Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Southern SAWG Conference


This year, Mason and I attended the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Conference for the first time. It was a relatively short trip to Little Rock, AR, but we'll absolutely be willing to drive as far as needed to make it in the future.

We signed up for two pre-conference courses. The first was an intensive short course on hoop houses/high tunnels taught by Paul and Alison Wiediger from Au Naturel Farm in Kentucky. It was an eight hour session the first day with a four hour session the second, and it was packed with information! We received a copy of their book, Walking to Spring, which I would highly recommend to anyone interested in setting up a high tunnel or learning more about high tunnel growing. They were excellent presenters who allowed plenty of time for questions and discussion while still covering everything I wanted to know and more. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of their workshops or presentations, do it!

The second was a mini-course in vermiculture taught by Will Allen of (obviously) Growing Power. It was amazing to meet Will and be able to ask him questions about the specific methods they use for their vermicomposting operation, though I'd still love to see it in person. The course was off-site at Mabelvale Magnet Middle School, which has an impressive school garden program.

For us, the rest of the conference consisted of sessions on large scale composting, soil health, community food systems, and educational gardening. We also met several amazing people, work-related and otherwise, that I hope to keep in touch with and see again next year. The weekend ended with an excellent Taste of Arkansas dinner that completely changed my opinion of sweet potato pie. I wish I'd thought to take more photos. We are already sincerely ecstatic about attending next year. Thanks, SAWG!

will allen

growing power

Side note: While we were in Little Rock, we got a chance to eat at The Root, a cafe that offers (by far) the most local foods focused menu I've seen. Oh, and it was delicious--especially the shiitake burger.

shiitake mushroom burger

sweet potato fries


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