ASAN Food and Farm Forum Set For December 9

By  | November 9, 2017 | Filed under: News

NAUVOO, AL-On Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 9, 2017, the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) will host a statewide event called the Food & Farm Forum, which it describes as “part conference, part fair, and part reunion.”  The Food & Farm Forum will consist of peer-to-peer, hands-on, and experiential learning, in the form of workshops, panel discussions, and breakout conversations, on topics ranging from herbal medicine and seed saving, to livestock production and farmers market management.

Approximately 250 farmers, gardeners, community leaders, and advocates for local and sustainable food, will convene for a weekend of “cross-pollinating” – swapping stories, ideas, and wisdom, with the shared goal of building a more robust and resilient agricultural system in Alabama.  Anyone who is interested is invited to attend; participants need not be existing members of ASAN’s network, and the Forum is designed to welcome people of all levels of skill and experience.


Parts of the Forum will be modeled after the folk tradition of the “bee,” in which community members come together to do shared work while also socializing, learning, and celebrating.  While participating in peer-to-peer discussion, participants may also be invited to shell peas, or crack pecans, or sew some stitches on a quilt.  This element, says ASAN’s Executive Director Alice Evans, is meant both to engage participants’ diverse intelligences and learning styles, as well as to connect participants in a tangible, experiential way to meaningful agricultural and folk traditions that many of us have lost touch with.


“We want the Forum to be a site for learning and networking,” says Evans, “and also a place where diverse people can come together to take on meaningful shared work.  Even if it’s just shelling peas together, it creates a vibe and an energy and a shared foundation that we hope people will carry with them after the event is over, and put to use in their own home communities.”


“We as an organization are built on this idea that, together we already have all we need in order to build the healthier, more resilient communities that we want,” says Evans.  “The knowledge is there, the resources are there, the willpower is there.  It’s about cultivating spaces to wake that power up, to bond folks to one another, to spark and share those ideas and assemble the resources needed to realize them.”



Location:  The Forum will be held at Camp McDowell, a summer camp owned by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, located in Nauvoo, in Winston County.  It is also home to the McDowell Environmental Center, the McDowell Farm School, and the Alabama Folk School.


Registration and lodging: The cost for adults is $80, which includes six high-quality locally sourced meals and all Forum programming.  Several options for on-site lodging (not included in registration) are available to accommodate different budgets.  Link below.  Registration deadline is Wednesday, November 22.  Certain lodging options are limited so early registration is encouraged!


Children:  People of all ages are welcome at the Forum!  On-site child care will be provided, to make the event more accessible to people with children.  There are several different registration prices for younger participants.


Scholarships:  ASAN is accepting applications for financial scholarships, to enable low-income and limited-resource individuals to attend the Forum.  The application is available via the Forum website ( and the deadline to apply is Monday, November 13.


ASAN is also running a crowdfunding campaign to maximize the number of scholarships it’s able to provide.  To contribute, and thereby contribute to the improvement of your community or another Alabama community like it, please go to  Donations are accepted through November 13.


Forum sponsors:  The Forum is made possible with the generous support of:  Sierra Club Alabama Chapter, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, and Southern Partners Fund.  A full list of sponsors is available at the Forum website:  ASAN is still welcoming sponsors and exhibitors at certain levels; if interested please contact Meagan Mullen at



When: Friday, December 8 – Saturday, December 9, 2017

Where: Camp McDowell, 105 DeLong Rd., Nauvoo, AL 35578 (Winston County)

Organizer: Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN)

Cost:  $80 for adults, plus $25-135 per night lodging

More information (including link to register):

On Facebook:




The Forum is an anchor event of the year-round work of the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (or ASAN), which is a grassroots network of producers and supporters of locally, ecologically, and ethically raised food from throughout Alabama.  Through training events, field days, scholarship programs, publications, and a community support network, ASAN helps existing farmers and markets to thrive, while also helping new ones to sprout, take root, and grow.  More about ASAN at


Media Release/ASAN/Alice Evans

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