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Sustainable Farming Conference and Taste of Virginia Expo Coming To Roanoke

The Virginia Association for Biological Farming (VABF) — Virginia’s premier organization for biological and organic farmers, gardeners, foodies, educators, advocates and supporters of sustainable agriculture — has opened registration to record sales for its 23rd annual conference to be held at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, January 6-8, 2023.

This year’s conference features two dynamic, prominent women speakers, Dr. Elizabeth Ingham of the Soil Food Web School and Leah Penniman, founding Co-Director of Soul Fire Farm. Dr. Ingham has significantly advanced our knowledge about the soil food web for over 4 decades.

Widely recognized as the world’s foremost soil biologist, she is passionate about empowering ordinary people to bring the soils in their community back to life.  Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land. These women represent two the most important issues facing agriculture today. Many other well-known speakers including Jeff Poppen, Pam Dawling, Ira Wallace, Mark Jones, and Cindy Conner are sharing their knowledge during this conference.

The Conference boasts three days of educational workshop intensives, presentations, and networking opportunities. Conference goers can choose to attend from over 60 concurrent sessions in 9 educational tracks including Homesteading/Beginning Farmer, Soil Health & Regenerative Grazing, Business & Systems, Crop Production, Specific Crops, Seed Saving, Permaculture & Agroforestry, Microbial, Bugs, & Compost, and Building Equity in Agriculture. The Conference features locally-sourced, farm-to-table meals prepared by the chefs at The Hotel Roanoke, book sales and author signings, regional meetings, intimate fireside chats, and morning yoga for farmers. Highlights include the Taste of Virginia Expo & Market, a Silent Auction, a Trade Show, and a feature film presentation.

On Saturday, Jan.7, 2023, from 2-9 p.m., local food and libation vendors will set up shop in The Hotel Roanoke’s Crystal Ballroom for the Taste of Virginia Expo. Visitors can sample a diverse array of Virginia produced food, beverages, herbals and handicrafts. At 7:30 p.m. the music begins and the market becomes an evening social. Taste of Virginia is free and open to the public.

The 23rd annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference is hosted by VABF in partnership with Virginia State University College of Agriculture and Virginia Cooperative Extension. Discounted VABF member and student rates are available as well as discounted rooms at the Hotel Roanoke. In addition, there are opportunities to volunteer and exciting Sponsorship and Exhibitor opportunities.

Register for the conference at For more information, contact Terry Connell at [email protected].

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