FBEN conferences build our collective understanding of what it means to be a farm-based educator and offer lots of practical tools from peers. Conferences are hosted in partnership with local groups and a geographically diverse planning committee. The location and dates have not be set for the next conference.
2019: Baltimore, MD
Many thanks to the collaborators, attendees, and sponsors who made this event possible! The 2019 Conference was hosted at the beautiful Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD.
Workshop tracks from the 2019 conference included: Social Care Farming; Working with Our Hands; Changing the System; Farm to School (and Camp!); Body, Mind, Spirit, Will; Seeding Community; More the Entrepreneurship; and Creating and Sustaining Your Organization.
Delicious meals, enlivening farm tours, and wellness activities throughout the conference contributed to vibrant learning and community building. In 2019 we offered a "pay what you can" registration model with the conference program fee ranging from $25 - $373 and housing from $20 - $150 per night.
The conference was organized in collaboration with Peggy Eppig of the Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation. Taffy Gwitira was the Assistant Organizer. The following individuals contributed on the Planning Committee. Thank you!
Andrea Barnhart - Red Wiggler Farm, Germantown, MD
Conor Floyd - Retreat Farm, Brattleboro, VT
Ellie Youngblood - Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT
Lizzie Grabowski - The Trustees Weir River Farm, Hingham, MA
Lu Neuse - Retreat Farm, Brattleboro, VT
Meghan Connolly Riley - Soule Homestead, Middleboro, MA
Melisa Oliva - Ananda Gardens, Montpelier, VT
Peggy Eppig - Maryland Ag Ed Foundation, Havre de Grace, MD
Sarah Holway - DC Greens, Washington, D.C.
Sandra Kimbrough - Black Clergy Wellness Project, Trenton, NJ
Tome Shaaltiel - Pearlstone Center, Reisterstown, MD
Woody Woodroof- Red Wiggler Farm, Germantown, MD
This conference was made possible through the generous support of Samuel M. Feldman & Marilyn S. Meyerhoff.
Lead Sponsor Sponsoring Partner
2016: Concord, MA
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.
In 2016 the 6th Farm-Based Education Network National Gathering was held in Concord, Massachusetts in partnership with The Trustees, the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, and Concord-Carlisle Community & Adult Education. View photos from the event. We celebrated the FBEN's 10th birthday (!) over the course of the 3-day gathering. The missions of the organizing partners of the 6th Farm-Based Education National Gathering overlapped around education and community engagement. We shared 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.
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!
OTHER PAST CONFERENCES
In 2003 the 1st Educational Farm Symposium was held at the Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm in Dayton, Ohio and has occurred every other year since then. Hosted by the Association of Nature Center Administrators with the leadership of Charity Krueger, Aullwood’s Executive Director, this first Symposium launched the idea that a growing group of farm based education programs needed another venue to network and discuss their successes and challenges beyond existing farming and education conferences.
The movement and excitement grew into 2005, when the 2nd Educational Farm Symposium was held at the Delaware Nature Society’s Coverdale Farm under the enthusiastic leadership of Michele Wales, Agriculture Education Coordinator. The growing group of participants left this event rejuvenated and dedicated to the importance of this gathering. At this symposium, the idea of creating the now named Farm-Based Education Association continued to gather momentum and in May 2006 the FBEA was established by 18 representatives from 11 farm programs.
In 2007, the 3rd Educational Farm Symposium was held at Shelburne Farms in Vermont drawing more than 175 participants from the United States, Canada and Europe to participate in 43 workshops and 9 field trips. This event continued to leverage off the tremendous success of the 2 prior events in partnership with ANCA. Following this event, with the FBEA officially launched, ANCA and the FBEA felt it was best for the Educational Farm Symposium to live within the programs of the FBEA – with marketing and communications support from ANCA.
In 2009, we changed the name and co-hosted the 4th Farm-Based Education Conference with Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY. Nearly 200 professionals attended more than 40 workshops and 5 field trips. In 2011, the 5th Farm-Based Education Conference, more than 200 participants attended the event and helped celebrate the FBEN's 5th anniversary.