Sustainable Agriculture Conference 2016 Presentations

Keynote Presentation Slides

Clara Coleman, Building Sustainable Farming Legacies


Farm Scale Composting

Fermentation with Two Chicks

On Farm Research

Workshop A

Workshop B

Workshop C

Workshop D

Workshop E

Workshop F

A Tour of Foodie Paradise, Saxapahaw, NC

by Leah Joyner, CFSA’s Education Coordinator

Back by popular demand, we’ve expanded the CFSA Sustainable Agriculture Conference preconference tour to a full day event that you won’t want to miss!

The Saxapahaw General Store is the heart of this charming community

The Saxapahaw General Store is the heart of this charming community                                         Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post originally appeared in 2015, written by CFSA Interns Alyssa Adler and Felicia Cenca (read the full post here). Last year, CFSA Interns interns were treated to a taste (both figuratively and literally) of a few stops on the Saxapahaw bus tour. Read their full post here and see below for info on all the stops on this year’s expanded tour to Saxapahaw!


Saxapahaw, NC is a small village with a rich history. This place is just overflowing with charm. Nestled on the banks of the Haw River, this former mill town has grown into a cultural mecca for foodies and farmers alike. The once dilapidated River Mill has been transformed into a place worthy of attention from the New York Times on three different occasions making it a sought-out destination. If the thought of a charismatic small town with big aspirations is alluring to you, we highly recommend checking out Saxapahaw on Friday, Nov. 4. This bus tour is a part of the preconference of the 31sth Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference happening this year in Durham, NC Nov. 4-6.

This full day of Saxapahaw flavor will sell out! Snag your seat early to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun.


Located at the heart of the village and community hub is the Saxapahaw General Store, owned and operated by Jeff Barney and Cameron Ratliff. Tour participants will start the day off with a pit stop in the general store, and the option to purchase coffee and pastries (among other options) at this “5 star gas station,” as New York Times calls it. The cafe offers a full menu, and the shelves are stocked with anything and everything from locally brewed beer to organic laundry detergent. Chat with Jeff about the history of the store, and how it’s grown into an incredible community gathering place and cultural hub that has garnered such national attention. You might even see a few farmers dropping off their products or sitting down for breakfast during your stop.


Reverence Farm

Reverence Farm
Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne

Last year, CFSA interns visited Reverence Farm (previously known as Haw River Ranch) where raising pastured animals is a passion for farm owner, Suzanne Nelson. Riding through the 300 acres of lush pasture land at the farm, Suzanne recalled how her city life in D.C. seemed to be lacking what she considers real food. This led her to start her own farm business in Saxapahaw with the help of her family. Her philosophy on food and health is: “living well means that we live lightly on the land and make the land better than we found it.” This deeply held belief is evident in her sustainable and ethical farming practices. Visitors will learn about this farm’s focus on rotational grazing with multiple species, which creates more fertile and productive land vegetation that is visible to even the most inexperienced farm visitors like ourselves. Haw River Ranch has a range of animals from chickens, sheep, dairy cows, hogs, turkeys and more which are being raised on an organic and natural diet.

Reverence Farm certainly does earn its name.

Reverence Farm certainly does earn its name.
Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne


Use Yer Foot!

Use Yer Foot! Photo by Deborah Grace.

Next, we’ll visit Turtle Run Farm where family members Kevin, Kim, Erin, and Clare Meehan raise a diverse variety of produce. In business since 1996, and long time hosts on the piedmont farm tour, the Meehans grow an award winning purple plum tomato variety they call “Little Cherokee.” A cross between the heirloom Cherokee Purple and their open-pollinated, Erin’s Gold, the Little Cherokee took first place at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market tasting contests in 2005 and 2007. Visitors will also learn how Kevin also handcrafts the portable ‘Use Yer Foot’ hand washing devices that are often used during CFSA farm tours. You can find produce from Turtle Run on the shelves at the Saxapahaw General Store.

For lunch the group will break at The Eddy Pub for a delicious, locally sourced meal in this beautifully restored portion of the Saxapahaw River Mill. For a full run-down on their commitment to local food systems and sustainability, check out their guest blog post. And, as an added bonus for tour participants joining us for the full conference weekend, you’ll be treated to meals all weekend crafted by The Eddy’s talented chef, Isaiah Allen, this year’s Sustainable Agriculture Conference local food coordinator who along with Chef El Haj Tayouga of the Sheraton has been working with CFSA member farmers to deliver a stellar conference menu.


TerraStay Farm

TerraStay Farm
Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne

After lunch, we’ll head over to TerraStay Farm, whose products can also be found at the store and in the pub. In just a few years, this previously barren landscape has developed into an efficient and highly productive 2-acre farm, complete with three state-of-the-art high tunnels. These specially designed structures are used to extend the growing season, which enables TerraStay to grow crops like salad mixes, kales, and other greens well into the cooler months of this year. TerraStay farm also supplies several restaurants in Raleigh working collaboratively with several area farms to co-market a variety of vegetables and dairy products to their restaurant clientele.


Cane Creek Farm

Cane Creek Farm
Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne

Less than a mile up the road, we’ll visit Cane Creek Farm where farmer Eliza Mclean raises a variety of heritage breed animals. Cane Creek Farm is well known for their production of Ossabaw Island Hogs, a world-renowned class of pig known for their healthy fat packed with Omega-3’s. Visitors will learn about the processes used at this farm to generate healthy forage and organic soils, provide a carbon sink, and produce veggies and livestock.


During the visit to Cane Creek we’ll enjoy a sampling of specialty meats from Left Bank Butchery, made with meats straight from the farm. Left Bank is known for their whole animal butchery, utilizing as many parts as possible to provide specialty meat cuts that you can’t find in your regular grocery store. Ross Flynn, owner of the butchery, works closely with Eliza to provide the Saxapahaw community with the best and most humanely produced meats around. You can’t get more farm-to-fork than a sampling of top-notch charcuterie on the very farm where the animals are raised!


The group will finish up the afternoon with a final stop back at the Saxapahaw River Mill. Take your pick between visiting with Ben Woodward at Haw River Farmhouse Ales, or head up to The Haw River Ballroom for your afternoon caffeine fix (they also have a selection of great herbal teas and baked goods from the Saxapahaw Village Bakehouse).



Photo by Holly Henderson Bourne

Oh, and did we mention that your tour will take place on Saxapahaw’s very own Blue Bird Bus, affectionately dubbed the Saxabus? The bus is owned and operated by the Culture Mill, a non-profit in the River Mill that supports artistic exchange in the community. Plus, during your ride in Saxapahaw style, you’ll enjoy thought-provoking conversation with Eric Henry of TS Designs.  Eric is the president of TS Designs, a sustainable t-shirt company known for their ‘dirt to shirt’ philosophy (you might recognize the TS Designs label if you’ve seen one of CFSA’s farm tour t-shirts). Outside of work, Eric is involved in several sustainable farm, food, and energy projects and can often be found enjoying a meal with local farmers in Saxapahaw.



NOTE: You do not need to register for the full Sustainable Agriculture Conference to attend this preconference tour (but, we hope you’ll be able to do both!).

Kris Reid on Coordinating Local Food on a Large Scale

This piece was re-posted with permission and can be found on the Piedmont Culinary Guild website.

How do you serve a large group of people dedicated to local sourcing? And do it efficiently? Just ask Piedmont Culinary Guild (PCG) Executive Director Kris Reid.

Since 2009, Kris has been serving as the Food Coordinator for the Sustainable Agriculture Conference – an event hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA). The 29th Annual SAC will be held November 10-12 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville, SC – and she is more than ready for it.

Kris is no stranger coordinating meals on a large scale. As Executive Chef at Southminster, she has plenty of opportunities to hone her organizational skills.

Kris Reid

“Sourcing from small local farms creates challenges for large public venues,” she explains. “Besides delivery issues, other concerns may be food safety as well as standardized packaging for both produce and cuts of proteins. It all creates a barrier that larger distributors are just now beginning to step up and deal with.”

“During the event I work with the venue culinary team to serve upwards of 2500 meals over the course of the three-day conference. In 2009, there were over 50 deliveries made to the first site I worked with. The meals were comprised of 80% locally sourced products from small, mostly organic, farms. Over the years the distribution of local food has evolved, as has sourcing for the conference.”

Kris did take a hiatus from her SAC duties in 2013, and credits last year’s coordinator, Danielle Goldfischer Rowland of Rowland’s Row Family Farm, for making things much easier for her this time around. “Danielle helped streamline this process, which helped reduce deliveries to the site and relieved some of the account payable nightmare that can occur when dealing with multiple small farms and deliveries,” she says.

Barbee Farms Strawberries and PeachesIn addition to Kris, another Guild member will be represented at the conference. Brent Barbee of Barbee Farms is providing the strawberries and peaches which will appear on select menu items.

The majority of the produce will be coming from Eastern Carolina Organics of Durham, NC (one of the SAC sponsors). Proteins will be provided by Firsthand Foods, another Durham-based distributor that works with pasture-based livestock producers. These producers raise their animals humanely, without feeding antibiotics or animal by-products, nor do they use added hormones.

Additionally, specialty produce items, eggs, dairy, and pantry items are being sourced through Leading Green Distributing, which was named Business of the Year at the 2013 Sustainable Ag Conference.

All of these distributors deliver to Charlotte and surrounding areas.

As you can see, being the Food Coordinator for this major event is a significant undertaking. So why with a full-time job and other non-profit responsibilities, does Kris Reid eagerly do this?

“It’s simple, really,” she says. “If we are going to continue to develop our local food chain into a more cohesive system capable of serving our communities, we need to drive attention to the farmers, producers and distributors that can help us get there. SAC is a huge opportunity to show people that yes we can eat locally, and we can do it on any scale.”

Click here to download the Official 2014 Sustainable Ag Conference Brochure, which includes the complete pricing charts and registration form. Registration can also be completed online – Click Here.