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Big River's Emerging Farmers Conference Kicks Off this Week
Minnesota Ag Connection - 01/26/2021

Big River Farms' 16th annual Emerging Farmers Conference kicks off this week online. Due to COVID-19, this year's conference is being held virtually and will take place all day on Jan. 30. Virtual evening workshops are also happening Jan. 27 through 29. All farmers may register to attend for free at emergingfarmers.org

This innovative conference offers New American (immigrant and refugee) and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Color) farmers with the necessary tools for building profitable agricultural businesses. The conference supports the success and sustainability of farmers who face systemic barriers to accessing educational, financial, and land-based resources. Conference participants can actively connect with one another while fostering relationships with sustainable farming advocates and educators.

The 2021 EFC theme is "Reclaiming Our Voices: For Farmers, by Farmers, with Farmers." Topics include profitable farming, pest/disease management, scaling to wholesale, record keeping, value-added production, land access and conservation, grant opportunities, and more. Interpretation services will be available in Spanish, Hmong, Karen, Somali, Burmese, Nepali, Swahili, Kirundi, and Arabic.

This year's keynote speaker is Tiffany LaShae, a grower, educator, and activist who has farmed around the world. Her current work includes Climate Smart Agriculture efforts with farmers in Benin and Zambia, and urban and rural soils research with the University of Minnesota. LaShae will explore a conversation with EFC participants about on- and off-farm actions that can be taken to redefine local perceptions of what it means to be an "emerging" farmer. "Right now is the time for those that have been silenced historically to take action. I hope to encourage BIPOC and immigrant farmers to gain power and access," says LaShae.

For assistance with interpretation services or event registration, please contact Big River Farms Education Manager KaZoua Berry at kberry@thefoodgroupmn.org or 651-504-8105


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