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Annual Winter Conference 2019

"Growing Together"

Saturday February 2nd

Batesville Middle School

9am – 3pm

Purchase tickets from Eventbrite by clicking HERE Or contact Kristen Giesting at 812-934-4620.

Prices are:  FGA Member:              $35

                   FGA Member Couple:  $55 (both must be members)

                   General Public Single:  $45

                   General Public Couple: $75

                   Student:                         $20

Our schedule this year will feature a wide array of speakers and educators for farmers and eaters alike.

Presenter Spotlight:

Keynote Speaker and back by Popular Demand

Ben Cohen:  Sowing the Seeds of a Sustainable Future

Sowing the Seeds of a Sustainable Future

The seeds we sow in life are both literal and figurative. Ben will be sharing his thoughts on seeds that have been shaped by years of experience working with communities across the country to build sustainable, resilient food systems that benefit both the consumers and the producers.There will also be a focus on mindfulness in the garden and, of course, we'll talk a bit about seed saving as well.

BIO: Ben Cohen is an author, poet, herbalist, gardener, seed saver and wanderer. He lives and works at Small House Farm with his wife, Heather, and two sons on their family homestead in Sanford, Michigan.

Ben is also the founder of Michigan Seed Library, a community seed sharing initiative that has worked closely with a number of communities to help establish seed library programs across his home state and beyond.

He spends his time outside of his gardens offering workshops and lectures across the country on the benefits of living closer to the land through seeds, herbs and locally grown food.  In July of 2018, Ben published his first book, From Our Seeds & Their Keepers: A Collection of Stories which is now widely available.

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Darren Bender-Beauregard







Darren Bender-Beauregard will be speaking in separate sessions to both the consumers and producers on the topics of composting, mulch/no till gardening, and edible plants for landscaping

BIO: Darren and Espri Bender-Beauregard operate Brambleberry Farm, a small permaculture-focused homestead and plant nursery just outside of Paoli, IN.  For the past 15 years they have been working at regenerating the land that they live and work on, trying many different approaches to see what works and what doesn't seem appropriate.  They began with a market garden, selling produce at farmers market and a small CSA, added various intensively-grazed livestock enterprises such as pastured pork, sheep, cattle, and geese, and continue to experiment with various cover crops in rotation with pasture and grazing.  Their main enterprise however is a regionally-focused plant nursery where they propagate and sell hundreds of different species and cultivars of edible and useful plants that will be most likely to succeed in southern Indiana's heavy/acidic soils, hot/humid summers, and widely varying winters.  They also run a farm incubator program which creates space for aspiring farmers to try their hand at farming for a living without needing to purchase land or housing.  Darren and Espri enjoy living in a hand-built strawbale home with their 3 daughters.


Dave Fischer

Dave will be presenting to our producers: Grow for Profits Being Profitable in the Farm to Table Market.


BIO: Dave & Diana Fischer own & operate Fischer Farms in Jasper, IN.    Dave grew up on the family farm raising cattle and pigs.   The farm has been in the family since the civil war.   Dave graduated from Purdue University with a BS & MS in Industrial Management.  Dave worked for 15 years as an Industrial Engineer focusing on supply chain management computer software and lived in Dallas and Munich, Germany.    Dave and Diana moved back to the family farm in 2002 to raise their 3 children and started selling their naturally raised beef to restaurants and retail stores in 2004.  


They expanded the family farm to its current 750 acres and rent an additional 500 acres.  They also sell their neighbors pork, local Amish vegetables and Indiana raised turkey & chicken.   They currently ship over 30 skids of meats and products to over 120 restaurants and retail stores across Indiana and neighboring states every week.   They have focused their brand, Fischer Farms to be known for Premium Quality, Natural, Local & Fresh.


Dave has utilized his supply chain and computer knowledge in building a business that minimizes inventories and delivers custom cut products directly to the customer.   Fischer Farms has partnered with Sander Processing and DeWigs for the meat processing, Gutgsell Farms to produce the pork and an Amish community to produce the eggs, syrup and some produce.   They also utilize Piazza Produce to distribute their products.


Dave & Diana also practice innovative farming techniques to make a positive impact on the environment with the cattle they raise.   They utilize techniques that sequester carbon and have dramatically increased the organic matter in their soils over the past 10 years.   They have also installed a water filtration system of 7 ponds and a wetland to greatly reduce any runoff from their farm.


Fischer Farms mission is to produce the highest quality natural beef and supply it and other local meats and products of similar quality across the region.   Fischer Farms is currently looking for new products and suppliers to add to their network.

Larry Bledsoe


Larry will speak to both the consumers and producers about the topics listed below.


Managing insects and related pests in the home garden

Learning to see, understand, and correctly diagnose problems in the vegetable garden are the first steps in managing insect pest problems.  This program focuses on the fundamental concepts and practical approaches to learning to manage, and sometimes live with, the critters that want to share your garden with you.


Managing insects and related pests in the commercial garden

The financial and time commitments of a commercial garden demand that a pest management plan be an integral part of the overall business plan.  Learning to see, understand, and correctly diagnose problems in the commercial garden are the first steps in managing insect pest problems.  This program focuses on the fundamental concepts and practical approaches to managing the pests that could literally eat away your profits.


BIO: Larry Bledsoe is a field crops extension, research, and survey entomologist in the Department of Entomology at Purdue University, and is the Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator.  He has researched field crop insect pest management for 38 years.  He is active as a presenter for the Indiana Master Naturalist and Master Gardener programs.  Larry received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Science and a M.S. degree in Entomology (insect biological control) at Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.  He has authored or co-authored 18 refereed journal articles, 12 book chapters or proceedings, 14 Purdue University Cooperative Extension Entomology publications and numerous unpublished research reports.

He has gardened most of his life.  His Tippecanoe County vegetable garden has been both an opportunity to add food to the table and as an experimental venture.  Along with the commonly grown Indiana vegetables, he and his children have successfully raised a small patch of sorghum (and evaporated several quarts of sorghum syrup), cotton, Virginia peanuts, Indian corn (blue, red, and multicolored), giant Andean corn, giant pumpkins, heirloom and exotic tomatoes, sunflowers, elephant garlic, and birdhouse gourds.  He has nurtured and periodically transplanted the same strawberries since 1989.  His wife keeps a large herb garden for cooking outside the kitchen door complete with a patch of milkweed that serves as a nursery for monarch butterflies, and also assorted wildflowers to attract hummingbirds.

Linda Cox


Linda will be speaking to the consumer group about the benefits of fermenting.


BIO: Linda and her husband Ed live on a small 6 acre farm (the one she grew up on) with two dogs ,15 chickens and four cows! They are learning out how to farm their land in a sustainable way following permaculture principles. Linda and her husband have 3 grown sons, have been missionaries for nearly 40 years and for several years served a mission in Eastern Europe where they lived in 5 different countries.

After returning to the US, she lived Ohio. It was there that she started a small business of teaching bread baking classes – mill your flour fresh and bake bread (Whole Grain Nutrition and Bread Baking) That expanded to classes about Sprouted Grain Baking (how to sprout grain first), Sour Dough Bread (using fresh milled whole grain flour, not white flour), Fermenting I: Sauerkraut, Fermenting II, Fermented Beverages, Dehydrating, Butter IS Better Class, Homemade Pasta, Make Your Own Personal and Home Care Products, and am working out plans to also teach Beans & Legumes, and Bone Stocks/Broths

Linda now travels across North America teaching seminars about the benefits of fermented foods and how to do properly ferment foods. Linda also enjoys researching the current trends in health and nutrition and is quite fascinated by the Gut Microbiome. She has spent the last several years studying the principles of healthy nutrition.

 Today Linda runs her business, Bread to Perfection, and continues to teach small group classes on baking bread with fresh milled flour, sourdough, sprouted grain baking, traditional pickling, dehydrating, and fun subjects like making butter and fermented beverages. Additionally, she sells grains to people who fresh mill flour to bake bread.

Tim Schwipps and Robert Zupancic District Conservationist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service


    Tim Schwipps                                  Robert Zupancic

Tim and Robert will be speaking to the Producers about Soil Health in Pasture and Cropland settings, Rotational Grazing, and Cover Crops- Benefits and Species Selection. They will also discuss programs available to producers


BIO: Tim Schwipps is the District Conservationist for Ripley and Jefferson Counties. He has been with USDA-NRCS for 15 years. Tim is from the Milan area and grew up on a crop and livestock farm. He continues to assist the family with the farm and lives in Milan with wife and 2 kids.

BIO: Robert Zupancic is an NRCS Grazing Specialist in Southeastern Indiana for the past 12 years.  Robert grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Morgantown, Indiana.  Robert is fortunate enough to live on the family farm and assist his father with a small beef herd.  He really enjoys helping landowners solve problems and make their properties more productive.  When not working for NRCS, he spends time with his wife and four kids.


Heather Tallman


Heather is the Membership Development Program Manager for Indiana Grown. In a joint session, Heather will introduce the Indiana Grown program to both consumers and producers.




Back by popular demand the Winter Market featuring vendors selling locally grown or handmade items.  Open to the public from 9 AM to 11 AM and 1 PM to 3 PM.

If you would like to be a vendor, please email us at



8:15 Arrival and Registration


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Robert Zupancic.jpg
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