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Cultivating the Harvest™:  20th Anniversary Inland Northwest Small Farm Conference

Celebrating 20 Years of Cultivating the Harvest

In March 1999, University of Idaho Extension and the small farm non-profit organization, Rural Roots, joined together to offer the first Inland Northwest small acreage farming and ranching conference.  Twenty years later, we celebrate the growth in the small farm sector and the revitalization of local food systems across the region while honoring the amazing work of our region’s farmers and food entrepreneurs. In March 2019 we celebrated the 20th anniversary with farm tours, a farmland transfer workshop, two performances of the Map of My Kingdom play, and a one-day conference. 

If you missed the conference or would like to re-visit any of the discissions or presentations, below are the recordings.

Cultivating the Harvest 20th Anniversary Conference Welcome

Cinda Williams retired from the University of Idaho Extension in fall 2016.  During her many years at UI, Cinda mentored numerous beginning and experiences farmers and provided countless sustainable small farming and ranching educational programs.  One of the founders of Cultivating SuccessTM, Cinda emerged from her books, travels and gardens to help bring this 20th anniversary conference together.

Colette DePhelps co-founded Rural Roots in 1997 and Cultivating SuccessTM in 2000.  A visionary and person committed to people, place and local food, Colette has spent the last years working with farmers, non-profits, government agencies, WSU and UI, to develop and offer small farm and food systems programs in the Inland Northwest. Colette joined University of Idaho Extension

in 2017 as a Community Food Systems area educator.

Keynote Presentation: Innovations in the Field- Unlocking the Power of On-Farm Research

Bill Snyder now at the University of Georgia in Athens, ran the Snyder Entomology Lab at Washington State University from 2000-2019.  Under Bill’s leadership, a diverse group of ecologists, joined by a common interest in finding natural solutions to problems in species conservation, sustainable agriculture, and human health, collaborated on research aimed to reduce the conflict between species conservation and feeding a growing human population.

Panel Discussion: "Lessons Learned in 20+ Years of Farming"

Inland Northwest Leaders in Sustainable Small Farming & Ranching

Lazy R Ranch

Maurice Robinette is a third-generation cow-calf operator and a sustainability activist in Cheney, WA. Maurice started using holistic management on the Lazy R Ranch in 1996. Maurice participated in the Kellogg Foundation Integrated Farming Systems WSU Holistic Management project from 1995-1999. Using the techniques of holistic management, he has cut costs, improved productivity, and made the ranch a happy and healthy place to raise a family. Maurice is a Holistic Management educator and a certified consensus facilitator. Maurice actively promotes sustainable agriculture practices in the northwest.

Quillisascut Farmstead

Lora Lea Misterly farms with her husband Rick in rural Washington State. Since 1987, they have sold farmstead cheese to restaurants and stores under the name Quillisascut Cheese Company. In 2002 the Misterly’s vision for the farm soon encompassed the larger community of farmers, chefs, restaurateurs, and others who have a place in the farm-to-table continuum as they developed the Quillisascut Farm School of the Domestic Arts which offers a series of weeklong workshops to teach people about farming and food.  Over 1000 people have been through the Quillisascut program.

Killarney Farm

Ellen Scriven felt drawn to farming, to working with the earth and natural systems and producing food from a young age. On their off-grid homestead, surrounded by National Forest, Ellen and her partner, Paul Smith, coax a wide assortment of certified organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs and nuts from their 6 + acre market garden.  For over twenty-five seasons Killarney Farm has offered internships for aspiring market growers. They sell their produce at the Kootenai Farmers Market an a once-weekly roadside stand near the farm.  Ellen serves on the board of the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market. 

Greentree Naturals

Diane Green and her husband own and operate Greentree Naturals, a small acreage farm outside of Sandpoint, Idaho. They began their successful farming career over 25 years ago as one of the first northern Idaho certified organic farms in 1992. They take a diversified approach to marketing over 70 varieties of vegetables selling their products.  Diane is an experienced farmer mentor who has been offering education, guidance, moral support and encouragement to apprentices/interns they host on their farm.  She has been actively involved with the University of Idaho Cultivating Success program since it began in 2000.

Farmers and Ranchers at the Forefront of Food Systems Change

Land-based leadership for re-envisioning and revitalizing local food systems

Lazy R Ranch

Beth Robinette is the fourth generation to work the Lazy R. She moved home and began managing the business with her dad, Maurice, in 2010. Beth is the co-founder of LINC Foods, a worker-farmer-owned cooperative food hub based in Spokane. Beth became the first second generation certified Holistic Management educator in 2015. Beth is a co-facilitator of the New Cowgirl Camp, a 5 day intensive course for women interested in learning the ins and outs of regenerative ranching. Beth is married to her high school sweetheart and is a very mediocre yodeler but this does not discourage her in the slightest.

Homestead Organics Farm

Laura Garber has also actively served on the boards of the Alternative Energy Resources Organization, the Montana Organic Commodities Advisory Council, the Montana Organic Association, Triple Divide Organic Seed Cooperative, the Hamilton Farmers Market Cooperative, the Center for Spiritual Living of the Bitterroot, and the Ravalli County Right To Farm and Ranch Board. Laura started the 'Loyal To Local' Community and Agriculture Cooperative in 2015 and works extensively with youth on her farm in the Bitterroot Valley.   

Insects on the Farm: Enhancing Pollinators & Managing Pests

Keeping Bees Healthy: Current Challenges and Potential Soultions

Steve Sheppard focuses on honey bees and pollinators. He heads the WSU Apis Molecular Systematics Laboratory and studies the population genetics and evolution of honey bees, insect introductions and mechanisms of genetic differentiation.

Finding Food in a Desert of Grains: A Pollinator Story

Rachel Olsson is a WSU PhD Candidate in Entomology and a recent graduate of The Evergreen State College. She conducts reasearch at the WSU Crowder Entomology Laboratory and her research interests include studying pollinator health and how interspecific interactions between pollinators affect foraging. 

Organic Pest Management in Orchards

Kyle Nagy is responsible for the operations at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center. The center includes a USDA Certified Organic orchard that specializes in antique and heirloom fruit varieties.

Conference hosted by: University of Idaho Extension, Rural Roots, Inc., and Washington State University Food Systems

With special thanks to Western SARE and the Moscow Food Co-op for supporting this conference: