EcoFarm is a 1800-participant conference annually hosted by the Ecological Farmers Association (EFA). EFA supports farms that place social, economic, and environmental concerns at the center of their mission. The conference acts as a forum to foster knowledge and community around these values through workshops ranging from the technical to the political. Though I’ve heard about this conference for years, one that many farmers make a pilgrimage to, this was the first time I attended.

My favorite part was hearing the Sally Fox’s story. I met her at a stone mill dressing workshop a couple years ago. She was unassuming, friendly, and quiet, but when I talked to her we seemed to share many interests. She helped revitalize Sonora wheat in California, raises sheep to graze the fields, and dry-farms. What I didn’t know, but was revealed through the Honoring Farmers ceremony, is that she pioneered colored cotton! She comes from a background of being a soil scientist and weaver, and from there has greatly expanded the world of commercial natural fibers and dyes. Her motivation, dedication, and curiosity inspire me, and I’m so glad she was recognized for her work. You can learn more for yourself at her site: Congratulations, Sally Fox!

EFA invited me to be a Ecological Farmer and Rancher Alliance (EFRA) Fellow wherein I receive support for my farm. I was recruited for my work on grains, and the hope is that EFRA can help my efforts to develop a strong California grain economy led by small farmers and producers. I hope to also hone these resources to encourage ecological diversity, primarily through saving and exchanging world crop varieties and supporting the farmers who have cared for those seeds.

Off to writing my Grain Economy and Seed Saving proposals!