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Conference to Focus on Sustainable Agriculture


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2010

CONTACT: Debbie Carter, Extension information officer, 907-474-5406, dscarter@alaska.edu

Fairbanks—Home gardeners, farmers and the public are invited to the sixth annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference and Organic Growers School March 17 at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge.

A variety of producers, agencies and researchers from around the state will talk about sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is an approach to farming that is good for the environment and the community, according to conference organizer Michele Hebert, agriculture and horticulture agent for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service.

The featured speaker is Chris Blanchard of Rock Spring Farm in Iowa. Blanchard will talk about the basics of community-supported agriculture and his family-owned organic farm. Community-supported agriculture operations sell fresh, local produce directly to consumers, who subscribe to the service. The Blanchards follow strict organic guidelines to grow their produce without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, said Hebert. They take the practice one step further by using composts, beneficial insect habitat and organic minerals to buffer the effects of pests, diseases and weather.

Other speakers will talk about energy-efficient insulated panel greenhouses, wind machines, season extensions, funding opportunities, chicken ranching, farm soil fertility and weed suppression. A panel will discuss food security and how to increase the available food supply in the state.

The conference fee is $55 and includes lunch and snacks. Preregistration is requested for planning purposes. Two free preconference activities on March 16 include a commercial growers school with Blanchard from 1-4:30 pm. and tour of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center from 2-4:30 p.m. Preregistration is required for both. See a full conference schedule or download a registration form at www.uaf.edu/ces.

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