Saturday Workshops

Registration opens 7 a.m. (Lobby), visit sponsors (Top of the Tower).

Coffee, tea and breakfast buffet 7 – 8:30 a.m.

Keynote at 8:30 a.m.

Photo courtesy Aleya Fraser

Photo courtesy Aleya Fraser

Innate Agrarian Artistry: Weaving Moments Into Movements

Aleya Fraser is a returning generation farmer from Baltimore, MD. She has been farming for the last 5 years on the ancestral lands of Harriet Tubman on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she grew a variety of fruits and vegetables for market and saved seeds for future generations on the farm that she co-founded named Black Dirt Farm.

 She came to farming through her ancestral background and through years of work in the outpatient, inpatient and research aspects of hospitals. It was through her education and these personal experiences that she began to understand food as medicine and also food as a tool for social change.

Breakout 1

10-11:30 a.m.

  • 50-50 in 2020: Step Up - West Room
    This seminar will cover the various pathways to running for state level public office, what you need to know before deciding to run, framing your answer to the “why” question, analyzing your chances of winning and building your initial campaign strategy.
    Speakers: Melissa Gesing, Executive Director, 50-50 in 2020 and Mary Ellen Miller, 50-50 in 2020 Board Member

  • Storytelling for Individual & Community Empowerment - North View
    Authoring your personal narrative empowers you to make change. This workshop explores why being a leader in your community requires a deep understanding of identity and positionality. We will apply systems thinking to develop our personal narratives and finding metaphors that resonate with our work and illuminate new approaches and strategies.
    Speaker: Kasey Armstrong, Market Manager – Somerville Mobile Farmer’s Market

  • Soil Health: A Foundation for Productivity and Sustainability - East Room
    Soil is the factory of our food. To meet the needs of a growing world population, it is critical to focus on the health and productivity of our soil. This session focuses on NRCS’ Soil Health Management Systems as related to consumer market demands and a holistic approach to sustainability.
    Speakers: Brianne Lowe, USDA-NRCS, State Biologist and Federal Women’s Program Manager; Stephanie McLain, USDA-NRCS


11:30 a.m.

Seasonal lunch buffet + program + Woman in Sustainable Agriculture award ceremony

Breakout 2

1:00-2:30 p.m.

  • A Better Food System for All: Dismantling White Supremacy in our Food Systems Work - North View
    By addressing the ways in which we as white people reify white supremacy in our everyday food systems work, we can build alliances — and a food system — that work for all of us. We’ll learn how our food system is built on white supremacy, and leave with tools to inform our anti-racist food system work into the future.
    Speakers: Christine Nobiss, Seeding Sovereignty; Dr. JohnElla Holmes, Kansas Black Farmers Association; Shelley Buffalo; Anna Johnson, WFAN Board Chair

  • Relying on Each Other: collective and co-operative land ownership, management, and marketing - East Room
    With corporate land consolidation and less equity for young people, we need different ways to steward our landscape. Hear the story of a worker-owned co-operative farm that accessed land through a collaboration among neighbors. We’ll dream together about organizing so that these ideas can take root in each of our communities.
    We’ll also hear from The Lake Pepin Local Food Group about their community successes and failures in taking the best steps forward to increase the volume of local produce sales using sustainable agriculture practice of collaborative direct marketing. They will share what they have learned to help you gain ideas to move forward cooperatively and increase local sales of produce in your community!
    Speakers: Hannah Breckbill, farmer at Humble Hands Harvest; Annelie Livingston-Anderson, Lake Pepin Local food Group Board Member and Good Turn Farm Owner; Sara George, D & S Gardens, Lake Pepin Local Food Group Board Member, Wabasha FM manager

  • The Power of Pollinators - West Room
    Pollinator populations are significantly declining which directly impacts us as 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat is possible because of pollinators. One of the best ways we can help is by creating pollinator-friendly habitat. Come find out how you can integrate pollinator habitat into your operation!
    Speakers: Kelsey Fleming, Senior Farm Bill Biologist, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever; Allie Rath, Farm Bill Biologist III, Iowa Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever; Laura Leben, Farm Bill Biologist I – Iowa Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever


2:30-3:00 p.m.

Visit our sponsors in the Top of the Tower

Breakout 3

3:00-4:00 p.m.

  • Growing Organics in Iowa: Cultivating success through collaboration and support - East Room
    Strong partnerships, experienced mentors and a culture of collaboration are critical for the expansion and success of Iowa’s growing organic industry. Cindy McCollough of Blue Stem Organics and Ortrude Dial of Three Sisters Farm will share objectives and experiences as organic processors and producers, and the role of the organic community in their success.
    Speakers: Rosalyn Lehman, executive director, Iowa Organic Association; Cindy McCollough, IOWA board member, owner and operator of Blue Stem Organics, an organic feedmill in Webster City; Ortrude Dial, owner and operator or Three Sisters Farm, an organic crop produce and 400 ewe farmer in Williams

  • WFAN Advocacy: Building Coalitions for Collective Power - Top of the Tower
    Together, we are stronger. The injustice embedded in the industrial food system affects us all. While individual activism has the potential to affect policies, strategic collective action is crucial to the realization of structural and systemic change. Join us for a discussion of the strengths and challenges of coalition building.
    Speakers: WFAN Advocacy Committee

  • Lead Your USDA - West Room
    Learn about leadership opportunities within the U.S. Department of Agriculture where you can help shape policy and programs, from your local county to the national level. Hear firsthand experiences from farmers serving on County Committees, Advisory Committees, and other roles, and leave with tips for success in navigating USDA.
    Speakers: Esther Lin, Outreach Specialist, USDA and other TBA

  • Beginning with Pastured Livestock - North View
    Interested in bringing animals onto your farm? Learn the basics of getting ready for animals, from selecting breeds to marketing the final product. This session will be an overview of pastured hog production, sheep, and laying chickens from three women farmers at different stages of farming and farm set up. This session will start with an overview of each woman’s farm operation including start up, some key lessons learned so far, and then will be opened up for a conversation about your goals, concerns and curiosities. Come with your questions and ideas!
    Speakers: Jen Vazquez Koster, Turkey Foot Farm; Maja Black, Sundog Farm, Susan Young, Lucky Star Farm


4:00-4:30 pm.

Visit our sponsors in the Top of the Tower


4:30-5:30 p.m.

Closing session: Creative Community Building – Join us to set individual and collective intentions before we leave.

5:30 p.m. Optional wrap-up gathering hosted by WFAN board in hotel lounge. Drinks and food will be on your own, but the fellowship is abundant and free!