On Gardening: Learn more about agriculture at upcoming conference
by Danielle Carroll
Special to The Star
Dec 16, 2012 | 1846 views |  0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It is an exciting time for agriculture in Alabama. The demand for local foods is on the rise, thank goodness! And many Alabamians are taking action. I have attended the upcoming Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Tradeshow many times before. Both new and experienced growers will benefit from the annual event, which is slated for February. Thank you to Maggie Lawrence for the following information.

If you grow fruits and vegetables in Alabama, make plans to join your partners who feed Alabama at the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Conference Friday, Feb. 8, at the Ham Wilson Arena and Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Auburn Hotel and Conference Center in Auburn.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Association, which organize this conference, have collaborated for more than 30 years to provide educational opportunities to the state’s fruit and vegetable growers.

Ayanava Majumdar, an extension entomologist who leads the extension’s Commercial Horticulture Team, says demand for locally grown produce continues to increase.

“Consumers are hearing the message that purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables can mean better quality,” Majumdar says. “As a result of the increased demand for buying local, we are seeing more people producing fruits and vegetables that can be purchased locally here in Alabama. It is perhaps the fastest growing agriculture industry in Alabama.”

Both new and experienced growers will find topics beneficial to their operations at the two-day event.

Cost for the two day conference is $80 if received before Jan. 31 and includes your 2013 membership fees to AFVGA. Registration fee also includes dinner Friday night and lunch Saturday. Registration received after Jan. 31 will still be $80 but will not include meals.

For additional information and the registration form, visit the Alabama Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association website at www.aces.edu/department/associations/afvga.

Friday sessions will be held at the Ham Wilson Arena and will cover a variety of topics including soil conservation techniques, uses of social media, farm and estate planning and fruit crop updates.

On Friday afternoon, field tours will look at cover cropping techniques, soil moisture measurement and drip tape installation and maintenance, as well as demonstrate how to lay plastic in fields.

Two concurrent hands-on workshops will be held Friday from 1:30 to 5 p.m. A fruit-grafting workshop requires an additional $50 charge, and participants will receive common grafting equipment after completion. Small family farmers and limited resource farmers can participate in a free workshop titled “Wholesale Success,” organized by the Wallace Center/Winrock International. Class sizes are limited so register early if interested in either workshop. Friday registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

Saturday events will be held at the Auburn University Hotel and Conference Center. Workshop sessions on Saturday include fruit and vegetable pest management updates, invasive pests, irrigation systems and specialty crop production in Alabama.

These workshops will provide research from several experts in the field. A tradeshow with exhibitors representing industries from Alabama to Michigan will run concurrent with the conference. Registration for individuals, exhibitors and sponsors is now open.

Contact Leslie Brasher at thebrashers1@bellsouth.net for additional information.
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On Gardening: Learn more about agriculture at upcoming conference by Danielle Carroll
Special to The Star

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