The Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum is an annual opportunity for those involved in and contributing to Arizona’s local food system to gather, network, learn, and develop new skill sets. This year’s Food and Farm Finance Forum on May 19-20 in Phoenix is for farmers, producers, students, nonprofit professionals, policy makers, funders and consumers alike, with daily offerings tailored to the needs of everyone in the food system. This 2-day conference covers a variety of information and topics, so we're highlighting the top five things you'll learn at this year's event:
1. Gardening Tips From the Pros
Day 1 of the Food and Farm Finance Forum will feature a track for those interested in learning more about gardening. Whether you're already an avid gardener or looking to start growing your own food, you'll walk away with new knowledge about how to better feed yourself. Scheduled workshop topics include water harvesting, bee keeping, native foods, and caring for fruit trees.
2. How to Finance and Operate Your Own Farm or Food Producing Business
Day 1 will also feature a track for farmers and those interested in starting a farm. Family Farmed will be presenting their Wholesale Marketing Success Training covering topics such as calculating return on investment; cleaning, drying, and curing produce; traceability; packing shed design; and maintaining the cold chain. Day 2 will include a funders circle that will showcase various success stories in creative funding methods for food entrepreneurship. These trainings will set you on your way to improving your food business or launching your own!
3. Strategies for Community Organizing and Advocating for Healthy Food Systems
Are you interested in enacting policies that help bring local foods to more tables? We'll be covering topics like farm to school programs and food insecurity and nutrition so that you're updated on the latest efforts to improve Arziona's local foods system. There will also be trainings on community organizing and how to tell your story so that you can make the most impact with your efforts.
4. How to Navigate the USDA for Your Needs
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a plethora of programs and recourses available to those in the agricultural industry, but it can sometimes be difficult to find exactly what you need or know all that is available to you. We'll be putting together a USDA Toolkit and unveiling it at this year's Food and Farm Finance Forum. This toolkit will be your navigational tool to point you to the recourses that can help your farm or food business thrive.
5. How to Get Your Products Sold to Institutions
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. By becoming certified with the GAP/GHP program, you open yourself up to selling your products to larger institutions like schools, hospitals, cafeterias, and more that require this certification. We'll cover the details of the GAP/GHP program and how to start selling to institutions.
Tickets are on sale now for the Arizona Food and Farm Finance Forum, with 1- and 2-day ticket packages available. Get more information and register today.