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Winter Conference 2017

"Local Food: A 'Growing' Revolution"

Saturday, February 4th, 9AM - 3:15PM

Where: Batesville Middle School

Again this year, we will be hosting two educational tracks: one for producers/growers and another for consumers and home gardeners. As always, you are invited to attend talks in either track! Topics include:

  • Closed-loop farming

  • Small farm profitability

  • Season extension using high and low tunnels

  • Q&A with a panel of experienced farmers

  • Fermentation

  • Canning

  • Cheesemaking

  • Medicinal mushrooms and wild edible foraging

Lunch will be provided as a "Taste of Southeast Indiana" from area restaurants paired with our local farmers! 


New this year, a children's program for ages 3-10 will be available to the children of conference attendees. It will include lunch and lessons about farming and local food! 


Invite your friends along to check out our winter market vendor area, featuring locally produced foods and other items, as well as informational booths from area organizations. The vendor area will be free and open to the public from 9-11am. 

If you are interested in becoming a vendor , email us at


Registration is open now, and tickets are limited! Sign up through our Eventbrite page!

2017 Speaker Bios - Producer Track


Key Note Speaker - Nathan Boone, Organic Produce and Grain Farmer, Boone Family Farm

Finding your farm’s path – tools for the journey - Nathan will speak about his years of experiences in farming from which he has learned key tools to grow a succesful farming business. A few key areas he'll share is knowledge about are working with wholesale markets, how to spot a good potential account, food safety procedures, scaling up or down, and so much more. Nathan will... also provide a look at the intimate side of farming, being real about your stress levels, personal intention and goals (what's important and why), the current assessment of your operation (how it's feeling & finances), current AND potential markets (how solid are they?). Don't miss out on this dynamic speaker. 

Nathan grew up farming with his father, uncle and grandfather on a conventional grain and livestock operation in Boone County, Indiana. After graduating from DePauw University with a degree in geology, he migrated West to explore organic food production. In 1998, he was hired by Seeds of Change to manage their 7 acre certified organic research farm in Northern New Mexico. Shortly after, Nathan moved to Sonoma County, California to manage Oak Hill Farm, a well established 40 acre organic operation specializing in produce, ornamentals and field-grown flowers. 

After managing these farms, Nathan launched his own operation, First Light Farm in Sebastopol,CA. Within 5 years, First Light Farm grew into a dynamic 20 acre operation marketing through a CSA program, farm stand, 5 farmers markets, a  pumpkin patch, restaurant accounts and wholesale distribution to 6 Whole Food Markets stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In 2015, Nathan sold First Light Farm and moved back to Indiana to take over the family farm Boone Family Farms is 200 acres with 70 acres currently in transition to organic certification. In 2016, Nathan purchased an OXBO Pixall 1-row green bean picker to produce green beans on 22 acres of transitional ground for a contract he negotiated with a processor. 2018 will be the first certified organic production. In the meantime, the farm will produce transitional green beans on contract, alfalfa/orchardgrass hay and grain.




Marc Luff, a Batesville native, began farming after finishing college. He currently operates 50 acre Finn Meadows Farm in Montgomery, Ohio with his wife, Claire. Using organic practices on their farm they raise organic vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers and various pastured meats for their CSA program. Marc and Claire have been featured in several Southwest Ohio publications. Their newest project, Aberlin Springs, is Ohio’s very first agri-community! The Luffs have a strong commitment to leaving the land better than they found it. Marc will be speaking about the closed loop methods he uses to make his farming profitable. They sell their products (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, vegetables, and some fruits) primarily through their CSA. 







Chris Merkel manages Michaela Farm in Oldenburg, which is owned by the Sisters of St. Francis. Michaela Farm uses natural farming techniques, no synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are used. They use a variety of sustainable, natural practices to maintain the soil and minimize pest problems. Insect barriers, crop rotation, and companion plating help protect crops from insects. Mulch, compost, animal manure, green manure, crop rotation and cover cropping help maitain and improve soil conditions.  Michaela Farm provides food to the Motherhouse as well as to the public through a seasonal CSA and farm store. Their offerings include transplants, vegetables, fruits, herbs, grass fed beef, and eggs. Chris will be speaking about season extension practices, including row covers and high and low tunnels.


2017 Speakers - Consumer Track


Kate Freeland will be sharing her passion for all things fremented, as well as the art of making sourdough. Come learn about fermentation and how good adding these types of foods into your diet is for you. 


Melissa Watkins interested in learning how to can but don't know where to begin, join us for an informative talk about canning. We'll go over the tools, tips we've learned and many different types of foods you can can. 


Matt Nobbe owner of 5 Oaks Garden Center, February is never too early to plan your garden. Matt will be talking about gardening. If you have questions about gardening, Matt's the guy to ask.


Bonnie Robbins owner of Tub Creek Farm, Bonnie makes and sells delicious cheeses at the Farmer's Market made out of milk from her goats. She will be teaching us how to make one of these tasty cheeses. 


Dr. Trent Austin, Kristen Giesting and Michael Hood will teach us about foraging wild mushrooms and other edible plants. There's an entire meal out in your backyard and the woods by your house. Come to learn what to look for and where to find it.

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