North Coast Opportunities is bringing together food producers from Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, Sonoma, Marin, and Napa counties, along with food and farming support organizations for the 4th Annual North Coast Farmers Convergence on Tuesday, March 1st. Food producers, local retailers, and local food advocates from across the region will come together at Ridgewood Ranch, just south of Willits, for a facilitated day of networking, sharing skills and ideas, and celebrating the re-building of a resilient local food system.
The Convergence is an opportunity for the farming community to come together to learn and connect while honoring the profession of farming. Farmers, ranchers, dairy producers, seed growers, beekeepers, grain growers, vendors, buyers, retailers, and food producer supporters from organizations like California FarmLink, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, and the Grange Farm School will join arms to build a network of support while sharing best practices.
There will be two keynote messages. Gregarious farmer Paul Kaiser of Singing Frogs Farm will share philosophies and strategies around building a farm that lasts. And, Mendo Lake Food Hub Coordinator John Bailey will reveal plans for the second year of the Food Hub including an introduction of the Grown Local brand. Steve May of Surf Market in Gualala will share the success he’s had with the Grown Local branding, which has increased revenue at his locally-owned store and increased profits for local food producers. In addition, Event participants will also discuss a range of topics in roundtables, and enjoy two locally produced meals. “I’ve referred to talks I heard at the 3rd Annual Convergence multiple times throughout the year,” says Caroline Radice of Black Dog Farm. “It was worth every minute that I attended, and I can’t wait to go again this year.”
The event is supported by many local sponsors, including Mendo Lake Credit Union, Mendocino County Farm Bureau, Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, University of California Research and Extension Center Services,Mendo Lake Food Hub, Grown Local Mendo/Lake, West Company, Dripworks, and the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.
A small registration fee includes a breakfast snack, a local lunch, and drinks. Attendees must register in advance, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds and scholarships are available. Space is limited, and early registration is encouraged by visiting: http://2016convergence.brownpapertickets.com/
“It’s inspiring to see our local food producers, schools, supporters, and businesses breathe life into the vision of a vibrant and resilient local food system,” says Miles Gordon, Food Systems Director at North Coast Opportunities. “Together we’re building a structure that will benefit every aspect of our local community. The North Coast Farmers Convergence is an opportunity for folks to gain access to resources, people, and programs they may not have known existed. Our intent is to have Convergence attendees leave the event prepared, and inspired for the growing season ahead.”
Photo Credit: Thomas Delgado