Neighborhood Farms –
For the Good of the All
April 29, 2017
Green Gate Farms
Our Green Gate Farms Day is part of HMI’s Open Gate Learning Series. Open Gates are peer-to-peer action-based learning days with short presentations and small group exercises geared for participants to share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers.
Whether you are an agricultural producer (or wannabe), locavore, Austin local foodie, urbanite concerned with a thriving community, or just interested in organic vegetables and grass-fed meat, this is a day for you.
Come and be a part of this on-the-ground learning day, connect with others who care about a healthy food system and help strengthen your local communities. Because we all have a stake in the way our food is grown.
At the Open Gate: Green Gate Farms Day, you will…
- See what neighborhood organic farmers are doing to maintain land health and profitability while offering healthy, local food all can afford
- Learn about the Holistic Management goal setting and decision-making process
- Hear the Green Gate Farms story and tour the farm
- Learn about grass-fed pork production
- Discuss the opportunities for and obstacles to urban farming
- Learn ways to get connected with great Austin local food – food hubs, CSA’s, Farmers Markets, Farm Stands
- Learn how to get connected with payment programs and loans for your farm from the Farm Service Agency
- Enjoy a fabulous lunch of Green Gate pork and vegetables prepared by Culvito Catering
- Hear how Holistic Management enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of regenerative agriculture
Advanced registration is $25 per person (includes lunch). On-line registration closes April 24, 2017. Walk in registration is $35 per person, if available. Register soon, as we have limited space available. Sorry, registration fees are non-refundable. If you are unable to register online, please fill out the HMI Event Registration Form and mail along with your check or money order to:HMI Registration Dept.
5941 Jefferson St. NE, Ste B
Albuquerque, NM 87109
This is a rain or shine event. We will be spending parts of the day out on the land, and boots or other enclosed protective footwear, as well as long pants, are recommended. Please bring your own water bottle.
|Saturday||April 29, 2017|
|9:00-9:30 am||Registration & Social|
|9:30 am||Welcome & Introductions - P. Cole|
|9:40 am||The Story of Green Gate Farms - E. Flynn & S. Connett|
|10:30 am||Farm Tour - E. Flynn & S. Connett|
|12:00 pm||A Brief Look at Holistic Management - P. Sechrist Panel on Neighborhood Farms with: R. Rutledge - Sustainable Food Center - Farmers Markets - Getting Good Food to All People E. Marty - Austin Food Policy - Why Neighborhood Farms? R. Maggiani - NCAT Austin's Food Hubs, Organic Farms in TX|
|12:45 pm||FSA – Farm Service Agency programs and loans - K. Jolander, FSA Farm Loan Officer|
|1:00 pm||Fabulous lunch prepared by Culvito Catering with Green Gate Farms grass-fed pork and freshly picked vegetables|
|2:00 pm||Goal Setting & Decision Testing with P. Sechrist & Neighborhood Farms Panel|
|3:30 pm||Q & A - Discussion, Evaluation|
Location & Directions
Green Gate Farms
8310 Conoga Ave,
Austin, TX 78724
Green Gate Farms is located off Decker Lane between 969 and Hidden W Blvd.
Green Gate Farms
Green Gate Farms, a certified organic farm, was established by Skip Connett and Erin Flynn in an underserved neighborhood in east Austin in 2006. Working off-farm jobs to fund our efforts, we restored a historic farm site to create a community resource for neighbors of all incomes. Our vision is to cultivate an organic farm that feeds the mind, body, and soul. Green Gate farms serves its community through events and partnerships including:
-a 125-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
-Hosting events that generate income for organizations engaged in meaningful work
-Selling produce to individuals of all incomes, restaurants, CSAs, and grocery stores
-Operating a weekly farm stand that accepts WIC/SNAP vouchers
-Training and managing full-time staff, interns, work shares, and weekly volunteers
Erin & Skip are organic farmers and agricultural activists. Through their writing, speeches and presentations at local, regional and national conferences, they simplify complex issues and foster communication between farmers, policy makers, citizens, government officials, and the media.
Each year, Green Gate Farms provide Farm-Based Education to hundreds of individuals and groups — students from kindergarten through college, employees, international visitors and others — by utilizing the farm as a living classroom. They have founded the New Farm Institute to educate, assist and inspire citizens and a new generation of sustainable organic farmers, with a focus on the urban fringe — an area defined as within 30 miles of medium to large cities.
Peggy Sechrist, Holistic Management Certified Educator
Peggy Sechrist, a student and practitioner of Holistic management for nearly 30 years has also been a Certified Educator in Holistic Management since 1992; and resides in the Hill Country of Texas near Fredericksburg with her husband, Richard.
Through application of holistic management, Peggy and Richard were the first ranchers in Texas to create a certified organic, grass-fed beef operation in 1995 and added production of poultry in 1998. She has advocated for and served sustainable agriculture for many years in collaboration with numerous agricultural and wildlife agencies including Texas A&M University, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Dept of Agriculture, NRCS, serving on the SSAWG Board of Directors (Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group), and the USDA/SARE Administrative Council. Currently, Peggy and Richard also operate a local food co-op and serve membership groups in Fredericksburg, Kerrville, and Boerne.
Skip Connett & Erin Flynn, Green Gate Farm Owners
Harold “Skip” Connett is an organic farmer and writer in Central Texas. Along with his wife, Erin, and three children, he grows certified organic vegetables and heritage hogs on a five-acre historic farm – one of the last working farms within Austin’s city limits — as well as a 35-acre farm on the Colorado River in Bastrop County.
Skip Connett’s boyhood was spent on a magnificent farm in Pennsylvania that got its start in the 1700s. In 2005, Connett left the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to return to his farming roots. It was not, as his friends and family believed, a mid-life crisis, but rather a lifelong dream to make a decent and honest living from the land. A food activist and mentor to young farmers, Connett has served on the board of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Organic Industry Advisory Committee. He has presented at numerous conferences and universities on farming and food issues.
Skip and Erin are co-creators of Green Gate Farms and New Farm Institute, the farm’s nonprofit educational initiative. Though Erin’s family has farmed and ranched in Texas for six generations, she is the first in her family to create an organic farm that combines food, education, community and fun. Erin is an agricultural activist who serves on Slow Food Austin’s Board of Directors, the Growers Alliance of Central Texas and the City of Austin’s Sustainable Food Policy Board. She is Executive Director of The New Farm Institute.
Ronda Rutledge, Executive Director, Sustainable Food Center
Ronda also serves on the Farmland Access and Preservation working group of the Austin/Travis County Food Policy Board and is Chair of One Voice Central Texas, advocating for policy changes that help support hunger relief and sustainable agriculture. She also serves on the Advisory Committee of Austin Community College’s agriculture program in Elgin as well as AISD’s School Health Advisory Council.
Ronda is an alumnus of LeaderSpring – a two-year Executive Director fellowship – as well as the Anderson Foundation Fellowship and Leadership Austin’s ESSENTIAL Class of 2014. Prior to joining SFC, Ronda served as Executive Director of the American Indian Child Resource Center in Oakland, CA. While there, she completed training from the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy Fundraising School. Previous experience includes a Rotary International Group Study Exchange to South Africa.
Ronda holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Over the course of her career, she has been a Licensed Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Clinical Director for a residential treatment facility. She currently serves as a volunteer on the Austin Powwow Committee of Great Promise for American Indians. She is married and has twin daughters – River and Raven – along with furry feline family members.
Robert Maggiani, NCAT (National Center for Appropriate Technology)
Robert Maggiani was an organic vegetable farmer in South Texas and Northern Mexico in the 1970’s and 1980’s and worked for the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) as a Chief of Marketing for 27 years. He was the first staff person at TDA to be assigned to the effort to start an organic certification program in 1987, and in 1989 Texas became only the second state in the country (after California) to have its own organic certification program. He is now a Sustainable Ag Specialist with NCAT and has co-authored several publications about organic farming in Texas. Robert is also a member of the TOFGA Board of Directors.
Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager, City of Austin
Edwin Marty is the City of Austin’s first Food Policy Manager. He has consulted on numerous urban farm projects around the country, helped establish the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, and co-authored a book about urban farming in America called Breaking Through Concrete, published by University of California Press.
Edwin is responsible for advancing initiatives that support the creation of a healthy and just local food system for Austin. In that capacity he:
- Bridges and connects City departmental programs, policies, and procedures that impact the local food system to create alignment and optimize outcomes.
- Engages with community members and organizations to inform neighborhood food system strategic planning and connect stakeholders with City resources.
- Serves as the City’s staff liaison – and food policy expert – to the Sustainable Food Policy Board.
- Works to raise awareness about food-related issues, motivate positive action to improve long-term health, and promote initiatives to strengthen community resilience.
Prior to joining the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, Edwin worked for Southern Living Magazine as a garden writer and was the founder and director of a non-profit called Jones Valley Teaching Farm located in in Birmingham, Alabama. He was also the Director of the non-profit urban farm in Montgomery called EAT South.
Edwin earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and completed an “Apprenticeship in Agroecology” from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He went on to work on sustainable farming projects around the world, including Mexico, Mongolia, Australia, and Chile.
Thank You to Our Sponsor
Thank You to Our Collaborators
Sponsor This Series
Our Open Gate series offers organizations, agencies and businesses a great opportunity to network with farmers, ranchers and consumers interested in sustainable agricultural ideas, products and services. We offer a variety of affordable Sponsorship Opportunities to connect you with our community. Please email Stephanie von Ancken at st[email protected] for more information.