Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Healthy Farms Conference Breakout Sessions III

A. Marketing Opportunities for New (and not so new) Sustainable Farmers  

A general summary of the marketing opportunities that any young farmer/producer could/should consider as they develop their enterprise. All of the opportunities – or at least as many as we have time to present. Our goal with this session is A “just the facts, ma’m” approach.

Tyler Magnuson, Cait Caughey; are young & beginning farmers at Botna Burrow in Hancock, Iowa, which is in its third year. They operate a diverse vegetable farm (Certified Naturally Grown) and collaborative CSA (Loess Hills cCSA). They are passionate about healthy food, organic practices, soil health, and family-friendly farm events (like Contra Dancing!). Cait also works as the Education Coordinator at Big Garden in

B. The Native Spirit, Pollinators & Diversity  

It seems like every day now brings another media report about the enormous environmental challenges facing our species. Climate change, biodiversity collapse, plant & animal extinctions, water scarcity, and soil degradation come to mind, among others. It’s hard to be optimistic some days. But there are several things people can do in their own yards and landscapes to address these challenges. One of the best things we can do for insect and animal biodiversity is to plant and celebrate regionally native plants. This session will highlight several woody and prairie plant species for attracting and sustaining biodiversity, including pollinator. 
Justin Evertson; has been involved with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and the Nebraska Forest Service since 1990. Since 2010 he has been Green Infrastructure Coordinator for the Community Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes unit of NFS/NSA.  Justin oversees programs that provide funding, technical assistance and educational outreach for sustainable landscape enhancements in communities across the state.  Justin has authored many publications with an emphasis on woody plant selections. He earned his architecture and community and regional planning degrees from UNL (1988/92). Justin grew up on a farm in Kimball County (far western Nebraska) where he learned an appreciation for shortgrass prairie and Nebraska’s wide-open spaces. Justin is passionate about trees, the native landscape, biodiversity and sustainable  landscape development.  He lives in Waverly where he plants many trees and works to enhance landscapes throughout the community.

C.  Nebraska Permaculture Design 

If you saw last year's presentation, you may still want to see this one. Gus has improved upon the same theme with more perspective for the Nebraskan farmstead. Gus makes the case for using every inch of your Nebraskan land to improve your efficiency, safety, community, maintenance, management, wildlife, productivity and enjoyment. Through permaculture practices and ethics, Gus demonstrates easy ways to get into farming resourcefully with practical design improvements that allow you to achieve success more easily.  Using climate change as an opportunity, he will also advocate for new ways to diversify the farm so the proverbial eggs are placed in many baskets. If you could use a different perspective on land management to improve your farm or to eventually purchase a farm, please check out Gus's presentation.
Gus Von Roenn; Gus is an advocate for permaculture and sustainable practices throughout Nebraska. He works through many organizations like the Nebraska Farmers Union, the Sierra Club, Nebraskans for Solar, Nebraska Sustainable Agricultural Society, the Metro Omaha Food Policy Council and Omaha Permaculture to elevate the discussion of issues surrounding healthy food accessibility, land stewardship and entrepreneurship in low-income communities. His academic background is in anthropology, sociology, archaeology and permaculture while working in landscaping, photography and home remodeling to pay off school. Currently, Gus is a certified permaculture designer with his own Permaculture design consulting firm and landscaping crew to install the designs. He is also the founder of a nonprofit called Omaha Permaculture that accepts degraded, vacant land for restoration while providing space to incubate agriculture-related entrepreneurial opportunities.  As an advocate for everything Permaculture and sustainability in Nebraska, he likes to help many organizations teach their constituents the limitless opportunities that create abundance in all of our communities for all of us to share. 

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