"Women Transforming the Landscape" is the theme of the 2012 annual meeting of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network. It's set for Friday and Saturday January 20-21, at the Best Western Marquis Plus, located at 1810 Army Post Road, Des Moines, Iowa. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend.
Keynote speakers are Debra Eschmeyer, founder of FoodCorps, and Christie Vilsack, wife of former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack. Tom Vilsack is currently serving as USDA Secretary of Agriculture. Christie Vilsack is running as a Democrat against incumbent Republican Congressman Steve King in Iowa's 4th Congressional district—which covers a large portion of western Iowa.
Eschmeyer is an organic farmer from Ohio, a Food and Society Fellow, and founder of FoodCorps—the first national volunteer service program for young people working for food security in limited-resource communities. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University is a co-sponsor of this year's WFAN conference.
A number of interesting speakers and workshop topics will be featured
Saturday workshop topics include how to write a farm business plan, developing marketable heirloom skills (such as backyard poultry production and food preservation), leading change in your community, and women landowners telling their farm transition stories. Here are the daily agenda highlights:
FRIDAY: From 2 to 4 p.m. is registration. At 4:30 p.m. there will be a progressive tasting tour of three of Des Moines's premiere restaurants featuring locally sourced foods and wines. At 7:30 p.m. there will be "Wine, Women and Song"—a public networking event at Jasper Winery in Des Moines. It will feature this wine maker's award winning wines, plus other locally produced products such as chocolates. Music will be furnished by Mary McAdams, artwork by Mary Muller and a reading by Mary Swander from her play "Farmscape: Documenting the Changing Rural Environment."
SATURDAY: The program begins at 9 a.m. with Debra Eschmeyer's keynote presentation. At 10:30 a.m. a panel discussion by women who are "transforming the landscape" in their local communities will take place. At noon there will be a luncheon featuring locally grown foods. Former first lady of Iowa Christie Vilsack will be the featured speaker at the luncheon, talking about women developing leadership skills. At 1:15 p.m. the first set of workshops will be held. At 2:30 p.m. the second set will be held. Click here for the full agenda and contact information to register for the conference--or to get more information. Also, you can phone Leigh Adcock at 515-460-2477 or Lynn Heuss at 515-201-9405.