The NCAT Gulf States office enjoyed networking and providing sustainable agriculture information and expertise at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SSAWG) Conference in Mobile, Ala., recently.
SSAWG is the premier event for sustainable agriculture in the Southeast region. Last year, about 1,500 people attended; this year, about 1,100 attended the sessions held Jan. 15-19, 2014, at the Mobile Bay Convention Center. Reasons given for the lower attendance were varied: from poor economy, bad weather, deep south location, and the fact that Georgia Organics and Florida Organics are having a joint conference in February (see: http://conference.georgiaorganics.org/). Nonetheless, 1,100 people is nothing to sneeze at, and we had a banner experience.
We handed out all the printed material we brought, totaling about 1,000 publications. Probably half of the 500 or so people who streamed by our booth were familiar with ATTRA or NCAT. But the other half of that figure was composed of people who were either new to agriculture or in an allied field, such as Farm to School, and so were new to the NCAT/ATTRA experience. So, we would chalk it down as a great outreach.
In addition, we renewed ties with other stakeholders in the region, such as NRCS, Georgia Organics, SSARE, and others.
We enjoyed talking with the various people who visited our booth. Here are a few photos:
It should be noted that Gulf States Regional Ag Specialist Felicia Bell is vice president of SSAWG, and was highly visible as a member of the NCAT/ATTRA team! Regional Director Rockiell Woods was instrumental in networking and providing outreach with minority and underserved segments, utilizing his academic and extension service contacts. I was invited to sit in with a SSAWG policy making board that includes representatives from the other major nonprofits in the region and probably will be more involved with it in the future.
All in all, it was a great conference and quite productive for getting out the word about sustainable agriculture. SSAWG is zealous in its outreach to all people interested in sustainable agriculture and is proud of its minority involvement and participation. For more about SSAWG, see: http://www.ssawg.org/
For more on the types of publications we handed out at the conference, see: https://attra.ncat.org/publication.html
We love visiting with farmers and ranchers who are practicing sustainable agriculture. If you have an event where our NCAT/ATTRA information and expertise would be of interest, give us a call at (toll free): 866-643-2767.
We would love to hear from you!