Do you have the perfect idea for a session for this year’s Food & Farm Forum / Youth Food & Farm Forum?  (December 6-7, 2019, in Fairhope, AL)  We want to hear about it!

This year we are trying something new — we are inviting session proposals from our entire network (and beyond), to build an even better Forum program than ever!

Our Food & Farm Forum planning committee has created this Request for Session Proposals form that has everything you’ll need to know:

[Request for Session Proposals] (click)

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, June 17, 2019

Please share widely within your networks!



The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network (ASAN) is a grassroots network of producers and supporters of locally, ecologically, and ethically raised food from throughout Alabama. Our mission is to deepen relationships between the people of Alabama, the food we eat, and the place we live.

Through training events, field days, scholarship programs, publications, and a community support network, ASAN aims not only to help existing farmers thrive, but to fundamentally change the very landscape in which our food system operates.

Our vision is to create a resilient agricultural system in Alabama — one that is ecologically regenerative, centered around those who work the land, just, intergenerational, and rooted in community. Read more at



The Food & Farm Forum and Youth Food & Farm Forum (collectively, “the Forum”) together are the largest annual gathering of ASAN’s statewide network of farmers, gardeners, community leaders, and good food advocates.

Approximately 200 diverse participants from across the state convene to swap stories, ideas, and wisdom, in order to together build a more robust local food system in Alabama.

The adult Food & Farm Forum has been held in its current format (a two-day, statewide gathering) since 2017. It was held as a series of one-day Regional Forums from 2013-2016, and as a statewide gathering prior to that. The first Youth Food & Farm Forum was held in 2018.



a) Provide peer-to-peer learning exchange on topics related to local food, regenerative agriculture, and sustainable communities

b) Be a space for shared celebration, emphasizing community, family, and fellowship, reflecting the culture/vibe we’re trying to create in ASAN throughout the year and throughout the state

c) Convene and connect the full breadth of food system stakeholders, including producers, food-based business owners, market managers, nonprofit reps, industry reps, ag support personnel, etc.

d) Provide opportunities to deepen knowledge and practice around racial, economic, and social equity, reflecting our belief that justice and equity are foundational to any sustainable agricultural system (and community) that we may hope to build.

e) Serve as a platform and space to advance ASAN network work, e.g. steering committee meetings, working groups, and visioning exercises

Our goals specifically in the 2019 Forum include:
a) Better integrate and interconnect the adult Forum and Youth Forum programming
b) Create more of a sense of the Forum as a cohesive space/event (vs a collection of loosely affiliated sessions)
c) Create spaces for co-creation and bottom-up contribution to the Forum program and the Forum community
d) Connect people to the specific place they’re in — provide opportunities to learn about the unique issues facing the area
e) Offer pre-Forum field trip options



While we recognize the value of the forms of knowledge that Western rational thought deems worthy and valuable, we also know that other forms of knowledge/knowing exist outside of that paradigm (and that these forms of knowledge have often been systematically devalued and demonized).

We value and uplift folk wisdom, practical skills, intuition, emotional intelligence, embodied knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, creative arts, and other forms of knowing. We seek to reflect this in ASAN’s organizing and in our selection of Forum sessions in particular.

That said, we ask you to provide some context about what background qualifications you bring to your proposed session topic/content. If you have formal or professional experience, and/or if you have experience leading a similar session in the past, by all means, share that!

However, don’t feel that if you DON’T have that experience, you are inherently not qualified. (In fact, it’s possible you may be more qualified than some others who DO have that experience!)

So — especially if you are someone prone to imposter syndrome — we invite you to dig deep and think outside the box as you share what qualifies you to lead your proposed session.



The Forum will address a variety of topics related to cultivating a resilient agricultural system in Alabama. Priority will be given to sessions that reflect:

* Skill-building across cultures, communities, and sectors/roles in the food system
* Collaboration, cooperation, and network-building
* Diversity of presenters and perspectives
* Grounding in racial, social and economic equity/justice and authentic community-building

Applications are welcome from anyone, anywhere. That said, as our goals are rooted in peer-to-peer exchange, community- and movement-building, and network empowerment, priority will be given to sessions led by folks from within our network — Alabamians and those nearby who have ties to the Alabama local food system and food movement.



For example, beginner OR advanced takes on: soil health, crop planning and rotation, livestock health and management, pest and disease management, land use planning, specific crop/product production methods, specific production styles (e.g. permaculture, biodynamics, etc), post-harvest handling and food safety

For example: business planning, recordkeeping, certifications, marketing channels (e.g. CSAs, wholesale, marketing to restaurants), taxes, land rental/ownership arrangements, cooperatives, insurance, labor, food hubs

For example: farmers markets, school/community gardens, food justice and food sovereignty, nonprofit and group management

For example: holistic health, alternative energy, green building, culinary skills, homesteading skills



Sessions will be either 50 minutes or 115 minutes (1 hour and 55 minutes) in length. Please plan accordingly to use the entire length of your session without going over.

A variety of session styles and formats is welcome. Sessions may include a hands-on demonstration, panel discussion, facilitated roundtable discussion (ie including audience members), storytelling, and/or a traditional presentation.

Powerpoint / visual aids are welcome when used constructively, but by no means required. Not all meeting spaces will have A/V capabilities, so be sure to note on your proposal form if you plan to use a presentation or other A/V.

Sessions may be led by youth and/or adults, and attendees will be a mix of youth and adults. Our Youth Forum Coordinator is available to youth session leaders, to support them in developing their session proposals.

Collaborative sessions co-led by youth and adults are encouraged as well, so long as the collaboration is genuine and not tokenizing of the youth involved.



The combined attendance for the 2019 Forum (youth and adults) is expected to be around 175-200 people — 130-150 adults and 45-50 youth (14-21). Sessions will have an average of 25-30 attendees each, though we ask that session leaders be prepared for anywhere from 5-60.

Based on the 2018 attendees, the audience at the Forum identifies as:
* 74% Farmer / producer or aspiring farmer / producer
* 51% Local farm lover / customer and/or advocate
* 45.5% Home, school, or community gardener
* 22% Nonprofit representative
* 10% Ag resource personnel (Extension, NRCS, etc), university representative, and/or government representative
* 12% Student
* 9% Food-based entrepreneur and/or culinary professional
* 8% Farmers market manager, food hub representative, or broker/buyer

Session proposals should take into consideration the audience outlined above. The proposed audience for your session could be a sampling of this full audience, or it could be a targeted group within this list (for example, experienced livestock producers).

We aim for our final program to include a mix of targeted and general-interest sessions, so preference will not be given to one over the other — we simply ask that you have a clear idea of who your audience is (and isn’t) and convey that in your proposal.



All session leaders receive free Forum registration in appreciation for their work and contribution to the Forum program. We have a limited scholarship budget for travel/lodging stipends for session leaders as well.



We are happy to provide support for you as you think through your session proposal and complete the following form. Please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] and/or 256-743-0742.

If you are a youth (14-21) proposing a youth-led session, we encourage you to also reach out to our Youth Forum Coordinator Mawiyah Patten, at [email protected] / 714-335-3445.



We encourage you to flip through the entire form now, then gather all the needed info so you can come back and complete the form in one sitting. We do not have any way for you to save your work and come back to it.


[Request for Session Proposals] (click)