn why and how this system caters to the animals while improving environmental and soil quality. Reginaldo will summarize the keys to success, from day-old chicks through harvest, the fundamental practices to reduce mortality, increase animal welfare, animal health, and a consolidated list of key management strategies that make this system highly competitive. The double session includes an overview of finances and how to build systems starting with the production unit (the smallest system component), to the farm-level operation, to the regional system-level design to achieve critical scale needed to integrate and aggregate up to 14 enterprise sectors that make the system viable and regenerative. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Permitting & Regulatory Compliance for Farmers & Food Producers. Are you trying to figure out what permits you need and what you need to do to stay legal? Whether you are selling produce, eggs, meat, or value-added, the regulatory maze can give you a headache! Join FARFA’s Executive Director as she explains what you need to do – and how to push back when you hit barriers from government agencies. Judith McGeary LBJ 3-9.1

Technology Track. Low-Tech to High-Tech Hoops & Greenhouses. Low tunnels, hoophouses, and greenhouses can extend your production from nursery to harvest. In this session, hear from producers and a professional grower the different options you have available for your farm operation and considerations for how to make the most of this valuable space. From a simple low tunnel with shade cloth to a full-scale automated greenhouse, hoops are invaluable for keeping your plants happy in even the most unpredictable Texas weather. Zach Halfin, Ben Roberts & Meghan Roberts LBJ 3-13.1

Consultation Room 1. Pricing & Profit Analysis with Jarred Maxwell. LBJ 3-6.1

Consultation Room 2. Diana Padilla. LBJ 3-7.1

10:45 – 11:45 am

The Big Picture Track. Rebuilding Indigenous Food Systems. Lucille Contreras will discuss the rematriation of Texas indigenous lands through the Texas Tribal Buffalo Project. The Project seeks to promote health and vitality to the land and to the people by reconnecting with buffalo, physically, culturally, and more. Britni Beck of the Intertribal Agriculture Council will discuss the IAC’s work on behalf of individual Indian producers and Tribal enterprises to protect the land-based agricultural resources vital to Tribal welfare, and restore the harmonies of man, soil, water, air, vegetation and wildlife that collectively make up the American Indian agriculture community. Lucille Contreras & Britni Beck Grand Ballroom

Startup & Homesteading Track. Permaculture Gardening & Landscape Design. Permaculture is a landscape design system that works with nature and seeks to create closed loop systems. Learn from a permaculture designer how you can create a garden with permaculture strategies, including companion planting and plant guilds that work together for a productive edible landscape. Taelor Monroe LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. Regenerative Ag with Row Crops. What opportunities do you have to use row crops to scale-up your operation? In this session, learn from a certified organic hemp producer what it takes to grow profitable commodity crops on larger acreage while maintaining organic and/or regenerative practices. Kyle Bingham LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Regenerative Poultry Production II. In this 2-part session, get an in-depth look at Poultry-Centered Regenerative Agriculture design developed by Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin. The system utilizes a coop and paddock system under a perennial canopy. Learn why and how this system caters to the animals while improving environmental and soil quality. Reginaldo will summarize the keys to success, from day-old chicks through harvest, the fundamental practices to reduce mortality, increase animal welfare, animal health, and a consolidated list of key management strategies that make this system highly competitive. The double session includes an overview of finances and how to build systems starting with the production unit (the smallest system component), to the farm-level operation, to the regional system-level design to achieve critical scale needed to integrate and aggregate up to 14 enterprise sectors that make the system viable and regenerative. Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Getting Started with USDA. In this session, you’ll hear from representatives of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), who have a plethora of programs for farmers and ranchers. You will learn the basics of getting started with USDA and about several loan programs you can use to access land, equipment, operating supplies, and other needs for your farm or ranch. From NRCS, you’ll hear about a number of their conservation programs, including the popular EQIP, which can help you implement regenerative practices on your land. Joshua Coleman & Floyd Nauls LBJ 3-9.1

Technology Track. Cold Storage Monitoring Technology. Digital data loggers can be used in a variety of ways to track and capture measurements throughout your farm including the frequently overlooked cold storage environments. Monitoring your cold storage allows you to store your goods to the highest quality standards and ensures you are meeting all required food safety regulations. Learn what options are out there and how you can begin monitoring your cold storage environments to increase quality and prevent product loss while not breaking the bank. Mason Zepeda LBJ 3-13.1

Consultation Room 1. Beekeeping. Tara Chapman. LBJ 3-6.1

Consultation Room 2. Cooperatives. Blanca Delgado. LBJ 3-7.1

11:45 am-1:15 pm

Lunch & Plenary. Making Systemic Change Through Policy. We need to make systemic change through policy to achieve the future we want to see. And while there are many challenges, this moment in time offers opportunities as well. The new focus on antitrust, while still in the early stages, could bring significant changes through reining in corporate consolidation and abuses. At the same time, coalitions such as Regenerate America are looking to next year’s Farm Bill as an avenue for the changes to support farmers in moving regenerative agriculture from the fringes to the mainstream. Discussion led by Patty Lovera and Ayesha Ali. Grand Ballroom

1:15-2:45 pm

The Big Picture Track. How to Influence Policies Affecting Small Farmers. Changing the system takes work! Who do you talk with? What do you tell them? And how can you be effective in helping to change our system to support small farmers and a resilient food system? This panel includes an inside-the-Beltway lobbyist, a young farmer advocate, and a farmer just like you who testified to Congress. Patty Lovera, Carolina Mueller, & Shakera Raygoza Grand Ballroom

Startup & Homesteading Track. From Homesteading to Micro-Farming & Beyond. Are you an avid gardener and wonder what it would take to move into small-scale farming (or even more)? In this session, hear from a grower and farmer educator how they built their garden into a reputable organic farm. You’ll learn how to design a garden with all the right pieces in place to expand production, and just what it takes to start a micro- or small-scale farming enterprise from the ground up. Diana Padilla LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. Crop Planning for the Hot & Humid South. Growing crops in the South is challenging. Oftentimes, seed and production information are coming from farms in completely different climates. By choosing varieties that are better adapted to heat and humidity, more disease-resistant, and from reputable sources, you’re setting yourself up for greater success. In this session, learn about vegetable and herb varieties that perform well in the South, and tips on how to integrate those varieties into a crop plan to help you grow from season to season, year to year. Becky Hume LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. From Calf or Egg to Plate – Vertical Integration for Small Producers. What does vertical integration look like on-farm scale? In this session, hear from two producers who have vertically integrated their beef and poultry businesses. Stephanie Martinez will show a short video and share her family’s story about their necessity to adopt a vertically integrated business model, and David Hale will discuss his family’s integrated brooder, incubator, pasture system, and processing facility. Stephanie Martinez & David Hale LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Starting, Running, and Scaling Your Business. Starting and running a successful business takes both passion and strategy. Hear from experienced business consultant Ora Chisom about the tools and techniques you need to be an accomplished entrepreneur. This session will be a great fit for aspiring and beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as those looking to scale up their business. Ora Chisom LBJ 3-9.1

Technology Track. Setting Up Farm & Ranch Irrigation Systems. In this session, learn the nuts and bolts of setting up an irrigation system for farms and ranches. You’ll learn the pros and cons of different irrigation water sources and how to set up an efficient drip irrigation system. Come prepared to take notes and ask questions of a knowledgeable Texas producer! David Kraemer LBJ 3-13.1

Consultation Room 1. Permaculture Design. Taelor Monroe. LBJ 3-6.1

Consultation Room 2. FSA Working Session. LBJ 3-7.1

Consultation Room 3. NRCS Working Session. LBJ 3-3.1

3-4:30 pm

The Big Picture Track. Working for an Equitable Sustainable Food System. This panel discussion will explore a range of equity issues within our agricultural and food systems. Deydra, of Black Gold Resourcing, will discuss their work on getting equitable access to government resources for minority farmers. Noah will discuss the work of Recipe for Success and others in the arena of equitable food access. And Carolina will speak to how the National Young Farmers Coalition pivoted its work to center on racial equity, including addressing past missteps, lessons learned, and opportunities for the future. Carolina Mueller, Deydra Steans & Noah Rattler. Grand Ballroom

Startup & Homesteading Track. Small-Scale, Diversified Farm Start-Up. Taking a systems approach to farming means integrating multiple enterprises to try and create a closed loop system. In this session, hear from two local farmers who are working hard to make it happen! They will give you an overview of their farm systems, from vegetable production to aquaponics to growing their own livestock fodder, in hopes of modeling a truly regenerative farm in the Texas Hill Country. You will gain insight on how to think about your farm holistically, and what it takes to get a diversified operation off-the-ground. Ben & Meghan Roberts. LBJ 3-14.1

Crops Track. Cover Crops for South & Central Texas. Cover crops are an important conservation tool to increase soil health. They support greater biodiversity above and below ground, improve water retention, develop better aggregation, and build organic matter. You can reap these benefits on even the smallest scales. Learn how a local farmer Lee Allbee has integrated cover crops into their diversified produce and livestock operation the past 8 years, about varieties performing well in Texas, equipment options (including no-till drilling), and what the payoff looks like on a small-scale farm. Lee Albee LBJ 3-5.1

Livestock Track. Predator Protection – LGDs and More. Predators are unavoidable for livestock producers, particularly those raising smaller ruminants and poultry. Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) are one way to keep your livestock safe. Come learn from producers who raise lamb and chickens how they use LGDs and other strategies on the farm to keep predators at bay. Brad Roeder & Brent Heironimus LBJ 4-16.1 Teaching Theater

Finance/Business Track. Financial Resources Beyond USD. The question all farmers have: How can I access funding to start or expand my operation? In this session, learn from two finance experts about the funding ecosystem and how to access “other people’s money” for your farm beyond USDA resources. You will walk away with an understanding of the diversity of options available to you – from lending institutions to crowdfunding to investors – and how to determine what options are best for your farm. Come prepared and bring your questions! Tim Traister & Jarred Maxwell LBJ 3-9.1

Technology Track. Co-ops: A Tool for Farmer Power & Farm Success. You don’t have to farm (all) alone!  In this session, we’ll discuss the benefits of farmer cooperatives for small-to-midsize farms. Learn how to create new sales opportunities for yourself and your fellow farmers. Keep control of your farm AND build a powerful new farmer-owned business where you have a say in strategy and key decisions. Access services and farm inputs at lower prices by combining your purchasing power. Build a relationship with co-op experts who will help you create a successful new business. Blanca Delgado LBJ 3-13.1

Consultation Room 2. FSA Working Session. LBJ 3-7.1

Consultation Room 3. NRCS Working Session. LBJ 3-3.1

Pre-Conference Workshops

As always, we’ll open the Conference with opportunities to dive more deeply into selected topics. This year, we’re offering a two-day workshop on Saturday and Sunday; plus a half-day workshop on Sunday afternoon

Saturday and Sunday, August 6-7

This two-day workshop takes place at Nixon City Hall Conference Center in Nixon, Texas. 

Profiting From Pastured Animals

The Council for Healthy Food Systems presents this workshop to help farmers develop business and marketing skills to sell meat, poultry, and eggs direct-to-consumers. Taught by FARFA/CHFS Executive Director Judith McGeary and owner of Mesquite Field Farm Doug Havemann. Learn more here.

Sunday, August 7


Wholesale Readiness (1-5 p.m.), LBJ Student Center, Texas State University, San Marcos

Are your farmers’ markets disappointing you with too many vendors and not enough customers? Are you tired of all the hassle of CSA customer management? Are you thinking about whether cultivating some wholesale accounts might be part of a new solution? Let’s talk about all the considerations of doing business with wholesale customers including: Crop Costing (so you grow more crops that make money, not lose money!), what tools, equipment and infrastructure might be useful or necessary, and other scaling up considerations. Farm consultant, writer, and teacher Ellen Polishuk will give you the ins and outs of assessing whether new wholesale markets are a good fit for your business.

This workshop will be followed by an hour of “speed-networking” between wholesale-ready growers and distributors interested in purchasing local foods. The day caps off with a Farmer/Wholesaler Happy Hour; cash bar 6-7 p.m.

  • Buyer-Grower Speed Networking – Are you serious and ready to take the next step into wholesale? This session provides an opportunity for growers and buyers to meet face-to-face, get to know each other, and hopefully make a lasting business connection. The speed networking event is designed for producers who are ready to access wholesale market channels. In order to ensure a balanced group, this session has limited seats. After you register, you will be contacted to confirm that this is the right fit for you.
  • Buyer-Grower Happy Hour – Bump elbows with some of the largest local food buyers in The South! This is a great event for producers of all size, whether you’re currently selling wholesale or thinking about it down the line.


Monday, September 10:

Keynote:  The 2×2 Pledge (Yes, we can!): We can eat our way to economic security and personal freedom, and we can do so without spending an extra dime on food or an extra dollar on taxes.  Keynote by Michael Olson, agriculturalist, journalist, and host of Food Chain Radio.

10:00 am:

Track 1:  Health Freedom.  Peter McCarthy of the Texas Health Freedom Coalition will discuss the major legal and regulatory barriers facing alternative and complementary health care practitioners, and the bills that are antiticpated in the upcoming Texas legislative session.

Track 2:  GMO basics.  Howard Vlieger of Verity Farms will explain what genetically engineered crops are and the problems they create for farmers and consumers.

11:25 am:

Track 1:  Farm Bill and Corporate Control.  Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch will explain what’s happening with the Farm Bill,how the structure of our federal food policy supports corporate consolidation at the expense of both farmers and consumers, and what each person can do to influence Congress and the Farm Bill.

Track 2:  Seafood and Our Coastal Waters.  Diane Wilson, a noted author and activist, will speak about tthe different ways in which seafood is harvested, the issues facing fishermen, and how people can support changes for sustainable management of our coastal waters.

12:30 pm: Lunch of local and organic foods, catered by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due

1:30 pm:

Track 1:  GMOs: The Latest News and Action Items.  A panel will dicuss the latest scientific studies on the problems with genetically engineered drops and the ways that people are fighitng back at every level, from purchasing and food production to ballot initiatives.  Speakers: Howard Vlieger of Verity Farms, Doug Foreman of Beanitos, and Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch.

Track 2:  Local Initiatives and Local Challenges.  A panel will explore issues at the local level, from regulatory to market barriersa, and how different local communities are addressing them.  Speakers: Amy Miller of the City of Elgin, Carla Jenkins of Cedar Park Farmers Market, and Katie Kraemer Pitre of Tecolote Farm

3:15 pm:

Track 1:  What Does Local Mean?  Scaling and distribution issues.  A panel will discuss the role of farmers, chefs, and retailers in the local food movement, and how we can expand access to local food without losing the heart and soul of the movement.  Speakers: Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm, Don Davis of the Grassfed Livestock Alliance, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, and Brain Cummings of EatGreenDFW.  Moderated by Marla Camp of Edible Austin.

Track 2:  Animal Welfare in Agriculture.  A panel will discuss the role of goverment, market solutions, and the realities of family farming with respect to animal welfare, from birth to death.  Speakers: Michael Olson of Food Chain Radio, Andrew Gunther of Animal Welfare Approved, and Travis Krause of Parker Creek Ranch

4:45:  Where Do We Go Next?  The outlook for the Texas legislative session and in DC.  Judith McGeary of FARFA and Patty Lovera of FWW will pull together the issues raised throughout the day in an interactive discussion of what is likely to happen in the coming year in Austin and DC.

The conference will end at approximately 5:45 pm on Monday. The silent auction ends at 5:45 pm on Monday.

Tuesday, September 11:


Tuesday’s Activism Boot Camp is Sold Out.  We often have a few last-minute cancellations, though, so please email if you would like to attend.  We will place you on the waiting list and let you know if there is space as soon as possible.

8:30 am – 11:30 am: Activism training: Interactive workshops on developing strategy, how to lobby, and how to network.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Lunch, catered by Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due

12:30 pm – 3 pm:  Discuss FARFA’s priorities in the coming year.  There will be break-out groups to discuss strategies for the coming year on:
(1) Raw milk
(2) Local foods bills
(3) GMOs

3 pm – 4 pm:  Come back together to discuss the plans from each group, provide input, and plan how to coordinate to make effective changes in the policies governing our farms and our food.


Platinum Sponsors

Edible Austin

Gold Sponsors

Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill

Edible DFW

Silver Sponsors

Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas

Stryk Jersey Farm

Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets

Whole Foods

Bronze Sponsors

Acres USA


Brazos Valley Cattle Company

Cedar Park Farmers Market

Dewberry Hills Farms

Garden Inspirations


Johnson’s Backyard Garden


American National – Coleman Insuance Agency

East Side Show Room

Farmhouse Delivery

Green Grass Meats

Keep Bastrop County Beautiful

Manuel’s Restaurants

Organic Certification Consulting

People’s Pharmacy

Rancho Ojo de Agua

River Valley Farmers Market

Soothin’ Infusion

Wheatsville Food Co-op

World’s Best Eggs

Yegua Creek Farms

Zhi Tea

Supporting Sponsors

Anderlee Lumber Company

Austin EcoNetwork

Casa Brasil – Direct Trade Brazilian Coffee

Tommy and Michelle Harris

Ideal Poultry

Milam Auto Supply Co. (Cameron)

San Antonio Herb Society

Texas Olive Ranch


Thank you to the generous individuals and businesses who donated items for our silent auction. This year, in addition to the on-site auction, we also have an online auction that launched on August 29. Even if you don’t attend the conference, you can still bid on the online items on

Bidding on the on-site auction ends 20 minutes after the last speaker on Monday, approximately 5:45 p.m.

Bidding on the online auction ends at 6:00 PM on Monday, September 10.

(Items designated with a ** below are online; the rest of the items are available for bidding at the conference.)

Books from Acres USA

Gift card to Barley Swine

Weeder & cultivator (short and long handle) from CobraHead

Gift box of preserves from Confituras

Organic chicken feed from Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill

Farm tour + dinner for 4 in your home by Sonya Coté and The HomeGrown Revival **

John Deere caps and straw hat from Coufal-Prater Equipment

Organic chicken feed from Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill

Homeopathy webinar of choice (companion animal / equine / livestock) by Dr. Glenn Dupree **

Gift card to East Side Pies

Dinner for two at Eastside Cafe

Basket of souvenirs from the Elgin Hogeye Festival

Custom cooking class and farm-to-table dinner for 10 from Escoffier School of Culinary Arts **

Foodie Fight: A Trivia Game for Serious Food Lovers

4 weeks of local produce boxes from Greenling

Autographed copies of book Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas

Artisan crafts from Goodwin Homestead

Garden starter seed kit from High Mowing Seeds

Gift certificate to Home Sweet Home Bakery **

4-week CSA subscription to Johnson’s Backyard Garden

Gift card package from Lick Ice Creams

Gift cerificate to Manuel’s Restaurants

Organic farm certification consulting by Leslie McKinnon **

Chick starter kit from Milam Grain Co.

Large garden sprinkler from M&M Farm Supply

Gift certificates to The Natural Gardener **

Gift certificate to Olivia Restaurant

Texas cocktail kit from Paula’s Texas Spirits

Gift basket from Republic Tequila

Gift certificate and tote bag from the River Valley Farmers Market

Women’s cowhide gloves, 12-in-1 tools, and more from Taylor Equipment

2013 conference registration from Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association **

Wrench set from True Value (Cameron)

Farm tour and breakfast by Vital Farms

Organic pastured eggs from World’s Best Eggs

Pecan cutting board from Yegua Creek Farms


We have arranged for a block of rooms at the Comfort Suites in Bastrop at a rate of $79/night (not including taxes).  Call 512-321-3377 to make your reservation and be sure to mention the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance conference to get the special rate.

The block of rooms is available only until August 21.  After that, Comfort Suites will honor the rate only if they have available space, so book early!

We have also arranged with the Pecan Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in Bastrop, just one and half blocks from historic downtown, for a special rate of $79/night (not including taxes). The rate is available for the nights of September 9, 10, and 11, 2012. Call 512-321-3315 to make your reservation and be sure to mention the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance conference to get the special rate! Only a limited number of rooms are available, so be sure to book your room as soon as possible. (Many thanks to innkeepers Bill and Shawn Pletsch!)


Interested in helping out with this year’s conference?  We are seeking volunteers to join us this spring for the following committees: hospitality, silent auction, special fundraiser event planning, and sponsorships.  Email  to learn more about how you can participate!


Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Council for Healthy Food Systems

Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association