NIFTI & AgALN FIELD School
2023 National FIELD School - Save the Date!
We are making plans for the 2023 FIELD School and we can't wait! So…Save the Date….October 23 - 25, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Please plan to arrive on Sunday, October 22 as we will be heading out on exciting Field Trips to visit incubator farms and apprenticeship training programs first thing Monday morning, October 23rd. We will be co-hosting the conference with Cultivate KC and look forward to sharing more program details and programming as they are developed, so stay tuned! Please help us shape our programming by completing our Topic of Interest Poll - weigh in on programming you'd like to see!
We will be meeting at the The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Conference Center located at 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110. Parking is free of charge and located on the north side of the building.
Feel free to book your hotel reservation today at the lovely Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza (address is: 4445 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64111 in the arts district near the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art). Our hotel group rate for the FIELD School is $175 USD per night using our room registration link. The event discount block is under the group rate for Trustees of Tufts College; you can also call to make your reservation over the phone: 816-531-3000. There is a fee for parking at the hotel, which will be waived under our room reservation block.
Conference registration and detailed program schedule and workshops will be available in early September. Stay tuned for the Request for Proposals to submit your workshop proposal!
2023 Conference Schedule:
Monday, October 23 - learning about the local farming community with our hosts:
- Field Trips to local Missouri and Kansas-area incubator and apprenticeship training programs. Buses will leave the KC Mariott Country Club Plaza at 8:00 AM and return late afternoon.
- Networking Reception on Monday evening at PlexPod Westport (Cultivate KC's co-working space event center and offices), located at 300 E. 39th St, Kansas City, MO 64111.
Tuesday, October 24 - Wednesday, October 25 at the Kauffman Conference Center - learning from each other through networking and information sharing:
- Plenary speaker
- Concurrent Workshops with Incubator Farm and Apprenticeship Program Tracks
- Round Table Discussions, Open Space, and Peer Networking
Prior National FIELD Schools
We host the National Field School in a different community each year. We move the annual conferences across the country to create regional equity and to experience and honor the land and climates where our networks of apprenticeship and incubator farmers thrive. We annually bring together over 45-60 organizations from almost every US state (and Canada) to participate in workshops, breakout and open space sessions, goal setting and networking opportunities. Peer-to-peer sharing informs beginning farmer trainers about how they run successful incubator and apprenticeship training programs. Folks gather ideas for their farms and programs, and spent time building relationships with people passionate about our collective work. We also host field trips to local incubator and apprenticeship projects to see programs' land-based facilities, farm/ranch operations, and to learn together how each incubator farm and apprenticeship training program is unique. We often hear from farmer participants during these tours to get a holistic perspective on participants' involvement in the programs.
2022: We held our 11th Annual National FIELD School in Seattle, Washington with our co-hosts, Viva Farms and Organic Farm School! We were grateful to be back in person for the first time since 2019, and everyone valued networking with 80+ peers from 26 states across the country in person with plenty of time for shared learning, networking, and visiting local farmer training programs. Detailed session descriptions and speaker bios can be accessed in the 2022 Program Book. Check out photos from the 2022 FIELD School here. Our FIELD School was held at Centro de la Raza, a social justice organization meaning “The Center for the People of All Races.” We were grateful to hold space in a community-based organization that invites all people to continue the struggle for a better world by serving, educating, defending and organizing with each other to build the “beloved community.”
2021: COVID continued..so we hosted our 10th annual FIELD School in partnership with the 5th National Farm Viability Conference. The National Farm Viability Conference is a biennial event that is focused on strengthening farm sustainability, building stronger and more resilient local food systems and supporting long term profitability of farming and agri-entrepreneurs from start-ups through to generational businesses. The conference offers professionals in the fields of farm and food business planning, financial planning, agricultural financing, farmland conservation, agricultural market development, and food hub management the opportunity to learn from and with colleagues, develop new skills, and connect with farm viability professionals from across the country. We incorporated our FIELD School sessions relevant to incubator farm and apprenticeship training programs within a diverse track of excellent workshops throughout the month-long virtual National Farm Viability Conference during October 2021. FIELD School attendees took advantage of our incubator and apprenticeship-focused professional development workshops and enjoyed access to 75 other conference sessions and networking opportunities with the 400 attendees who participated in the event.
2020: The year of COVID-19! We held our 9th annual FIELD School virtually in collaboration with Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's 35th annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference. The National FIELD School “Track” included an informative lineup of incubator and apprenticeship training program-focused workshops throughout the multi-day conference for participants. We also hosted “meetups”, facilitated discussion sessions, virtual farm tours, and staffed a virtual “trade show” table where participants learned more about the newly emerging FIELD Network (the combination of our NIFTI and AgALN national networks)! See the 2020 schedule of workshops and link to session recordings (purchase required). Over 250 unique participants attend the National FIELD School in 2020, the virtual format allowed even more participants to attend, learn from one another, and share best practices to improve land-based, experiential farmer/rancher training programs. Special thanks to our 2020 National FIELD School planning team: Beth LaShell, Ft. Lewis College; Matt Gordon, Rogue Farm Corps, Clare Reisman, UCSC CASFS Agroecology Apprenticeship Program; Leah Ricci, Quivira Coalition, and Aaron Newton, Steward.
2019: We held our 8th annual and first ever combined NIFTI & AgALN Field Schools in Ithaca, NY, hosted by New Entry and The Groundswell Center for Local Food and Farming. We held two conference tracks: one for incubator farm programs and one for apprenticeship training programs. Incubator programs visited Groundswell Center's Incubator Farm in Ithaca, NY and RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Self Empowerment) SYRAP program in Syracuse, NY. The Apprenticeship Programs visited Kingbird Farm and Northland Sheep Dairy. View the 2019 Conference Brochure and Workshop Descriptions.
2018: The 7th annual NIFTI network Field School was held in Boulder, CO hosted by Denver Botanic Gardens and Ft. Lewis College (Old Fort at Hesperus Incubator Program) with site visits to Poudre Valley Community Farms, 5 Fridges Farm, Denver Green School, and The GrowHaus.
The 2nd Annual AgALN Annual Gathering was held in Albequerque, NM hosted by Quivira Coalition with site visits to Grow the Growers and Chispas Farm.
2017: The 6th annual NIFTI Field School was held in CA at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Center in Pacific Grove, CA with a site visit to ALBA (Association of Land-Based Training) in Salinas, CA.
The 1st annual AgALN Annual Gathering was held in Boston, MA hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project as a pre-conference to our first national Community Food Systems Conference. We also hosted a launch meeting for the AgALN Network at Paicines Ranch in CA earlier in the year.
2016: The 5th annual NIFTI Field School was held in Ann Arbor, MI with site visits to Tillian Farm Development Center and Lansing Roots.
2015: The 4th annual NIFTI Field School was held in Chapel Hill, NC hosted by MDC, Inc. with site visits to Transplanting Traditions and Breeze Incubator Farm.
2014: The 3rd annual NIFTI Field School was held in Portland, OR hosted by EcoTrust with site visits to Headwaters Farm Incubator Program and Refugee Gardens (Mercy Corps NW).
2013: The 2nd annual NIFTI Field School was held at The Forest in Marine on St. Croix, MN hosted by The Food Group (formerly The Minnesota Food Association) with a site visit to Big River Farms.
2012: The 1st annual NIFTI Field School was held in Lowell, MA hosted by New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, with site visits to New Entry and the Intervale Center in Burlington, VT