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Annual Winter Conference 2018

Presenter Spotlight:


“Planting the seeds for Healthy Farms and Families”

Saturday February 3rd

Batesville Middle School

9am – 3pm

This year we will have a full schedule of incredible speakers for both the consumer and producer track. Due to popular demand The Vendor Market and Taste of Southeast Indiana returns. 

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Richard Andres of Tantré Farm:


Tantré Farm has been an organic farm since 1993. We are located about 20 miles west of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our fruit crops include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pears, and melons. We grow about 80 to 100 varieties of vegetables and a small variety of herbs and flowers. In addition to that, we have a dog, some cats, a small flock of chickens, a few pigs, and a small herd of dairy cows. 

RICHARD ANDRES is a farmer, philosopher and former carpenter who has developed one of the largest and most successful certified organic CSA farm in Michigan. Richard’s background includes employment on a farm as a teenager and 5 years at the Ann Arbor and Toronto Zen Buddhist temples. During Richard’s early career, he worked as a timber-frame carpenter. In 1993 he purchased the original 40 acre Tantré Farm property while continuing to work as a carpenter. He achieved organic certification that year and began growing staple crops like potatoes, peppers and melons for market. Richard turned to work as a full-time farmer when he and his wife, Deb Lentz, transitioned Tantré Farm into a full-fledged Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm with 30 members in 2001. Now with over 300 members, Richard and Deb grow over 100 different types of organic fruits and vegetables annually, along with herbs, mushrooms, and flowers. Deb and Richard have expanded Tantré Farm to 115 acres, with a dynamic community of about 5 employees and 10 interns every season.

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Ben Cohen of Small House Farm:


 Ben Cohen is the owner of Small House Farms which is located on the edge of the Huron Forest, on the outskirts of the village of Sanford, MI. Small House was built in the fall of 2013. Small House specializes in cold pressed oils and a number of other unique products for the health conscious, Earth friendly consumer. 

Ben has also worked tirelessly over the past few years to develop a network of heirloom seed libraries and seed stewards across his home state of Michigan. He has worked hand in hand to help a number of new seed banks become established as well as equip these communities with the tools they need for their projects to thrive.  

“In today’s world it is more important than ever for every community to have an independent and reliable source of fresh food. A localized seed bank is essential to making this possible. Every neighborhood needs to stand up and reclaim these traditional skills that were once vital to our existence.”

Ben is a practicing herbalist and hosts workshops throughout the Midwest teaching about the many benefits of locally grown and wild harvested plants. Ben & Heather Cohen are members of the Valley Herb Society in Midland, MI. Ben Cohen teaches Seed Saving classes and is an avid seed saver.  Small House is a grow-out location for Gardens Across America, which is a program founded by the Botanical Explorer, Joe Simcox.  Because of Ben’s dedication and love for the program, he recently took on the position of Gardens Across America Regional Coordinator of the U.S. Central Region.

To learn more about Small House Farm please visit




Richard will share his successful transition from carpenter to growing the one of the largest organic farms in Michigan. Come listen to Richard's story and the business advice he offers on successful vegetable farming and CSA programs.


“Seed to Seed; Closing the Gap in Sustainable Farming

Saving seeds is an essential practice for maintaining a sustainable 'closed circuit' farm operation. Local food is only as local as the seed supply. Seeds are just as vital as healthy soil, clean water and market access. Regionally adapted and locally grown seeds are paramount to a secure food system.


Roy Ballard - Agriculture and Natural Resources Hancock County - Roy will share information about the Foodlink program and SARE grants and resources.

Michael O'Donnell - Organic and Diversified Agriculture Educator- Addressing the Issues with Pesticide Drift




-KEYNOTE SPEAKER Ben Cohen of Small House Farm:

"Healthy Living With Herbs" (this is a basic presentation for people new to herbalism) Learn the many health benefits of herbs that are easy to grow at home. Recognize 'weeds' in the wild that you can harvest. Discover how to harness the power of these plants by making teas, infusions, tinctures, salves and more!

"Wildcrafted Herbs and Fresh Pressed Oils; How Locally Sourced Ingredients are a Recipe for Success" (talk given this fall for the International Herb Association)

In this session we will be exploring the value of using wildcrafted, locally grown herbs from one’s own bio-region. We will compare quality, potency and sustainability of locally sourced herbs versus store bought. We will also discuss small scale oil production for use in herbal formulations and why freshly cold pressed oils are superior to the commercial alternatives.

-Richard Andres of Tantré Farm: Seasonal Eating: How to eat with the seasons

During the summer it's easy to incorporate fresh produce into your diet with home gardens and Farmer's Markets. What do we eat when the summer growing season comes to an end? Learn the importance and know-how of Seasonal Eating and incorporating it into your diet. 


-Ronak Shah, KIPP Indy Public Schools:  


Ronak Shah is a seventh grade science teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep Middle in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to teaching, Mr. Shah leads a weekly cooking and gardening club for his middle school students. Mr. Shah's food education work has been featured in the documentary Food First which premiered in the summer of 2016. His writing about student nutrition and food security has been featured in NUVO Magazine.

Eating Your Vegetables: How to trick kids into loving healthy food.

Presentation: Strategies for investing kids in eating and liking the taste of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Cooking, gardening, and leadership development and stories of students who have experienced health and mindset shifts through their experience with the program. 

Cooking Demo: Swapping out unhealthy ingredients for inexpensive healthy alternatives

-Rachel Mifsud, Will Forage for Food: 







Rachel is the founding member of Will Forage for Food, a community that promotes knowledge of wild foods and other wilderness, off-grid, and homesteading skills. As a child Rachel often camped, hunted, trapped, and harvested and preserved foods with her family. Through years of practice, her family has learned to gather, process, produce, and preserve a large proportion of the foods, medicines, and household products that they need. In addition to her life experience, she has formal education and work experience. She has a BS in Environmental Biology and an MS in Ecology, and has worked as a biologist, ecologist, and instructor throughout the Great Lakes Region. She is a lifelong student of the environment and traditional skills, with a special interest in understanding why nature creates those characteristics that give plants and animals their unique and useful qualities. 

Introduction to foraging – Do your shopping in the woods. Reasons to forage & Principles of foraging

Is there enough wild food out there to keep you alive and healthy? Is it really possible to gather enough to feed yourself and your family? What are the benefits of learning to forage? And how does finding, harvesting, preparing, and storing wild foods compare to buying, preparing, and storing commercial foods? Come and find out! Nature is my grocery store. Roughly half of my family’s winter food and most of our summer food, along with many of our medicines, personal care products, and household cleaners come from the woods, fields, and wetlands around our home.  

In this presentation I will provide an overview of foraging basics in a 1 hour lecture followed by a question and answer session. We will consider the practicality of learning to forage and discuss nutrition as it relates to a foraged diet. We will also cover foraging for non-food items. I will review the fundamental principles of gathering and explain annual foraging cycles. Recommendations for guidebooks, websites, and classes will be provided.    


-Dr. Trent Austin Returns! Natural Medicine and Medicinal Mushrooms

Dr. Trent Austin is back to discuss the benefits of natural medicine and medicinal mushrooms.

Dr. Austin has over 14 years of clinical experience. Over these years he began to realize a need to help patients suffering from the harmful side effects of prescription medications used to manage chronic illness/disease.

It was through his personal experience with high blood pressure that he began the search for natural treatment options. During his research he realized that treating symptoms was NOT the answer. He had to find the "Root Cause" and treat appropriately. It was through his love of nature that he discovered some alternative treatment options that ultimately led to helping his patients.

Today, Dr. Austin has a thriving practice of patients seeing remarkable success through these Natural options. 






If you have locally grown or handmade items and would like to be a vendor, please email us at

We have a great line up of speakers for both the producer and consumer tracks. 

Back by popular demand the Winter Market featuring vendors selling locally grown or handmade items.

Association 2018 Winter  Conference Schedule

 Producers   Consumer  




9:00 - 10:00Richard Andres - Tantre Farm 9:00 - 10:00Ben Cohen - Small House Farm

15 Minute Break15 Minute Break

10:15-11:15Ben Cohen - Small House Farm`10:15 -11:15Richard Andres - Tantre Farm

11:15-12:15Michael O'Donnell - Purdue Extension11:15 -12:15Ronak Shah - Indy Public Schools

12:15 - 1:15Lunch by The Sherman using locally sourced ingredients12:15 - 1:15Lunch by The Sherman using locally sourced ingredients

1:15 - 2:15Roy Ballard - Purdue Extension1:15 - 2:15Rachel Mifsud - Will Forage for Food

2:15 - 3:00Q&A Panel with Keynote Speakers2:15 - 3:00Trent Austin -  The Benefits of Mushrooms

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