UNITY — The Farmer to Farmer Conference, hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, is scheduled for Monday to Sunday, Nov. 1-7.

The conference offerings are based on the idea that farmers learn best from their peers and other practitioners. Speakers include prominent and accessible university faculty, extension educators and other agricultural professionals, and the unique workshop session format is dedicated to presenting talks by both service providers and farmers, and then opening up to a farmer discussion that capitalizes on the knowledge of all in attendance.

The 2021 conference will include a combination of virtual workshops and in-person farm tours. Attendees can learn from and engage with speakers who are farmers and service providers including peers and mentors from across Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania and other surrounding states.

The event will also feature farm tours across the state and a soils intensive on carbon sequestration led by Gladis Zinati of Rodale Institute on Saturday, Nov. 6. The conference sessions will take place on Monday, Nov. 1, Wednesday, Nov. 3 and Friday, Nov. 5 and will feature more than 20 sessions and 50 speakers.

Sessions include topics about shifting markets, fertility management and innovative cover cropping, farm efficiencies in the pack shed, climate and water management, pasture renovation and reclamation, equity, climate and agriculture, and tunnel management for temperature and humidity control.

Zinati is the director of the Vegetable Systems Trial at Rodale Institute and a soil scientist and horticulturist. Zinati has 30 years of experience conducting research on no-till practices, fertilizers, cover crops, compost formulations, and biological tools to improve soil and crop health.

Zinati will present her keynote speech, “Linking Soil Health to Plant Health: Connecting the Dots,” on Monday, Nov. 1. A healthy soil provides many functions that support plant growth, nutrient cycling, biological control of plant pests and regulation of water and air supply. Management practices as well as environmental factors play a role in building or declining soil health and consequently these factors impact plant health and nutrient density in harvested vegetables.

Zinati will elaborate on the factors that led to the less nutrient-dense crops that we currently produce and provide insights on how to produce nutrient-dense crops that enhance human health from the long-term Vegetable Systems Trial she is directing at Rodale Institute.

For more information and to register, visit mofga.org.

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