Alcona Regional Farm Conference

8 a.m. - 5 p.m. February 10, 2018
Lost Lake Woods Club

At the first Alcona Regional Farm Conference on Saturday, keynote speaker Kristine Ranger addressed the farming lifestyle and its relationship to concepts from individual lives to legacies for the community. Ms. Ranger is an Alcona County native who now lives in Dewitt and has been in agricultural education and consulting for more than a quarter of a century. Her talk was among the highlights of the conference organized by Inspiration Alcona’s food-related committee, Farm to Fork Alcona.

A total of 16 speakers, in breakout sessions both morning and afternoon, covered not just the financial aspects of farming, but also how to find help with all sorts of practical problems as well as local farmers relating their own success stories. Speakers and vendors represented Greenstone Farm Credit Services, the USDA Farm Services Agency, Alcona Conservation District, Taste the Local Difference, the MSU Extension, the Alcona FFA chapter, as well as several local farms.

The most crowded of the breakout sessions were individual success stories. Said one attendee, “Hearing success stories of local farmers gives me hope for the future of local farms in northeast Michigan!”  

More than 90 people came to the event at Lost Lake Woods Club as listeners, vendors, speakers and volunteers, despite a few cancellations for illness or, in one speaker’s case, the heavy snow downstate.

About two dozen people came to a Friday evening reception, where they enjoyed wine, beer and cheese and snacked on s’mores before going on an hour-long hayride through the Lost Lake forest.

Breakfast and lunch were among the highlights of the day, with an egg-and-sausage casserole and pancakes with Michigan maple syrup at the first meal. Lunch featured a spicy butternut squash soup, beef pasties from Kathy’s Pasties of Harrisville, and an apple crisp for dessert. The meals were Certified Local Food events through the Taste the Local Difference organization.

Attendees created a constant buzz during meals talking about what they heard at the conference, networking with others or just catching up with old friends. One participant commented, “I'd pay $25 just to come back again for the breakfast and lunch food!”

Inspiration Alcona board member and conference organizer Maureen Castern said, “What a pleasure to be able to bring together so many who are working to improve our community – they do work that really matters to people’s lives.”
The audience for the farm conference filled the auditorium at Lost Lake Woods Club.
One of the success stories, this one about raising pastured chickens, came from Waneta Cook.
The MSU Extension display offered help to local farmers from the state agency.
Vendors answered questions from participants during the afternoon sessions.
Between talks, the audience found time to talk among themselves.

To donate to Farm to Fork Alcona

If you would like to donate to Farm to Fork Alcona, send a check in whatever amount you like to our parent group, Inspiration Alcona, at PO Box 506, Lincoln, MI 48742 with a note that your donation is for the Farm to Fork program; or click on the Donate button below to use PayPal or a credit card. We appreciate donations of all sizes for our effort to encourage more agricultural activity in Alcona County.
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