• Campfire sessions – full-network, big-picture gathering spaces meant to grow our shared understanding of the work before us as a movement, the legacies we’ve inherited, and the vision we have for a just, sustainable, resilient future
  • “Hands-on” skillshare sessions – panels, roundtables, demos, and more, on a wide variety of practical skills related to farming and food systems
  • Caucus spaces – these three sessions (for LGBTQIA+ people; BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) people; and young people ages 14-24) are open only to those who identify with those respective groups.  ASAN is a broad-based and extremely diverse network.  We employ closed spaces like these to enable conversations, community-building, and work that is not possible in a mixed-identity group;  folks leave closed spaces like these, better able to participate fully and be heard when they re-enter the full-network space.  For more on caucus/affinity groups see this resource, which is specific to racial affinity groups but can be applied to other types as well.
  • Social Time – just what it says!  The in-person Forum is so much more than the sessions, it’s family-style meals and late-nights by the fire and full of friends new and old.  These spaces aim to recreate some of this unique and cherished vibe.
  • Youth Forum – these sessions are organized and led by our Youth Council!  The Youth Clubhouse is open to youth only (14-24); all other Youth Forum sessions are open to any and all attendees willing to respect youth-centric space.


Session type Day Time Title Description People involved
Zoom 101 Orientation Weds 12/2 3:00-4:00pm Zoom 101 Orientation Are you new to Zoom? We’re here to help! We want everyone to have a great Forum experience and ensure that technology doesn’t get in the way of our learning and connecting. If you need help learning how to use Zoom, please join us for a Zoom orientation on Wednesday December 2nd at 3pm CT. If you need help joining the Zoom orientation, please send a message to our Virtual Help Desk and someone will call you to help get you logged on.
Campfire Thu 12/3 6:00-8:00pm Campfire 1 – “We’ve Already Survived the Apocalypse”: Resilience Lessons for These Times 2020 has felt apocalyptic for many, in many ways. COVID has caused previously unimaginable illness, death, and interruption to everyday life, in ways we can’t yet begin to fully account for. Climate change continues to ravage in ever-stronger ways, through fires, floods, disease and more — hitting poor communities and communities of color the hardest. The racism and classism baked so deeply into our culture continue to show themselves in ever-more-flagrant ways. And yet — we are a deeply-rooted and deeply resilient people. We descend, genetically and spiritually/ideologically, from people and communities who have endured, from people who know how to thrive in community and on the land. How can we tap into that resilience right now, and instead of feeling overwhelmed and under-resourced, instead feel grounded and ready? This “campfire” panel will draw on the wisdom of individuals who can speak to moments in their own lives, and/or in their ancestors’ lives — in the lives of those whose legacies they carry on — when they warded off what could have been the end. Sehoy Thrower (Poarch Band of Creek Indians / ASAN Board), Mr George Paris, Scott Marlow (Long Rows Consulting), Mayra Rangel. Moderator: Jasmine Ratliff (Ellis Marsalis Center / National Black Food and Justice Alliance / ASAN Board)
Skillshare Fri 12/4 11:30-1:00pm Adaptation and resilience during and after COVID The COVID pandemic isn’t over, but the end of the growing season gives us a welcome moment to pause and take stock. We’ll ask our panel, and those in attendance: What weaknesses has this pandemic exposed, in our farms and food system? What lessons have we learned, and how have we adapted? Moving forward, how can we adapt and innovate so as to not only weather the COVID storm, but to build towards the safer, more equitable, and more resilient food system we need and want? Matthew Lawrence (Marble Creek Farmstead), Andrew Williams (Deep South Food Alliance / TUCCA), Natalie Bishnoi (Farm Food Collaborative), Brennan Washington (SSARE / Phoenix Gardens). Moderator: Olivia Cleveland (This Mountain Farm / ASAN)
Social Sat 12/5 10-11:00am Community Unwind Whew! How many times has this hectic year made you stop breathing, made your shoulders clench, your jaw lock? Our bodies have been helping us cope with this year, let’s take some time to give them some love. We will be breathing into a guided mediation to help better feel (and relax) into our bodies, and practicing tools to help calm us in times of stress. This session is open (and aims to be accessible to!) anyone–regardless of experience or familiarity with mindfulness or mediation. Marian Mwenja (ASAN)
Skillshare Sat 12/5 12:00-1:30pm Social Media 101 for Farmers and Small Businesses Social media is a dynamic storytelling tool, and almost indispensable to any small business owner in this modern age. Engaging with your community is essential, and telling your story effectively is one of the best ways to support your marketing efforts. On this panel, you’ll hear farmers from across the state explain their journeys and relationships with social media, and learn how to harness the basics for your business needs. Briar Blakley (Federation of Southern Cooperatives), Chris Joe (The Joe’s Black Angus Farm), Charlie Griffin (Hepzibah Farms). Co-moderators: Hannah Music (ASAN Youth Council / LCCTC FFA Chapter), Olivia Cleveland (This Mountain Farm / ASAN)
Skillshare Sat 12/5 2:00-3:30pm The Nuts and Bolts of Starting and Running a Co-op As with any business, cooperatives are guided by principles and practices that guide their operation and benefit to their member-owners. This workshop session will discuss how cooperatives differ from other types of businesses; benefits to members; and the steps to start-up, including legal documents and other requirements that will ensure that they remain viable enterprises. Pamela Madzima (Federation of Southern Cooperatives / LAF)
Skillshare, Youth Forum Sat 12/5 5:00-6:30PM Youth Campfire: Neighbors, Farmers, and Mutual Aid Featuring organizers from the Dynamite Hill Community Land Trust, Birmingham Mutual Aid, the Birmingham Free Store, and NOLA Community Fridges, this panel will discuss the values and principles of mutual aid as well as the steps these organizers took to make their projects possible. Learn how this model of “neighbors helping neighbors” is unique from other forms of community work and get inspired to take action back home. This session is organized by and for youth but is open to any and all attendees willing to respect youth-centric space. Lilith Stubsten (Birmingham Free Store), Majadi Baruti (Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust), and Penny (Birmingham Mutual Aid).
Skillshare Sun 12/6 1:00-2:30pm Seed Saving Why and How In this session, you’ll learn seed keeping basics so that you can grow your favorite plants from year to year, without reaching for the seed catalog. Guided by video demos and knowledge from Charlotte and Dove from the Sand Mountain Seed Bank, you’ll see the full process from knowing when to harvest, to drying and preserving good quality seeds. We’ll go over appropriate methods (wet or dry) for saving beans/legumes, squash, melons, and tomatoes. We’ll also discuss the vital importance of seed saving and the unique challenges we face in our region. Bring your questions big and small! Don’t forget to join for the online seed swap where we’ll be swapping heirloom seeds- pass it on! Dove Stackhouse (Whirlwind Farms / Sand Mountain Seed Bank) and Charlotte Hagood (Sand Mountain Seed Bank)
Skillshare Sun 12/6 3:00-4:30pm Show & Tell: Tools and Equipment Learn from your fellow farmers and producers about their favorite tools and maybe share a tool of your own! In this session, we’ll swap tips about our trusty tools and equipment which have gotten the job done, again and again. Between a round table of presenters, we’ll cover human powered tools like the hoe and scythe and the basics of small two-stroke engine care, and that’s just the beginning! Buckle up for preferences, demos, unconventional uses, care tips, and discussion- paying tribute to tools, big and small. Sign up to share about your favorite tool- first come first serve, text Charlotte at 615.812.8580! Moderated by Charlotte Pate (ASAN)
Skillshare Mon 12/7 11am-1pm “So You Think You Want To Grow Hemp” Now What? Learn what it takes to get into the hemp growing business. Learn the many options for growing and using hemp for medicine, food and industrial uses. Learn about pest management and other important aspects of the production side. We’ll also discuss legal aspects and the risks involved. Benjamin Bramlett (Sustainable CBD LLC), Katelyn Kesheimer (Auburn University), Sedrick Rowe (Rowe Organic Farm LLC), Coleman Beale (Bastcore), Scheril Murray Powell Esq (Black Farmers and Agriculturalists of Florida / Green Sustainable Strong, LLC / Canna Headhunters) Matthan Ibidapo (Cannabis South). Moderator: Russell Bean (Tuskegee University)
Skillshare Mon 12/7 2:00-3:30pm Water Works: Irrigation & Water Conservation Systems Learn new ways to catch, store or distribute water for food production, in this round table discussion. Farmer panelists and attendees will share about their irrigation and water conservation systems such as drip irrigation, overhead irrigation, hardscaping and permaculture earthworks including berms and swales, and more. We’ll cover not only creating these systems, but also troubleshooting and maintaining them, and will have plenty of space for attendees to share their own models/systems, challenges, and questions. Moderated by Christopher Gooden (Fountain Heights Farm)
Skillshare, Youth Forum Mon 12/7 7:00-8:00pm Youth Session 1: Talk and Chew: A Discussion on Food Justice and Healthy Cooking Take advantage of the opportunity to introduce yourself to the concept of “food justice” while learning about healthy and affordable recipes, with three of ASAN’s Youth Council members. We will start off discussing what “food justice” means to us and looks like in our lives, then move to our demonstration of low-cost, good-for-you food, including: Caesar salad with portobello mushrooms, and bruschetta with mozzarella. We will provide recipes for the food shown as well as have time for Q&A.  This session is organized by and for youth but is open to any and all attendees willing to respect youth-centric space. Laila Sears (ASAN Youth Council, Woodlawn High School Ambassador, eMotion Therapy), Ella Nichols (ASAN Youth Council) and Matthew Speros (ASAN Youth Council)
Social Tue 12/8 12:00-1:00pm Community Potluck Sharing meals at the Forum has been an integral part of strengthening our community’s bond. Conversations about sessions, the place you’re from, and the work you do evolves between attendees over meals using ingredients provided by our farmers. We felt it was important to continue that tradition virtually. Whether your meal is traditional, familial, has place-based ties, prepared with your own ingredients, or leftovers from your fridge please share your meal and story in community.
Campfire Tue 12/8 6:00-8:00pm Campfire 2 – “Nobody’s Free Til Everybody’s Free”: Investing in Racial Justice for Sustainable Food Futures Race-based oppression is foundational to our food system, past and present, and is a wound we all carry, though in very different ways — and yet, we can only heal what we are first able to name and understand. In order to build a more just and resilient food system, we must first unpack how the intersections of race and space have influenced our ability to nourish ourselves, our families, and the communities we inhabit. This “campfire” session brings together an intergenerational, multi-racial panel of Southerners who have devoted their lives to cultivating communities with more aliveness and more self-determination. We will share stories and deepen analysis of how our food system both impoverishes and enriches us, collectively. Our aim is to learn from these legacies, repair and shed what no longer serves us, and remember and reimagine what it will take to shape our shared future on the land. Hollis Watkins, Suzanne Pharr (National Council of Elders & Southern Movement Assembly), Magaly Licolli (Venceremos), Ramsey Sprague. Moderator: Alsie Parks (SAAFON)
Skillshare Wed 12/9 11:00am-1:00pm Starting a New Fruit Orchard Looking to start or expand your own orchard? Join Larry Stephenson from Southern Cultured Orchards & Nursery for a comprehensive workshop on fruit tree production. Larry will walk you through the steps, tools, and materials he’s currently using to prepare a new orchard, and he’ll cover key topics such as soil types, amendments, fertilizers, layout, mulches, cover crops, and planting. There will also be a Q&A for you to bring your questions about growing your own fruit trees. Larry Stephenson (Southern Cultured Orchards & Nursery)
Caucus Wed 12/9 6:00-7:30pm LGBTQIA+ Huddle Calling all Queer folks! We need some “us” time where our identities are not only respected, but celebrated. This huddle hopes to be a space of respite, to ground in our bodies, process the year, and vision ways ASAN can support our queer base through the burgeoning Justice Committee–because we deserve a future where our whole selves are celebrated every single day. This session is only open to those who identify Queer / LGBTQIA.
Skillshare Thu 12/10 2:00-4:00pm Black Land Matters Five individual White landowners in America own more rural land than all of Black America combined. Systematic discrimination that has plagued Black America for centuries is reflected in the restrictions, threats, and erosions of Black land ownership. So, if we are to build a just, equitable, and sustainable food system, the issue of Black land must be central. This session will highlight the history, challenges, and success strategies around Black land access and retention, explore the cultural implications of land ownership, and explore ways Black folks are healing and reclaiming our relationship with land and land stewardship. Panel: Jerry Pennick (Federation of Southern Cooperatives), Dr Robert Zabawa (Tuskegee University), Charice Starr, Rev Majadi Baruti (Dynamite Hill Smithfield Community Land Trust). Moderator: Dr Kara Woods (Tuskegee University)
Skillshare, Youth Forum Thurs 12/10 7:00-8:00pm Youth Session 2: Beginning Biointensive Agriculture – The Trench Method More and more young people are returning to the tradition of growing food for themselves, their families, and their communities. Yet one major obstacle stands in their way: land access. Join Youth Council member Ontrel Tate as he introduces biointensive agriculture as a solution to that obstacle. Ontrel will discuss how biointensive agriculture lets you grow more in less space and dive deep into the trench method for preparing your first biointensive garden beds. This session is organized by and for youth but is open to any and all attendees willing to respect youth-centric space. Ontrel Tate (ASAN Youth Council)
Skillshare Fri 12/11 2:00-4:00pm Connecting Farms to the Community: Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and other ways to build direct farmer/consumer relationships Direct-to-consumer sales, and especially farm subscription arrangements, have immense benefits for farmers, including maximizing profit margins, increasing farmer cash flow early in the season, and facilitating consumer feedback, consumer education, and community-building. During COVID, we’ve seen a boom in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, online farm storefronts, home delivery, and more. This session will feature farmers who sell directly to consumers in a variety of ways, using a variety of tools; we’ll lay out the nuts and bolts and the pros and cons of each. Rachel Hawkins (Kith & Kin CSA / Hawkins Homestead Farm), Brennan Washington (Southern SARE / Phoenix Gardens), Dominique Villanueva (Fountain Heights Farm / #wealleat Cooperative). Moderator: Caylor Roling (EAT South)
Caucus Fri 12/11 6:00-7:30pm BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) Huddle As BIPOC folks, this year, and every year living with unrelenting racial violence, has been exhausting; we need spaces and places to rest and restore. This huddle hopes to be one of those spaces. We will spend time grounding in our bodies, processing this year, and visioning around ways ASAN can support BIPOC members through the burgeoning Justice Committee. This session is only open to those who identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Color.
Skillshare Sat 12/12 2:00-3:30pm Farmer Roundtable: Growing Your Own Animal Feed Join us for a peer-to-peer share on the subject of growing your own feed, or supplementary feed, for livestock/poultry. Topics covered may include: growing grain for feed, determining feed mix ratios, using by-products like spent brewers grain, raising mealworms and black soldier flies, and more. This session will offer an opportunity for you to share with and learn from fellow farmers. The discussion will be participant-led and facilitated by Aubrey Gallegos. Moderator: Aubrey Gallegos (McDowell Farm School / ASAN Board)
Caucus, Youth Forum Sat 12/12 4:00-5:00pm Youth Clubhouse Join us in this youth-only (14-24) social space to connect and kick back with other young folks in ASAN’s network. Meet a potential pen pal from across the state or find a new nearby friend. This session will be designed and facilitated by ASAN’s Youth Council and is open only to youth 14-24.
Social Sat 12/12 7:30-9:00pm Community Celebration: Social Hour & Dance Party Help us close out a successful Food and Farm Forum with this community celebration. Connect with other attendees through a “speed friending” activity and meet the wonderful folks who make ASAN’s nework so strong. Next, dance to your heart’s content at our virtual dance party, featuring our very own DJ! We’ll see you there!
Campfire Sun 12/13 2:00-4:00pm Campfire 3 – The Solidarity Economy: Building the World We Want In these times it feels like the world is crumbling around us and there’s little we can do to stop it and move forward. But there is a foundation of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual aid that has been at the core of our communities for generations; and in these times we must lean on that foundation so that it can help guide our next steps. Cooperatives, bartering, community farms, land trusts, and community financing and support systems are a critical piece of our resistance and survival. Join this session to learn about & share the systems of solidarity that have – and continue to – help build the world we want to see — one based on cooperation, respect for our earth and each other, and mutual aid. We’ll learn about examples of global solidarity economy systems and models; discuss Alabama-based community land trusts, peoples budgets, and mutual aid support; and share our visions for Alabama’s future. Shavaun Evans


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