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January 2018- SSAWG Conference Reflections and New Years Farm Resolutions

Hello Farm Supporters!

I just returned from Chattanooga, Tennessee, where I was attending the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group's 2018 conference -- aka farmer vacation. It was a great four days of workshops, a farm tour, a trade show and networking. I'm inspired to get back to the farm and put what I learned to use!

Among many practical things I learned, the conference inspired me to re-visit my farm fertility plan and come up with a new record keeping system, and I got some new ideas on how to fight my ever-present nemesis, the harlequin bug!

However, the questions that have really been bouncing around my head since attending the conference are less practical and more about the current context I find myself farming in. The more I learn about the history of Black agricultural land loss, the more I have been thinking about reparations. How do those of us fighting for a just, thriving and sustainable agricultural system include reparations to Black farming communities as part of this movement? The second big question SSAWG 2018 left me with came from a workshop I attended on immigration and farm workers: What does a policy look like that treats undocumented farmworkers as full people, not agricultural commodities? How can farmers support the immigrant farmworkers that make up 50-70% of all US farmworkers?

I don't think we can build a sustainable food movement without addressing questions like these. There are many vitally important questions in this category. I'd love to hear about the big questions you have bouncing around your head when you think about building a sustainable and just food system.

Happy New Year! Farm Resolutions for 2018:

  • Keep better records! We want to keep more thorough transplanting, seeding and yield records. This will help us do more accurate farm planning for the next season.-

  • Stay on top of the farm email inbox! This one is pretty self explanatory.

  • Use more cover crops! We managed to use some cover crops in 2017 but we'd like to double our cover crop usage in 2018.

  • Put up more farm produce for winter use! I want to pickle, can, dehydrate and freeze even more of our farm bounty.

Liam Miller