2016 26.2 San Juan Islands Ag Summit
Gleanings From the San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit (February 2016)
In February more than 250 local farmers, regional experts and local food system advocates gathered together in Friday Harbor for a weekend of education and networking at the 4th Annual San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit (Ag Summit), under the theme of “Regeneration.”
The weekend was filled with information sharing and interactive learning during three days of workshops, events and inspirational speakers and conversations. Friday offered hands-on educational events, including farm planning, orchard pruning, butchery and bread baking with local grains. Saturday offered a full day of workshop sessions in six different topic tracks. The 24 sessions spanned a range of educational topics, ranging from water management, internships and employees on the farm, agritourism, value-added production, planned rotational grazing, food safety on the farm, climate change and soil, and beginning and transitioning farms.
Washington FarmLink’s program manager Sarah Lowry led workshops on farmland transition along with a panel of other experts, including Severine von Tscharner Fleming of Agrarian Trust and attorney Ryan Vancil of Vancil Law Offices on Bainbridge Island. Farmland transition workshops included the topics of innovative solutions for farmland changing hands and legal issues and land assessment for farmers connecting to farmland. The theme of “Regeneration” was embraced throughout the weekend with palpable feelings of kinship as local farmers— from new to those nearing retirement—came together to celebrate and learn from each other.