2019 Conference

Since 2006, the Farm-Based Education Network has been hosting professional learning events for those looking to dig into farm-based education. The 2019 Conference will be our 7th large convening, with over 300 attendees coming to learn, share and grow through workshops, field trips, farm projects, films, shared meals, wellness activities, and more. 

2016 National Gathering

"It was a welcoming space, and I got the sense that all participants felt like they were valuable to the larger group
and that they all had something they could take home with them regardless of their interest/profession." 
- Gathering Attendee

 Nearly 400 attendees came to the 6th Farm-Based Education National Gathering in Concord, MA. Friday, November 4th brought attendees into the field on their choice of six trips to over 16 farms. The workshop program commenced at Concord Carlisle High School on Saturday, November 5 and concluded on Sunday, November 6.  View the conference brochure and workshop schedule!

The Gathering marked the Farm-Based Education Network's 10th Anniversary and the first time in 5 years that the Farm-Based Education Network has convened a National event. Making the event financially accessible was of utmost importance. No scholarship applicant was turned away; 235 of the 400 attendees paid a reduced or zero registration fee.  Educators, administrations and food service staff from Concord and Carlisle schools were welcomed for free.  View photos from the event

Tremendous gratitude goes out to all the volunteers, workshop presenters, field trip leaders, and sponsors who gave generously of their time and resources, and to all host sites past, present and future. This broad support and dedication to the community of farm-based education professionals is critical and inspiring. The event was held in partnership with The Trustees, the Massachusetts Farm to School, Concord-Carlisle Community & Adult Education, Shelburne Farms in Vermont, and the Concord Food Collaborative.


"The most successful farm to school programs take an integrated approach - connecting local food in the cafeteria with experiential food and agriculture education in the classroom and out in the community on farms. In order to make sure more students have access to these kinds of experiences, we need professional development opportunities like those provided by the FBE National Gathering"
-Simca  Horwitz, Massachusetts Farm to School  

Organizing Partners

The missions of the organizing partners of the 6th Farm-Based Education National Gathering overlap around education and community engagement. We share a vision of building an informed and engaged citizenry and a vibrant agricultural landscape where everyone has access to healthy food. We have joined forces through the 2016 Gathering to convene practitioners and professionals who, like us, believe in the power of public engagement on farms, in gardens, and in kitchens and know the strength of Connections That Lead to Change.

The Trustees 

The Trustees of Reservations preserve, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts. We are more than 100,000 people like you who love the outdoors, who love the distinctive charms of New England, and who believe in celebrating and protecting them, for everyone, forever.  Our passion is to share with everyone the irreplaceable natural and cultural treasures we care for.

Shelburne Farms

Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit organization educating for a sustainable future. That means learning that links knowledge, inquiry, and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and the planet. Our home campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark.


The Concord Food Collaborative

The Concord Food Collaborative is a network and online resource facilitating information sharing and the building of local food connections in Concord, Massachusetts. The mission of the Concord Food Collaborative is to celebrate and grow our vibrant, local food system.  ​The Concord Food Collaborative is open to all individuals, businesses, and organizations with an interest in the mission.

Massachusetts Farm to School 

We facilitate sustainable purchasing relationships between local institutions and local farms, promote local food and agriculture education for students, and support state, regional and national networking of farm to school practitioners.

Concord Carlisle Adult & Community Education

Concord Carlisle Adult & Community Education (CCACE) provides opportunities for lifelong learning to the citizens of the school district and surrounding towns. We make schools available for extended-day educational use for citizens in  Concord and Carlisle.Collaborating with citizens and organizations, CCACE responds to community needs and interests with our communities' talents and resources.

The diversity of partners organizing the 6th Farm-Based Education National Gathering are committed to education and community engagement that links people to the land within the regions where they live, work, and play.  Connection to the land has potency to transform lives. Our vision is an informed and engaged citizenry that cares for the agricultural land and supports a healthy food system.


Connections that Lead to Change

The 2016 Gathering will bring together practitioners and professionals who provide public engagement on farms, in

gardens, and in kitchens; and who understand the potential that such connections hold for sustaining lasting food systems change.

Farms that open to the public offer tangible means for people to build relationships with working lands. Farm-based education links us to the land, to food, to our agrarian roots, and to each other. The more we understand where our food comes from, the more we will care about sustaining a local food economy. These connections build strong, resilient communities.


As social beings, humans are at our best when pulling together. Sharing the yoke and connected, we accomplish more with less and reduce redundancy. This certainly is the case with the partnership of 2016 Gathering organizers. It also holds true for citizens buying CSA shares, attending farm-based programs, volunteering on farm boards, and mapping farm-food-nutrition programming into school curriculums, to name a few.

People caring for the land and animals that sustain them.

People caring for each other.

People needing people.

Connections That Lead to Change.

Farm-based education plays a vital role in individual, community, and environmental health.  The miracle of cultivating life from the soil, being sustained by it, and enjoying the conviviality of a thoughtfully prepared and shared meal – these simple experiences can strengthen lives. Suddenly, we appreciate the land in a wholly new way, valuing our connection to it and with each other. From this springboard of caring, an amazing place-based transformation can occur.


2016 National Gathering Planning Committee


Appleton Farms, a Property of The Trustees, Ipswich, MA

Common Ground H.S. Urban Farm and Environmental Learning Center, New Haven, CT

Fernbrook Farms, Chesterfield, NJ

Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista, MN

Holly Hill Farm, Cohasset, MA

Farm Discovery at Live Earth, Watsonville, CA

Massachusetts Farm to School

Retreat Farm, Brattleboro, VT 

Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT

Soule Homestead, Middleborough, MA

Spence Farm Foundation, Evanston, IL

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Pocantico Hills, NY

Suzie’s Farm, San Diego, CA

Three Sisters Garden, Ipswich, MA

Lead Sponsor Partners

Green Mountain Creamery is committed to locally made and locally affordable. They've prioritized funding support for the Gathering because they believe in the importance of connecting people to delicious, healthy food. Their delicious Greek Yogurts can be found in markets all over the country and was selected by the USDA as a protein source in the Federal school lunch program.

Emerson Hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 people in 25 towns. They are as committed to the high-quality health care they provide as they are to connecting their doctors, nurses and clinicians and the community to impactful resources and information. Look for the Farm Based Health and Wellness series at the Emerson Wellness Center for Mind and Body.

Colonial Inn. This 18th c. Historic Inn in the center of Concord, MA was once a storehouse for arms and provisions during the Revolutionary War and a welcoming place for Henry David Thoreau to reside when he was a student at Harvard University. In addition to offering a block of rooms at a discounted price to Gathering attendees (book now!), Concord's Colonial Inn has generously offered the entire Inn to the Gathering for the Taste of the Commonwealth Celebration on the evening of Saturday, November 5th.

Woods Hill Table Restaurant, the Farm at Woods Hill and the film Farmagaddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms are the culmination of filmmaker and speaker Kristin Canty's passions for food, family farms, and sustainable sourcing.

Woods Hill Table Restaurant, the Farm at Woods Hill and the film Farmagaddon: The Unseen War on American Family Farms are the culmination of filmmaker and speaker Kristin Canty's passions for food, family farms, and sustainable sourcing.

Kristin's enterprises have provided underwriting support for the Gathering to ensure people of all ages have access to the information they need to make healthy food choices and to support the farmers nationwide doing this important work.








Location: 48 Hours in Concord, MA

By Jen Flint, Concord Food Collaborative Program Facilitator 

Concord is at least a little familiar to anyone who studied U.S. History, as the setting of the first conflict in the American Revolutionary War. The famous shot heard around the world was fired here, at the Old North Bridge, on April 19, 1775. For thousands of years before that, though, the area of land at the confluence of the Concord/Sudbury and Assabet rivers was a popular site for seasonal Native American camps, originally known as Musketaquid, or “grassy plain.” Much later, the area became the country’s literary capital, when Ralph Waldo EmersonNathaniel Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau lived and wrote here; many of their homes are preserved and open to visitors to this day.

True to its upstart roots, Concord continues to be a progressive little town with a big impact: In 2012, Concord became the first community in the country to ban the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles. (Bring your refillable water bottle!) Also in 2012, Building Local Connections: A Community Food System Assessment of Concord, Massachusetts was published. Concord has a conservation-minded citizenry and significant agricultural heritage, with about 1,350 acres of good farmland, knowledgeable farmers, and a vibrant community, with many restaurants serving locally sourced foods. No need to go home hungry—or lacking in history lessons.

The Robbins House also offers a self-guided walking tour of African American and anti-slavery history in Concord, which gives a deeper understanding of the contributions of Concord’s first free African Americans toward abolitionist causes.


A Taste of the Town

The Visitors Center is located at 58 Main Street, in the center of town. It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with public restrooms. From there, you can visit the Concord Cheese Shop, warm up at Haute Coffee, or find a sweet treat at Sally Ann Bakery. For fine dining, it’s hard to beat either Bondir Concord or 80 Thoreau, both of which serve local and seasonal foods of the highest caliber.


Or cross over to the village of West Concord, with two farm-to-table restaurants (Saltbox Kitchen and Woods Hill Table), plus Debra’s Natural Gourmet, the holy grail of natural food stores. Just down the block is the West Concord Five and Ten, which has anything you might ever have needed. Ever. Then don’t miss West Concord’s handmade ice cream shop, correctly named Reasons To Be Cheerful.


Stop to Shop

In the shopping department, Concord has an outstanding independent bookstore, the Concord Bookshop, established in 1940; Vanderhoof Hardware (28 Main Street), which hasn’t changed much in that time; the “hardware store for the kitchen” in Concord Cookware, and many other independently owned shops worth a visit. Revolutionary Concord is a gift shop that you’ll find nowhere else, with American-made gifts, local art, Simon Pearce glass products, and Concord souvenirs. Look for it downstairs at 32 Main Street, a few doors down from Vanderhoofs.


If You Have One Afternoon and Good Walking Shoes Museums and Sights

  • The Concord Museum brings Concord’s past to life with exhibits about its literary and historical roots. The collection includes one of the two lanterns illuminated in the belfry of Boston’s Old North Church on the night of April 18, 1775, when Paul Revere made his famous ride (“One if by land, two if by sea”). And don’t miss the journal of William Monroe, perhaps one of America’s original food writers, and the related kitchenalia of colonial times.

  • Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, shown by guided tour, looks just as it did when Louisa May lived here with her family from 1858 to 1877. Fans of Little Women will be delighted to see the desk, built by Bronson Alcott, where Louisa May wrote her most famous work. About 80 percent of the furnishings on display belonged to the Alcott family, so a visit to Orchard House is a real walk through history.

  • No visit to Concord is complete without laying eyes on Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau, a leading Transcendentalist and lifelong abolitionist, lived for two years, two months, and two days in a cabin that seems too small by modern standards. His time at the pond provided the inspiration for writing Walden.

  • Hartwell Tavern sits alongside Battle Road, the route that the Red Coats traveled first on their way to Concord in search of arms, then again on their retreat back to Boston on April 19, 1775. The tavern is part of Minute Man National Historic Park, where you can immerse yourself in 18th century history, with the help of park rangers dressed in colonial attire. On the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 4, historian and author Brian Donahue will host a guided walking tour.

  • “Art and Agriculture: Four Seasons on Concord Farms,” a free art exhibit at The Umbrella Arts Gallery at 40 Stow Street, represents a year-long collaboration between 11 artists and 13 Concord farms.


Concord Farm Tour

The Concord Agriculture Committee assembled this guide to the town’s farms, which includes a map and listing of 21 locations around town, to make it easy for you to plot your own tour or find the many hidden treasures in the area.

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Shelburne Farms is the coordinating organization for the Farm-Based Education Network 

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