2017 Annual Conference Workshop Descriptions

Room location are subject to change; check your registration packet and listen for announcements during the event.


Session 1: 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Protecting Plants of Medicinal & Ecological Significance (Connection 3)
Presenter: Gigi Stafne MH, ND. Executive Director of Herbalists Without Borders International and the Green Wisdom School of Natural & Botanical Medicine.

Herbalism has become popular during past decades, yet various plants are now at risk — Goldenseal to White Sage–due to disturbed land practices, overharvesting and overconsumption. Learn to conserve, preserve and integrate some of these special status plants in cultivated herb gardens, fields and forests–from small farms to land preserves or commercial farms.

Grant-Writing Basics to Support Sustainable Agriculture (Connection 1)
Presenter: Margaret Krome, Policy Program Director for the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin.

An experienced grant writer explains how to use federal programs to support sustainable agriculture initiatives. This workshop introduces you to designing a project; finding federal grant opportunities to support it; and basic do’s and don’ts to maximize grant-writing successes; it encourages audience engagement and provides numerous clearly-written handouts.

Growing A Farm Community (Reflection B)
Presenters: Emily Martorano, Hazel Hill Farm, Avoca, Wisconsin; Vanessa Herald, Make Time Farm, Beloit, Wisconsin; Nett Hart, Webster Farm Organic, Foreston, Minnesota.

How do you build community and navigate gender as a solo woman farmer in a rural area? In this panel, three farmers share novel strategies for networking and resourcing with neighbors, forming collaborative local farm groups, and creating on-farm events to build local and like-minded community in rural areas.

Healing the Land: Land Management and Transition with the Future in Mind (Reflection D)
Presenters: Angie Carter, sociologist, Michigan Technological University (former WFAN board member); Jean Eells, consultant, E Resources Group, Webster City, Iowa (Women Caring for the Land curriculum developer); Sylvia Rodgers Spalding, Iowa non-operator landowner; Ruth Rabinowitz, Farm Manager, Rabinowitz Family Farms.

This workshop will include an overview of the important place of women in farmland transition, including perspectives from two women farmland owners who are managing land from afar. In small groups, we will share together common challenges and resources in our work to heal and transition the land.

Session 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The Latest on Pesticide Drift (Connection 3)
Presenter: Carmen Black, beginning farmer from Solon, Iowa, and organizer for Pesticide Action Network of North America.

Pesticide drift is a problem for all kinds of farms. This year we saw a huge increase in dicamba drift incidents, as well as a controversial EPA decision on the volatile and toxic chemical chlorpyrifos. Hear the latest updates on drift trends and policies, as well as stories from organizations working for improved drift response and prevention policies at the state level. We will also introduce a new drift response guide, In Case of Drift. 

Managing your Soil to Maximize Yield (Reflection B)
Presenter: Kristina Beuning, Sunbow Farm, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Problems with poor crop production? In this session, we will discuss the plant mineral nutritional needs of fruit and vegetable crops and how these needs are met by the soil. We review soil test results and amendment additions that can help you to maximize yields on your own farm.

Conservation Planning, Right Out Your Back Door: USDA NRCS Conservation Planning Technical and Financial Program Assistance (Reflection D)
Presenters: Brianne Lowe, State Biologist and Federal Women’s Program Manager, Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS); Jill Reinhart, Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships, Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Indiana State Office.

This interactive workshop for private landowners, woodland owners, and farm operators will discuss what conservation planning is, why it is important, and resources available from USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. It will demystify the farm bill program enrollment process and provide an understanding of services available through NRCS.

Funding Your Farm: Resources And Connections For Women Farmers (Connection 1)
Presenters: Lisa Kivirist, founder and director, Rural Women’s Project of the Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); Jan Joannides, co-founder and executive director of Renewing the Countryside.

Get creative and collaborative in funding your farm operation. Learn about USDA programs along with alternative financing options to help your business vision succeed. From buying your farm to capital investments, take an entrepreneurial approach to boost your bottom line. FSA and USDA resources targeting women farmers will be covered.

Session 3: 2:30 – 4 p.m.
Troubleshoot Grazing Problems, Improve Pastures With Cover Crops (Connection 3)
Presenter: Susan Jaster, sheep farmer and outreach specialist for Lincoln University Cooperative Extension’s Innovative Small Farmers’ Outreach Program and AgrAbility, Jefferson City, Missouri.

Learn how to troubleshoot your pastures and grazing problems by understanding the warnings your pasture is giving you. Weeds are indicators of soil health and cover crops are the medicine to fix the issues. You can feed your livestock at the same time that you restore soil health.

Vegetable Crop Planning – Keep Planting (Reflection B)
Presenter: Claire Strader, Small-Scale and Organic Produce Educator for Dane County UW Extension and the FairShare CSA Coalition.

Having an organized, easy-to-follow crop plan is key to a bountiful vegetable harvest. We’ll cover the mechanics from specific harvest goals to creating a planting calendar that includes crop spacing, succession planting, field mapping, and cover cropping. You’ll get a complete planting calendar for a 4-acre, diversified, organic vegetable farm serving CSA, farmers market, and wholesale accounts as a sample for your own crop planning. (2:30 – 3:15 p.m.)

Healthy, Productive, Delicious: Choosing The Best Vegetable Varieties For Your Farm Or Garden (Reflection B)
Presenter: Julie Dawson, Assistant Professor of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Ruth Genger, Researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kat Becker, Farmer and Owner, Cattail Organics.

Variety choices can make a big difference, but how do you choose which is right for your farm? On-farm research can seem intimidating, but you can get reliable results with simple methods. This session will cover the basics of on-farm variety trials and present current participatory variety trial results. (3:15 – 4 p.m.)

Poetry Break (Reflection D)
Presenter: Nan Bonfils, Centering Porch at Full Circle Farm, Madrid, Iowa (a WFAN Founding Mother).

Take a poetry break and venture across the conference tracks to read, listen to, and create poetry. (Did she say create? YES.) Participants will craft both heritage and seed poems to reflect our conference theme. Hands on, hearts in. Zero writing experience needed. No judgments. All welcome.

Land Justice: Re-Imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States (Connection 1)
Presenters: Ahna Kruzic (Moderator), Director of Publications and Communications at Food First, Oakland, California; Angie Carter, Ph.D., author and sociologist; Monica M White, Ph.D., assistant professor of Environmental Justice at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (invited); LaDonna Redmond, author and activist, conference keynote speaker (invited).

The movement for fairer, healthier, and more autonomous food is continually blocked by one obstacle: land access. Join voices from the recently published anthology Land Justice: Re-Imagining Land, Food, and the Commons in the United States in discussing land justice and its relationship to ending racial and gender-based oppression in the food and agriculture system.


Session 1: 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Plan For The Worst, Prepare For The Best: Navigating Relationship And Farm Endings (Connection 1)
Presenters: Kat Becker, Cattail Organics, Athens, Wisconsin; Steph Larsen, Moon & Raven Farm, St. Ignatius, Montana; Vanessa Herald, Make Time Farm, Beloit, Wisconsin; Ruth Genger, associate researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison (facilitator).

If you weren’t married or otherwise committed to your farming partner, would you still be farming — or together? Hear from three farmers who ended their farm partnership (both different and same-sex couples), and explore the anatomy of a farm break-up, lessons learned, and planning considerations for current and future farmers.

Connecting the Resistance and Activism of Agricultural and Rural Women in the US and Beyond (Connection 3)
Presenters: Julia Slocum, Lacewing Acres, Ames, Iowa; Maritza Pierre, master student in sustainable agriculture and community and regional planning at Iowa State University (WFAN student board member); Marta Chiappe, professor at the Department of Social Sciences of the University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay; Patti Edwardson, Iowa farmer and WFAN board member (moderator).

Join a conversation, learn through individuals’ experiences visiting and living in Latin America and here in the Midwest, and develop strategies to address the struggle against patriarchy, capitalism, racism, and environmental degradation in industrial agriculture with the goal of an ecologically and economically just system based on feminine principles that create food sovereignty.

Social Media Revisited: A Producer’s Perspective on Relationships, Storytelling, and Transparency (Reflection B)
Presenter: Elise Hallock, CiderHill Farm, Neenah, Wisconsin.

Social media has the power to captivate and engage consumers, to draw people into a story, and to deepen the connection between families and farmers. Join Elise from CiderHill Farm, a NCR-SARE grant recipient, for an exploration of relationships, storytelling and transparency in social media marketing. (8:30 – 9:15 a.m.)

Telling Better Stories, Building Better Connections (Reflection B)
Presenter: Wendy Allen, writer and editor for Organic Valley; writer, copy editor and digital editor for Edible Madison magazine.

Making personal connections is critical in today’s skeptical world. In this friendly, supportive writing workshop, learn how your true farm/food story will build loyalty and help you meet your business and mission goals, then write and get feedback on your own story. All skill levels welcome and encouraged. (9:15 – 10 a.m.)

Session 2: 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Resurgence of Iroquois White Corn on the Oneida Reservation (Connection 3)
Presenters: Rebecca M. Webster (Oneida name: Kany^htake•lu, “snow scattered here and there”), attorney and Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s American Indian Studies Department; Grace M. Webster (Oneida name: kahʌtanolu, “precious garden”) age 13, and Amelia M. Webster (Oneida name: Yakoyʌtetauhati, “she is continually going along learning”), age 11.

Consuming traditional foods can help address chronic health conditions among Native American populations including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Demand for these traditional foods often surpasses supply. This session features a mother and her two young daughters as they describe their community’s efforts to grow and process more traditional foods.

“I’m a Farmer. And I’m Gay”: Research on Lesbian and Queer Farmers (Reflection B)
Presenters: Jaclyn Wypler, Sociology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Sarah Cramer, graduate student in Agricultural Education at the University of Missouri; Leslie Touzeau, Rural Sociology graduate student at the University of Missouri.

In the fabric of Midwestern agriculture dominated by straight men industrially growing commodity crops, lesbian and queer sustainable farmers expand understandings of gender, sexuality, farming practices, and rurality. In this session, three graduate students share their research on lesbian and queer farmers, and encourage participants’ questions and feedback.

The Face of Fearless Leadership: How Women are Leading Wisconsin’s Response to Industrial-Scale Agriculture (Connection 1)
Presenters: Tressie Kamp, staff attorney for Midwest Environmental Advocates; Kriss Marion, Circle M Market Farm, Blanchardville, Wisconsin & a Lafayette County elected official; Jen Riemer, Riemer Family Farm, Brodhead, Wisconsin & a leader of Green County Defending Our Farmland.

Two farmers from the Green County area of Wisconsin will discuss lessons learned regarding how women, family farmers, and elected officials can impact a community’s response to industrial-scale agriculture. A partner public interest attorney will provide legal framework regarding how local advocacy fits into the permitting of Wisconsin’s largest farms.

Back to conference agenda.

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Ames, IA 50010
Phone: (515) 460-2477
Email: info@wfan.org