Regenerative Ag Conference moves online

The event will be free to attend across four Thursdays in November

This year’s Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association Regenerative Ag Conference will be both online and free, the organization announced Aug. 18.

“An in-person gathering of the magnitude and impact we had hoped to make for our conference delegates is simply not feasible in these strange times,” the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association (MFGA) said in a news release, “but that doesn’t mean we can’t try our best to put together a great showcase for regenerative agriculture, healthy soils and healthy lands.”

The live, online event will take place over four Thursday evenings in November.

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Advocates of the movement say regenerative agriculture focuses on producing food while improving soil and natural ecosystems.

“There’s so much information available online already that we didn’t want to discourage anyone from taking part in our celebration,” Ryan Boyd, finance chair of MFGA, said. “I have been in really good discussions with our previously announced keynote speakers and each one has agreed to put a very strong Manitoba flavour into their presentations and also be available for a post-presentation facilitated question-and-answer session.”

Speakers will include Diana Rodgers, a nutritionist who speaks internationally about the intersection of optimal human nutrition and regenerative agriculture.

Another speaker, Nicole Masters, is an agroecologist. Her team of “soil coaches” through her business, Integrity Soils, work with producers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand to increase profitability and environmental outcomes.

Mark Shepard heads the Forest Agriculture Nursery in Wisconsin and runs New Forest Farm, a 106-acre commercial-scale perennial agricultural ecosystem that was converted from a row-crop grain farm. Shepard is also the author of the book Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers.

Brenda Tjaden is a food economist and marketer from Birds Hill, Man. Her company, Sustainable Grain, provides guidance to commercial farms on regenerative agriculture strategies. She also works with small farms to develop new local food economies.

Boyd will also present his 2019 Nuffield Scholarship findings.

The show will also feature an online trade show.

The MFGA will also host two socially distanced on-farm tours before November, the association has said. Fees will be collected at the tours for 2021 MFGA memberships.

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