by Heidi Cartan
In mid-January, while the farm was tucked in under cover crops and our soil was getting a break, we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the EcoFarm conference in Asilomar. Thanks to a very generous scholarship, two of our aspiring farmers, Nina and Kyle, could join other Costanoa Commons farmers in this annual convergence. The EcoFarm conference brings farmers young and old together each year to offer inspiration, technical training, and the latest research on ecological farming, an approach to agriculture that strives to work in concert with nature by protecting soil, water, climate, and biodiversity.
The conference is dedicated to developing new leaders in ecological farming, and through these workshops we learned more about how to tie our farming practices to our social and environmental goals. Our farm team attended sessions on building healthy soil, weed and pest management, seed saving, flower production, empowering youth leaders, and many other topics. We had a chance to meet and consult individually with an expert vegetable grower and a poultry and egg producer. And, as Kyle noted, “If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to never leave your soil uncovered!”
I look forward to EcoFarm every year because it provides invaluable opportunities to grow our farming skills while helping us build a strong team of staff and volunteers around our goals. The only difficult part about the EcoFarm conference is that we all return ready to get into the field, yet it’s still winter!
I want to acknowledge the EcoFarm organization for making it possible for Nina and Kyle to attend this year. Thank you, EcoFarm team, for helping us build our soil, better understand the critical importance of biodiversity, and learn how to produce healthy crops in a healthy way.