On August 4th and 5th, the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association(SAEA) held its annual conference at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. SAEA is a volunteer driven organization that champions innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture through the development, application, and research of teaching and learning practices.
Although most participants were from the area and neighboring states, there were participants from around the country. The University of Illinois was represented by. Jenny Wells, NRES graduate student, Zack Grant of the U of I Sustainable Farm, and two interns carpooled to Lexington to take part in the conference. According to Jenny, “the conference focused primarily on how sustainable agriculture could move into the future without losing sight of the past. The initial sessions were presenters with ideas about how to train sustainable farmers, train those who would train the next generation of sustainable farmers, and how to reach the public with the message of sustainability. Breakout sessions were mixed with lectures, giving participants ample time to discuss ideas and learn from other SAEA members, even those who did not present. At the end of the first day, members were taken on one of four field trips to areas around Lexington that had elements of the SAEA’s goals.”
Jenny enjoyed the ‘ traditions and transitions field trip’ which showcased deep Kentucky traditions at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, and the transitional elements of Elmwood Stock Farm, an organic farm in Kentucky that is utilizing crop diversity and rotation to help reduce inputs and weed control measures.
Jenny felt that “Overall, this conference was an incredible experience; from the local, organic foods to the wide range of viewpoints and ideas expressed, there were new and interesting experiences around every corner.”
To get involved or learn more about the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association go to http://www.sustainableaged.org/