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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Conference

Three Texas-based organizations and a Texas office of a national nonprofit are combining forces to host the 2021 Southern Family Farmers & Food Systems Conference from August 8 through 10 at Texas State University.

Uniting farmers, ranchers, cottage food producers, homesteaders, home gardeners, local foods activists and enthusiasts, the conference will address the COVID-19 pandemic with a spotlight on systemic injustice and how each impact our food systems.

Keynote speakers include Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures, in Bluffton, Georgia., and author, artist and activist Lyla June Johnston, from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Harris is recognized as a worldwide leader in humane animal husbandry and environmental sustainability. Johnston’s messages focus on Indigenous rights, supporting youth, traditional land stewardship practices and healing intergenerational and intercultural trauma.

 The conference will have sessions focused on policies and activism centered on food and agriculture with topics such as raising livestock and crops sustainably, business and finance, technologies for small farms, and current research.

Sunday’s preconference workshops ($25 for half-day and $45 for full-day) are specifically designed for farmers and ranchers, offering in-depth training on small farm marketing, building a regulatory compliant produce wash-and-pack station, avoiding the circumstances that can make farms fail and creating and running a cooperative. Monday and Tuesday is $165 to $190. Scholarships are available to farmers, ranchers, and other local food producers.

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has a 15-year history of successfully advocating for national, state and local policies that support the success of independent farms and local food producers. Its sister nonprofit, the Council for Healthy Food Systems, provides education and research relating to local food systems. The Small Producers Initiative is a USDA-funded program housed in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at Texas State University with a mission to provide research, outreach and extension to small, mid-sized, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers in Texas.


For registration and more information, visit