Leeseberg Farms Cow

Alcona Regional Farm Conference : Bringing It Back to the Northeast

Event, Find Local Food, Get Involved, Molly Stepanski

Farm to Fork Alcona will be hosting the Alcona Regional Farm Conference – Growing for Profit in Northeast Michigan Saturday, February 10th. Local farmers will be able to take advantage of two breakout sessions, one addressing critical info for business development such as how to measure the financial success of their farm; how to write a business plan and obtain credit; how to work more productively with state agencies; how to become MAEAP certified; how to raise livestock for sale; and how to sell produce beyond farmers markets. Come hear success stories from Leeseberg Farms, Cook Family Farm, Standen Acres, Presque Isle Farm, and the Wandering Winds Farm.

The keynote speaker will be Kristine Ranger, a Agri-food Industry Development Leader and Michigan Farmers Union Board Member, as well as an Alcona native. Kristine has spent most of her professional career educating others about food and farming and advocating for agriculture and local food systems.

cook-family-farm-girl-petting-sheep2-summer-2016-300x200Additionally, this conference will be a Certified Local Food Event, with pasties being handmade by The Fruit of the Spread Cannery and Bakery, stuffed with Leeseberg Farms beef and Presque Isle Farm potatoes, and coffee served by Alcona Coffee Company. (Stay tuned to our Facebook pages Taste the Local Difference and Certified Local Food Events to hear more about the delectable dishes that will be available throughout the conference)

The Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference was held in Grayling for almost 15 years, until recently when it outgrew that facility and now has more than 1,000 attendees annually in Traverse City. The fact that northeastern Michigan is again becoming the home to a small farm conference seems to be a harbinger of things to come; the area has been attracting some attention with its local food movement. More restaurants and businesses that can highlight their fresh, seasonal offerings are popping up from Standish to Cheboygan and all along the Sunrise Side. Just last year, a 33,000 square foot building was purchased by the city of Grayling to transform it into the Northern Market, a destination and community center that brings attention to healthy local foods while providing an affordable space for farmers and entrepreneurs to accelerate their food businesses. This sister of Detroit’s Eastern Market is scheduled to open in 2019.

Farm to Fork Alcona is an initiative that is part of Inspiration Alcona, a Farm to Fork Alcona Logononprofit arts and culture organization promoting the beauty of Alcona. This initiative is working to help Alcona County become home to the farm-to-fork movement. The Alcona Regional Farm Conference, is a one-day conference held on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, from 9am-5pm at Lost Lake Woods Club in Alcona County.  Registrations will be limited to 100, and will focus on attracting farmers and future farmers from the entire Northeast Michigan area from Cheboygan to Standish.

Cost: Early bird fee of $25 before January 27, 2018; after this date, $35 registration. Fee includes breakfast, lunch, breakout sessions, handouts, door prizes, and more.

Optional: Attend the Friday Meet & Greet Reception for $5. Dress warmly; a hayride is included.

Register here by Feb. 3 at Inspiration Alcona or call 989-335-4112.

 

Photo credits: Leeseberg Farms and Cook Family Farm

 

Molly Stepanski is the local food coordinator for Northeast Michigan. She also operates Presque Isle Farm with her husband, Dion, and son, Sawyer. Contact her at molly@localdifference.org

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