If any city is obsessed with where food comes from—and how it’s harvested, caught, and prepared—it’s Portland. Many of us love nothing more than diving in and getting our hands dirty with the latest food and farm issues, and while February might be a bit early to break ground in your raised beds, it's the perfect time to grab your planner and get inspired. 

These upcoming events will get you one step closer to mapping out your best growing season yet. 

OSU's ANnual Small Farms Conference

Perfect for:

  • The pitchfork-wielding chef
  • Your neighbor with the fixer-upper fruit trees
  • Dreamy gardeners with a big yards and lots of ideas
  • Food policy advocates who want more info on what issues are affecting Oregon agriculture
  • The seasoned urban farmer who wants to improve their business
  • Chicken, goat, and horse lovers itching to add some livestock to their life
  • Anyone who appreciates a good, earnest hoedown

At this annual event, nationally recognized author, farmer, and sustainable agriculture advocate Michael Ableman will shares inspiring stories about farming practices and policies around the world. After the keynote, stick around for your choice of 24 sessions divided into two time slots by an organic lunch buffet. 

Sessions cover a diverse lineup of fascinating topics applicable to the home gardener, from selecting fruit varieties for the small farm and transitioning to organics 101 to growing quinoa in the Northwest. For growers who want to delve deeper, workshops will explore the impact of the affordable healthcare act on farmers, farming with draft horses, farm financing tips, and how to sell directly to SNAP recipients.

Leave the conference empowered to take your project to the next level but don’t forget to do-si-do on over to the Small Farms Hoedown where you can enjoy a local dinner from Gathering Together Farm, drink a few beers, and try your hand at square dancing with your new farm friends. Live music from When Picks Fly, Matt Schoch & Friends, and The Slippery Slope String Band with caller John Luna will encourage even the most inexperienced dancers to step out and try a turn or two.

When: Saturday, Feb 22 9 am–5:30 pm. Hoedown is from 6–11 pm.
Where: The LaSells Stewart Center and CH2M Hill Alumni Center on Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.
How Much: $65 per person. Hoedown is $15 per person. Register online or check out the Small Farms website for schedule and more details.

Farmer–Chef Connection

Perfect for:

  • The networking foodie who wants to secure a good source for their salad mix
  • The restaurateur sorting out how to offer sustainable food (and not go broke)
  • Farmers who want to break into the Portland restaurant scene 
  • Chefs interested in exploring what fish, plants, and producers meet their needs

Join over 300 chefs and food producers for a day of captivating workshops and productive networking. Forget TEDx talks and enjoy informative FED talks at the Farmer–Chef Connection 101 with some of Oregon’s most innovative food system pioneers. This year’s Connection offers participants the opportunity to get versed on the specifics of plant breeding, sustainable “trash fish”, the patent realities of common vegetables, among topics. Get inspired by keynote speaker James Beard award winning chef/restaurateur Andrea Reusing and pick the brain of successful farm–to–table chefs on how they dish out local food you feel good about while turning a profit.

When: Monday, March 3, 8 am–5 pm
Where: World Forestry Center, 4033 SW Canyon Rd
How Much: $39 per person. Admission includes breakfast, lunch, and happy hour. Score your tickets on Eventbrite or email farmerchefpdx@gmail.com. Check out their website for more information.

Every Wednesday: Restaurant tips, cheap eats, recipes, and breaking food and drink news from all over the city. (See an example!)