SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability staff will take part in the Regional Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference in Fort Myers, April 1-2.
Organized by the UF/IFAS Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Program, the conference offers participants practical farming knowledge through educational sessions, networking opportunities, field workshops, farm tours, and more. Operating under the theme of “Strengthening Local Food Systems with Diversity,” the conference targets prospective or beginning farmers, experienced agriculture operators, local foods entrepreneurs, and food policy advocates.
Gardens Program Coordinator Stacy Spriggs will lead a panel discussion on “Growing Farmers” at the conference. Spriggs will discuss her work establishing and maintaining gardens in schools and communities across Sarasota County. This program helps to improve access to healthy food and raise agricultural and nutritional awareness.
Daily highlights include:
Friday, April 1
- Bus tour of four area urban farms.
- Field workshops at ECHO Farm.
- Keynote speakers.
- Optional farm-to-table banquet celebration with locally grown foods.
- Beverages, music, and dancing.
Saturday, April 2
- Sixteen educational sessions on agri-tourism, integrated pest management, marketing, and more.
- Trade show with agricultural vendors and educational organizations.
- Networking opportunities.
- Lunch with locally grown foods.
Cost for the full conference is $100, or $45 for youth attendees, and includes educational materials, lunch, and refreshments. The optional farm-to-table banquet requires an additional fee. The conference takes place at multiple locations, including Buckingham Farms, ECHO Global Farm, and the Holiday Inn Fort Myers at Town Center.
For more information about the conference, or to register, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000, or visit https://sfaeconference.wordpress.com/.