After a six-year hiatus, Winter Fishtrap is returning later this month under the theme “The New Agrarians.”
Three days of activities are planned around topics related to new farmers, the issues they face and ways their efforts can be facilitated, according to Mike Midlo, Fishtrap Progra.m. Manager.
“The average age of the American farmer is getting close to retirement age, so what is the future of agriculture?” Midlo said. “That’s what we hope to explore.”
Friday night’s opening session features a screening of the documentary, “How We Grow,” introduced by filmmaker Haley Thompson, a recent transplant to Wallowa County.
The piece tells the story of an emerging young farmers community in her native Roaring Fork Valley in western Colorado, home to the Aspen Ski Resort. Land access, income inequality and a short growing season are challenges facing ambitious young farmers who work to discover ways to get healthy, sustainably produced, locally grown, nutrient dense food onto the tables of everyone in the community.
“Most of them want to work the land and feed community, create community, as well as create jobs,” Thompson said.
Shortly after Winter Fishtrap, the documentary will be featured at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival in Golden, Colo.
Thompson said a common response to the presentation is that people “can’t wait to get out and start gardening.”
Kate Greenberg, Western Program Director for National Young Farmer’s Coalition, will conclude the evening with an opening address. She is also chair of the board for the Quivira Coalition, which “builds soil, biodiversity, and resilience on western working landscapes,” according to its website.
After a full day of workshops and discussions Saturday, a gala dinner sourced locally will be offered, a fundraiser for Fishtrap.
Mellie Pullman, president of the Fishtrap Board, along with Lynne Curry and newcomer Paula Austin, are planning the feast, which will feature beef from Carman Ranch, which will be served on a bed of caramelized cabbage, shallots and onions, and a smorgasbord of vegetables and side dishes.
“It will be a multi course family-style meal,” Pullman said. “We even have Eagle Cap Cambucha, products from Sei Mee tea and beer donated by Terminal Gravity.”
Barley has been donated by the owner of Gold Rush Malt in Baker. Onions are coming from Rusty Hogg. Janie Tippett is donating root veggies.
Two kitchen –– one at The Place in Joseph and one at Backyard Garden Catering –– will be used to prepare the food. Music by Darrell Brann and a silent auction are also planned. Serving is at 5:30 p.m. at Hurricane Creek Grange Hall. Tickets are $45 per person or $35 for Winter Fishtrap participants.
An array of appetizers will also be served Friday and Saturday.
Winter Fishtrap wraps Sunday morning with a session, “Tools for Engagement: How Do We Give New Agrarians a National Voice?”
Other featured speakers include Al Josephy, a professor at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and son of Alvin Joseph Jr., for whom Josephy Center is named. The center will host the event. Nellie McAdams, who coordinates the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program, will also be on hand.
Tickets may be purchased a la carte. Registration for the entire weekend –– excluding Saturday night’s dinner –– is $145.
“However, Wallowa County residents can get in for $100,” Midlo said. “We really want them to take advantage of this program..”
Students (under 21) also receive a discount. Registration and details are available at fishtrap.org.
Josephy Center for Arts and Culture
6 p.m.– Social Mixer with Music
7 p.m. – Welcome: Shannon McNerney, Fishtrap Executive Director
7:15 p.m. – Screening: “How We Grow” documentary introduced by filmmaker Haley Thompson
7:45 p.m.– Opening Address: Kate Greenberg, Western Program Director, National Young Farmer’s Coalition
8:30a.m. – Panel Discussion: Top Challenges for New Farmers with Moderator: Nellie McAdams, Farm Preservation Program. Director, Rogue Farm Corps
10:30 a.m. – Breakout Session Conversations
• The New Role of Women in Agriculture with Kristy Athens, author of “Get Your Pitchfork On”
• The Culture of Agriculture: Making Generational Connections with Kate Greenberg
11:30 – Lunch at local restaurants
1 p.m.– Panel Discussion: How to Keep Working Lands, Working Lands with Kate Greenberg
3 p.m.– Breakout Sessions
• Land Trusts with Kathleen Ackley, Executive Director, of Wallowa Land Trust and Al Josephy, faculty member at The Evergreen State College
• Operating Plans for New and Retiring Farmers with Nellie McAdams
• Collective Marketing with Sara Miller, Development Specialist at NEOEDD
6 p.m. – Winter Fishtrap Dinner at Hurricane Creek Grange Hall
9 a.m. – Breakfast
10 a.m. – Panel: Tools for Engagement: How Do We Give New Agrarians a National Voice? with moderator Al Josephy
11:30 a.m. – Closing comments and farewell