2017 WFAN Annual Conference Agenda

Our 2017 conference will be based at the Sheraton Madison, 706 John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI, 53713.
Click here
for a map and directions.


Registration opens at 9 a.m. on the Mezzanine (second floor directly above hotel registration desk).

Field tours and intensives will be offered on Thursday, beginning at various times. They overlap, so choose only ONE. Field tours individually priced and fees include lunch and a mid-afternoon snack and beverage as well as transportation. On-site intensives are $50 each, and include a snack and beverage.

A vegetarian box lunch is available on Thursday before afternoon workshop sessions begin, for a $20 charge. Select on your registration form. DO NOT PURCHASE IF GOING ON A FIELD TOUR; THEY INCLUDE LUNCH.

Thursday field tours (choose ONE plus an alternate). Meet your bus in front of the hotel 15″ before departure.

1: NORTH WISCONSIN FARMS (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., $60) – Tour four unique women-owned farms north of Madison. Each farm business will provide insight into selling value-added and high-quality products locally or across the country. 4 Elements Herbals sells a wide range of herbal products with herbs grown in their pristine location in stores and online. Fourth generation farm Roots Chocolates sells farm-crafted chocolates, herbs, and honey in stores and online. Roots & Shoots Farm is a 10-year organic vegetable CSA with insight into working with local customers. Walk-Era Dairy Farms has a 100 cow dairy and markets high-quality milk, genetics, and crops. Fee includes full lunch and afternoon snack. Sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

2: SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN FARMS (10:30 a.m. – 4:40 p.m., $60) Soil Sisters: A tour and taste of women-run operations in southern Wisconsin (Circle M Market Farm, Dorothy’s Range, Cow & Quince Cafe, and Bluffwood Landing). You’ll see the wide variety of farm operations — from farm stays to fiber to heritage hogs — all run by women who are part of the “Soil Sisters” of southern Wisconsin, a vibrant network of women committed to sustainability, local food, community building, grassroots activism and crossing paths regularly over pie and potlucks. Facilitated in partnership with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Click here to read more about the tour stops and our guides. Includes full lunch at Cow & Quince Cafe and snacks along the way! Sponsored in partnership with Soil Sisters and MOSES.

3: MADISON URBAN AG PROJECTS (10:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., $40) – This urban tour will showcase several community garden, research, entrepreneurial and other projects within the city of Madison, including FH King Farm at UW Madison, Community Ground Works sites at Troy Farm and Badger Rock Middle School, FEED Kitchens, Willy Street North (lunch stop), and Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability (Verona). Fee includes lunch donated by the co-op and an afternoon snack. Sponsored in partnership with Community GroundWorks.

Thursday afternoon in-depth workshops (1 – 4:50 p.m.) $50 each, choose ONE

1: Focus on Gaining Advocacy Power Without Losing Your Mind (Heidi Wegleitner, Sarah Lloyd and Caryl Hale, facilitated by Ash Bruxvoort) (Reflection A)

More about this workshop

2. Sustainability and Conservation on the Farm: Focus on Integrated Pest Management and Soil Health (Connection 1) 

More about this workshop

5 p.m. Break

5:30 p.m. Thursday evening dining options

1: Tasting tours of Madison area restaurants (stops at 3 farm-to-fork establishments – vegetarian only, omnivore sold out); fee includes small plates/samples and bus transportation; drinks not included). $45; capacity limited. Buses load in front of hotel beginning at 5:15 p.m., leaving promptly at 5:30.

2. REAP/Fair Share/Midwest Environmental Advocates Happy Hour. Click here for more info and to register.

3: Dine on your own at hotel or area restaurants. See your registration packet for suggestions and transportation info.

6 – 8 p.m. Exhibitors may set up in Destination North and South.

7:30 – 9 p.m. Optional networking meet-ups at hotel: Lesbian Natural Resources 25th anniversary celebration (Connection 1), beginning farmers (Reflection D),  and natural resources professionals (Connection 3, hosted by NRCS and FSA women). Drop in, attend one or more!

9 – 11 p.m. Farm Tales: Our Stories from the Field. Join us in the Sheraton’s Harvest Lounge as WFAN kicks off our first Farm Tales! Inspired by NPR’s radio show The Moth, we’ll be sharing stories from our lives in some good company. Get to know one another better; share wisdom in lessons learned, fun surprises, and favorite memories. We all love some good stories. We all have some stories to tell. Come share your stories with the WFAN tribe! Stories should be five minutes and under. You can sign up in advance here until the first day of the conference and then at the registration desk. First five to sign-up, your first drink is on us!


Registration opens 7 a.m. (Mezzanine), visit exhibitors (Destination).

Coffee, tea and breakfast buffet (Destination) 7 – 8 a.m.

Keynote speaker 8 a.m. (Destination). LaDonna Redmond, a long-time community activist who successfully worked to get Chicago Public Schools to evaluate junk food, launched urban agriculture projects, started a community grocery store, and worked on federal farm policies to expand access to healthy food in low-income communities. In 2009, Redmond was one of 25 citizens and business leaders named a Responsibility Pioneer by Time magazine. Currently, LaDonna has launched the Campaign for Food Justice Now. CFJN’s mission is to end all forms of injustice and exploitation in the food system.

9 a.m. Break – visit exhibitors

Breakout sessions

Four concurrent workshops per session. Click here for workshop descriptions.

9:30 a.m. First breakout, 90 min.

11 a.m.  Break + snack – visit exhibitors

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Second breakout, 60 min.

12:30  Break – visit exhibitors

1 p.m.  Wisconsin local foods lunch buffet  (Destination).

2:30 p.m. Third breakout, 90 min.

4 p.m. Break + snack in Mezzanine – visit exhibitors

5 – 6 p.m. Happy hour – cash bar featuring some local wines, beers, and ciders. Come network and relax before dinner! (Inspiration)

6 p.m. Dinner buffet – included in your registration (Destination North and South)

7:30 – 9 p.m. (Inspiration) Live performance by TAPIT New Works ensemble theater of Garden Party: A Comedy for Gardeners Both Casual and Crazed! Free and open to the public. One-hour performance with community discussion to follow.

Combining comedy, music, tap dance and garden slides, “Garden Party” celebrates gardeners both casual and crazed. In linked vignettes showcasing wagering garden gnomes, battling plants, mustard researchers and a meeting of Gardener’s Anonymous, this cabaret-style production explores the comic possibilities of America’s favorite hobby. The women behind this production give a whole new meaning to the phrase “garden ladies.” Director Sarah Whelan deftly weaves together Danielle Dresden’s script, Barbara Chusid’s original score, Donna Peckett’s tap dance and slides of Jeannette Golden’s country gardens in Black Earth, Wisconsin, to create a show as fun-filled and colorful as a summer evening. Peckett and Dresden, TAPIT/new works’ producing artistic directors, take on all 13 roles in “Garden Party.” As the garden gnomes, Xylem and Phloem of the Teeming Sanctuary Garden Store, Peckett and Dresden debate whether gardening is good or bad for people, assuming the characters of gardeners and plants to advance their arguments. Audiences are also treated to a tap dance recipe for rhubarb nut bread and improvisation with garden tools. “Garden Party” can’t make summer last forever, but it will leave audiences with a warm feeling inside.


7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Coffee, tea and breakfast buffet (Destination)

7:30 a.m. Morning yoga (Connection 4)

8 a.m. Visit vendors

Breakout sessions

Three concurrent workshops per session. Click here for workshop descriptions. Locations will be provided in your registration packet.

8:30 a.m. First breakout, 90 min.

10 a.m.  Break + snack + visit exhibitors

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. –Second breakout, 75 min.

11:45 a.m.  Break + visit exhibitors

12:15 p.m.  Buffet lunch (Destination; included)

12.45 p.m. Women in Sustainable Agriculture: Honoring Our Founding Mothers awards ceremony. Celebrating 20 years of WFAN! (Destination North and South)

2 p.m. Grow Your Future: Connect, Collaborate & Act (Destination North and South). It’s easy to leave a conference like WFAN feeling inspired, but how do we turn that momentum into action once we return home?  How can we process all we’ve learned over the last 48 hours and craft new goals we can act on when we go back to our already busy lives? This unique closing session supports you in exactly that:  processing ideas and takeaways from our last two days together and creating your individual plan for implementing and accomplishing your vision.   We all came to the WFAN conference from a variety of perspectives and with a diversity of dreams.  Now we will collaboratively support each other to continuing that momentum.

“Grow Your Future:  Connect, Collaborate & Act” will champion your next steps by providing:

  • Tools to clarify your goals and next steps
  • Connections with on-target resources & funding possibilities
  • One-on-one consults with our remarkable team of speakers
  • Instant clarifying feedback
  • Collaborative opportunities and networking

Facilitated by Lisa Kivirist of MOSES Rural Women’s Network and Inn Serendipity B&B.

3:30 p.m. Break + snack + last chance to visit vendors.

4 p.m. Optional wrap-up gathering hosted by WFAN board in hotel lounge. Drinks and food will be on your own, but the fellowship is abundant and free!

Travel home safely!


  • WFAN merchandise and logo-wear will be for sale at the registration area throughout the conference.
  • Chair massages will be available for purchase Friday and Saturday, location to be announced.
  • Child care will be available for $20/day/child Friday 8 – 5 and Saturday 8 – 4. Select this option on your registration form. (Creation)
  • Dietary restrictions: We do our very best to work with the hotel catering staff to provide at least one substantial option at each meal and snack break for those with special needs and preferences (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy free). If you select the appropriate option on your registration form, we will try to accommodate you. However, you may want to bring appropriate snacks if your requirements are strict.


Back to conference home.


PO Box 611
Ames, IA 50010
Phone: (515) 460-2477
Email: info@wfan.org