New York Times best-selling author Forrest Pritchard will headline the third annual West Virginia Urban Agriculture Conference on the campus of West Virginia State University (WVSU) Saturday, Apr. 30. A seventh-generation farmer, Pritchard will provide the conference’s keynote address and sign copies of his new book, “Growing Tomorrow,” a behind-the-scenes look at sustainable farms from across the country.
Pritchard’s talk will focus on the national momentum of sustainable farming, enthusiasm for community-supported agriculture and the successful rise of urban farming.
“What an opportunity – and a legacy – we have in West Virginia to promote sustainable and urban farming,” said Pritchard, whose first book, “Gaining Ground,” was named a top read by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post and NPR’s The Splendid Table. “From paying living wages to our farmers, to strengthening local communities, to providing healthy food success, we must support the landscape we cherish, or lose it.”
The day-long conference will feature workshops on a variety of urban agriculture topics, including horticulture, homesteading, conservation, marketing, adaptive gardening and livestock. The event will culminate in a local foods reception and book signing by Pritchard and other conference speakers.
“Consider yourself a proud West Virginian? Let’s stand up for our soils, our rolling hills, our rural communities, our hardworking farmers,” Pritchard added. “This is our heritage; it’s too valuable to waste. Sustainable and urban farming offers a clear path toward a brighter future, uniting us all.”
West Virginia University Extension Service, WVSU Extension Service and the Capitol Conservation District are hosting the event, which stemmed from an increasing interest in urban agriculture planners were seeing in their workshops and trainings.
“We are showing that people in urban areas can participate in the food system and help combat issues of food access, hunger and health,” said WVU assistant professor and Extension Agent John Porter. “We are helping to show that locally grown food is a possibility, whether you have a 100-acre farm or a backyard raised bed.”
Registration is available through Apr. 23 at a rate of $45. A full schedule and online registration is available at urbanagwv.com.