Saturday, February 11, 2012

Women, Farms & Food Conference, 2012 and First Free Seed Start Giveaway Contest!

Imagine a large, comfortable room filled with 90 women on a sunny Saturday morning in Mount Vernon, WA.   They're young, they're middle aged,   they're retired and raising sheep to mow their lawns. It's a multi-cultural group. Actually, these women are from as far away as British Columbia and Duvall, though most are from Whatcom, Skagit, Island and northern Snohomish County. They are here with a purpose:  to learn as much as they can about successful strategies for sustaining small farms.

The energy is palpable.  The women understand that there is a big gap in the market for small and midsized farms. The question is how to be successful, and during the morning we are blessed with excellent speakers who tackle that huge question succinctly:

  • Lyn Garling (Over The Moon Farm)

  • Shelly Muzzall (3 Sisters Family Farms)

  • Serena Hedlin (Hedlin Family Farms)

  • Patricia Lovejoy (Arlington Garden Treasures)

  • They encourage us:  The public wants to know where their food comes from, they want to know their food is safe, that they are eating "real food."  Communities like ours support their local farmers, and want to know their farmer.  Their comments included: "You have to know your numbers," "Remember to be grateful every day," "Direct marketing must include social media, including Facebook, your website, a blog and Linked-In."

    This conference also had audience breakout groups, and these terrific women shared great information (start your peppers and tomatoes now inside or in greenhouses to have vigorous healthy plants when it warms up), the best farmer's markets, how getting certified as an organic farm, etc.

    After a very delicious lunch catered by Cafe Burlington (check out their website and try them-great philosophy and food), "recovered procrastinator" Rita Emmett shared invaluable tips to make us more productive. 
      I loved this slide with a quote from Michael Jordan.
    Thanks to WSU, we all took home an autographed copy The Procrastinator's Handbook; Mastering the Art of Doing It Now.
    So I've come home to Tiny Tim's Garden determined to give back the generosity I received today--and try out my greenhouse.  So, I'm announcing my First Whatcom County Seed Starts Giveaway Contest.  Here's how it works:  Monday I'm going to plant spinach, Swiss Chard, cabbage, chives and the other plants recommended by The starts should be nice and strong and ready to plant by mid - late March.

    To win, leave me a comment with the three starts you'd most like to have ready to plant in your garden.  Tiny Tim and I will pick the winner at random. So good luck, and if you're a gardener, don't forget to check out the WSU Extension website for great info.

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