ReRooting the Emerging Farmers Conference
January 2021 marked the 16th year of the annual Emerging Farmers Conference (EFC). Over the last 16 years, this conference has reached more than 2,500 farmers from 36 cultures, 26 states, and three countries. Since its inception in 2005, the event has undergone many changes, including a name change (originally the Immigrant & Minority Farmers Conference), shifts in the cultural groups served, efforts to decenter whiteness, and the move to a virtual format at the beginning of 2020 due to COVID-19.
Moving forward, we will hold the next full conference in November 2022. This annual conference has touched many farmers’ lives and has much to be proud of; yet, there is still a need for improvement, innovation, and change.
We are using this year to transition from a January to a November timeline by hosting an invite-only listening session with valued farmers, planning committee members, and sponsors to help shape the conference’s future. During this transition, we will continue to actively work towards decolonizing the conference and will create spaces for emerging farmers to provide input about the direction of this annual event and its evolution.
Thank you for your patience as we transition to a full conference again in the fall of 2022.
The 16th Annual Emerging Farmers Conference
Reclaiming our Voices: For Farmers, by Farmers, with Farmers
The 16th Annual Emerging Farmers Conference was held virtually on January 27 – 30, 2021.
Learn more at emergingfarmers.org
The annual Emerging Farmers Conference serves to advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the education and resources necessary to build profitable agricultural businesses, including immigrant farmers and farmers of color.
This innovative conference focuses primarily on the needs and interests of these farmers, and supports their contributions to local economic development and building healthy communities. It does so by connecting farmers, farm advocates, educators, professionals, experts, and agency officials.
The Emerging Farmers Conference (EFC) is FREE for all farmers and language interpretation in 2021 is available in Swahili, Spanish, Karen, Burmese, Kirundi, Hmong, Nepali, Arabi, Mai Mai/ kizigoua, and Somali. Interpretation is based on registration. (We do our best to accommodate all farmers, but cannot guarantee interpretation for last-minute registrations.)
2018 Emerging Farmers Conference
The Emerging Farmers Conference is a program of Big River Farms. It is planned and hosted by a collaborative of farmers and volunteers, government, nonprofit, and University of Minnesota personnel.
This conference provides education and resources, fosters relationships between farmers and community partners, and empowers participants to lead change in their communities through healthy food access, education, and economic opportunity.
- RESOURCES – Farmers obtain a deeper understanding of resources available to them and methods by which they can access those resources to support and grow their farming businesses. For example, farmers will be provided with financial plans, soil maps, and contact information for organizations who provide land leasing and purchase information.
- CONNECTIONS – Valuable connections are made between local farmers, vendors, organizations, and community groups which support emerging farmer populations and strengthen all components of the local food system.
- KNOWLEDGE – Farmers gain specific, hands-on knowledge which is directly applicable to their farm businesses and will increase the success of their farm operations. For example, farmers will leave with a deeper understanding of weed management or production techniques for specialty crops. Organizations and community stakeholders gain exposure to a deeper understanding of the contributions immigrant and minority farmers make to the local food system, and the importance of supporting sustainable agricultural practices in their communities.
- EMPOWERMENT – Conference participants are empowered to enact change in their local communities, specifically in the areas of racial equity and sustainable agriculture as they relate to the local food system. For example, participants will have the opportunity to connect with other farmers in our collaborative problem solving workshop. This facilitated discussion aims to foster relationships between farmers, allows them a space to talk about common challenges, and find solutions to those challenges.
Interested farmers and community members who have questions may contact us at [email protected] or 651-433-3676.