Farm & Food Leadership (podcast)

Sep 3rd, 2016 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Barn and Silo, image courtesy Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Barn and Silo, image courtesy Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

10th Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference
September 25-27, 2016 | Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center | Bastrop, Texas
1408 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, TX 78602

Small farmers, ranchers, artisan food producers and eaters all have a place at the table during the Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference, September 25-27 2016 in Bastrop, Texas.  During the event participants will learn about policies, laws and regulations affecting all aspects of our food system.

Judith McGeary is Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA), which is presenting the conference. FARFA is a non-profit advocacy group that works on behalf of small farmers, local food producers and consumers. It’s a national organization with roots in Texas.

McGeary said the first iteration of the conference began as an offshoot of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s (TOFGA) Annual meeting. Organization president, Brad Stufflebeam of Home Sweet Farm in Brenham, Texas, realized the complexity of farming policies, laws and regulations made it necessary to develop a separate conference to focus on those issues.

After the first year, McGeary said FARFA took it over because “regulations are what we do.”

The Farm and Food Leadership Conference guides farmers, ranchers and consumers through the often confusing maze of local, state and federal laws and regulations that shape the nature of our food system. The issues surrounding the path to the plate are complicated, and it’s difficult to get a good understanding of them through media headlines alone, said McGeary. And beyond that, she said those headlines sometimes miss the point, and do not show people how to take the next step — activism.

McGeary encourages all interested citizens to attend the Farm and Food Leadership Conference as it brings together speakers on a variety of issues including genetically engineered foods, the politics of organics, the 2013 Farm Bill, the FDA’s food safety regulations, urban farming, raw milk, water planning & policy, and more!  McGeary says while not everyone will get involved after the conference,  those who do, will do so with confidence, and work to create the kind of food system they desire.

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  1. Looking forward to the conference, and hope to gain a better understanding of the challenges of connecting producers with local consumers – how do farms market their goods to distributors, restaurants, manufacturers, consumers, and how that process can be improved.

  2. I am hoping to get some ideas of how best to develop my property in the production of organic food while maintaining part of the property in it’s native state. As I watch the encroachment of nearby subdivisions (with some families presumably in search of healthy food alternatives) and the movement of native wildlife in response to the upending of their habitat, I feel obligated and moved to sustain some of my land in an undeveloped state while tending the growth of nutritious produce. I am hoping that this conference will connect me to others who have done part or all of this and steer me in the direction I need to go to get started in the most efficient manner!

  3. I am very interested in filling a niche that will help support the local sustainable agriculture/food system. I hope that some ideas from this conference will energize me to start a project that will help the system in a key area that is currently lacking.

  4. Hope to keep up with the trends occurning in the farming and ranching industry as it relates to food production for the restaurant industry, This knowledge is important for my students and the staff at Le Cordon Bleu.

  5. Water–it, not oil, will be the focus of food and life in the years to come.

  6. As a small farm producer, I’m of course interested in everything having to do with food policy. In particular, I want to learn how I can be an activist. I want more people to care and more people to get realize what the industrial food system is doing to our economy, environment and health.

  7. Oh my, where do I begin?! I would love to get some insight on how to better connect folks who want to become part of this food renaissance with my farm and products. I would also love to be able to figure out where to look for the regulations regarding that farm/consumer relationship. You also can’t beat rubbing elbows with other “crazy” farmers who speak your language! 🙂

  8. I want to LEARN! Around other people who CARE!

  9. I want to go so I can help ensure more successes in the coming legislative sessions. Current FARFA organizers have done AMAZING work over the last several years and must be exhausted. I want to help infuse some new energy and push this ball forward even further.


  10. I want to go because I am an eater. We as eaters are the final customer of the farm industry, and if we no longer support farmers and buy fresh organic produce and meat, the industry will suffer. And, I as an eater want to know what is in my food and what is being done to prevent the invasion of GMO’s and chemicals in the food I consume that is vital to my life. I want to know the seeds I buy for my family garden and the food for my children is free of pesticides and is as full of nutrition as possible. It is the voice of the eaters that can make changes, I am an eater of whole foods provided by farmers, I want my voice to outweigh the voice of the eaters of processed foods that will only make chemists rich.

  11. It would be great to see some old farm friends, engage in advocating for small farms and the families that care for them and help fight the good food fight.