Food and farming will be the focus of several events throughout this year’s Central Coast Bioneers Conference.
A pre-conference screening of the new film Food Patriots will be held Oct. 16 at the Palm Theater, in collaboration with the SLO International Film Festival. The film tells personal stories that show ordinary people taking control of food and creating healthier lives, a less polluted environment, a new sense of community and new jobs.
The conference itself will take place Oct. 25-27 at the Monday Club on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo. On Saturday morning, Oct. 26, the National Bioneers keynote lecture by Darren Doherty from Oct. 19 and titled "Regrarianism: Rebooting Agriculture for the Next 10,000 Years" will be shown. Doherty, a fifth-generation Australian farmer and Permaculture pioneer, has worked in over 40 countries over 20 years as a farm planning consultant and educator.
Also on Oct. 26 will be several local workshops, the first being "Access to Capital for Small Farmers: Financing the New Food System Economy" presented by Eric Winders, Central Coast regional coordinator of California FarmLink, Jeff Wade of Slow Money SLO and Ryan Hoffman of Farm Credit West. The workshop will cover the growing number of options and strategies available to the next generation of farmers to find and secure financing.
Following the workshop, there will be free 20-minute one-on-one counseling sessions with these financial professionals to help farmers come up with action steps tailored to their needs.
Another workshop will feature Santa Barbara rancher John deBruin, who raises grass-fed cattle, pasture-raised organic chickens and heritage pork. His presentation, "It’s All About Food: The New Model of Getting Back to Farming Basics," will talk about the new breed of farmers coming on the U.S. scene who are turning their backs on conventional agribusiness.
A third workshop on Oct. 26 on "Growing Nutrient Dense Foods" will be presented by Erica Reinhiemer, co-author of the book The Intelligent Gardener-Growing Nutrient-Dense Foods. Foods today contain only a fraction of the nutrition necessary for true health. The USDA reports a 25 percent decline in minerals in our foods since 1960. Reinhiemer will explore the elements of living, breathing soil and demonstrate a practical approach to mineral balancing using proven organic methods to restore soil fertility.
In the evening, Central Coast Bioneers attendees will celebrate the bounty of the Central Coast and appreciate the culinary skill of the county’s youth at the Green Chef Cookoff beginning at 6 p.m. at the Monday Club. Teams of chefs from Cal Poly’s Real Food Collaborative will vie for prize money for the best appetizer, main dish and dessert, and attendees will get to taste them all and vote for their favorites. Ingredients must be locally and sustainably grown and organic. Secret ingredients will be donated by local farms 48 hours before the events, and the contestants will have to incorporate them into their recipes.
The Food & Farming program at Central Coast Bioneers is partially underwritten by the the San Luis Obispo Food Bank and GleanSLO.
Conference tickets are on sale online by clicking here. Tickets to the film screening will be sold at the door.
— Stacey Hunt represents Central Coast Bioneers.