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Harvest and Hearth Workshop Serves Up 'All-in-One Education' to Eaters and Growers

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According to the latest U.S. Census data, the number of individual farms in the U.S. fell steadily from 2010 to 2017, even as the average farm size climbed. That's just a tiny window into the rise of big ag and decline of the family farm—two trends that workshops like the Ada Soil & Water Conservation District's upcoming Harvest and Hearth event hope to reverse. On Friday, Feb. 15, farmers, ranchers, gardeners and artisans will convene at College of Idaho for a full day of workshops and panels on four key topics: farmstead management, crop and field production, livestock management and expansion through diversification.

"I'm also a young farmer, so I wanted to create opportunities for other farmers, local farmers, to be able to get kind of an all-in-one education," explained Jessica Harrold, programs and administrative coordinator for ASWCD and co-owner of Hen and Hare Microfarm, a 2-acre spread in Boise. "There are a lot of great classes around the Treasure Valley, but there's nothing really all-encompassing."

Attendees of Harvest and Hearth will gain entry to four different sessions from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and can choose between four workshops or panels (one in each category) every session. The options vary widely, covering topics like weed control, choosing the right livestock, agritourism trends, orchard management, beekeeping and making natural beauty products. Experts for the panels and discussions include locals Lindsay Schramm of North End Organic Nursery, Rob Stokes of Malheur River Meats and Wendy Sutherland of Red Chair Lavender, among others, and representatives from Full Belly Farm, a 400-acre organic operation in California. The full day costs $55 per person, and includes an after-workshop mixer.

"This not only targets farmers but landowners as well, just anybody with a garden or interest in learning how to either produce their own food or fiber, or anything else," Harrold said. "...Everybody's welcome, and I think everybody can take something away from it."

Potential attendees can scope out the full schedule at adaswcd.org, and save their seats through brownpapertickets.com.