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Forest

2024 Forest Farming Conference
Gather to Grow: A Conference to Honor the Past
and Shape the Future of Forest Farming
March 22 - 24th, 2024

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Conference update - September 2023:
Registration is now open for the March 2024 ABFFC Gather To Grow Conference in Roanoke VA, USA! 
Sponsorships and exhibitor packages available, see below!

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Conference Summary

2024 Gather to Grow Conference Summary

Who: Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition 

What: 2024 Gather to Grow: A Conference to Honor the Past and Shape the Future of Forest Farming

Where: Hotel Roanoke, Roanoke, VA, USA

When: March 22-24, 2024

The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition's (ABFFC) Gather to Grow multi day Forest Farming conference will be held in Roanoke, Virginia from March 22-24, 2024 and feature learning, networking, and strategic planning programs that will shape the future of forest farming of woodland crops such as botanicals, mushrooms, and decorative products in Appalachia and beyond.

 

Keynote speakers, working group meetings and panels, field tours, expo, exhibitors, breakout presentations, flash talks, a youth program, poster presenters, great food, socials, and a classic hotel in Appalachia are included. Reasonable prices and access by trains, planes, and automobiles make for a highly accessible event. 

FRIDAY: Forest Farming Field Extravaganza

Field tours, demonstrations, storytelling, discussions, as well as music, food, mural paintings, and more will take place on Friday March 22, 2024 to kick off the Gather to Grow Forest Farming Conference weekend! Field tours will be led by experts in areas such as woodland botanical farming, tree tapping, mushroom cultivation, product handling and preparation, and sustainable forest management for forest farming. Attendees will also view cooking and medicine cabinet demonstrations, hear storytellers and have conversations with the caretakers of traditional knowledge.

The pre conference Forest Farming Field Extravaganza is an optional add on to the weekend conference registration and will take place at Virginia Tech’s 377-acre Catawba Sustainability Center, nestled in Virginia’s beautiful Catawba Valley. Lunch and music are provided with your Friday Forest Farming Field Extravaganza registration. Transportation from the Hotel Roanoke will be provided free of charge, and ample parking is available on site at the Catawba Sustainability Center. $40 per person. Attendance is capped at 80 participants.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: Conference Program

Keynotes, including Dr. Jeanine Davis of North Carolina State University, will share the theme of “Our Roots, our Shoots, and our Growth” to the 2024 Gather to Grow Forest Farming Conference audience! We look forward to welcoming speakers and visionaries from diverse regions and backgrounds of the forest farming tapestry including Dr. John Munsell, VA Tech, Erica Marks of the Yew Mountain Center, Eric Burkhart of Penn State, and Robin Suggs of Appalachian Sustainable Development. In addition to thematic presentations, the Forest Farming Expo, and local entertainment, there will be networking and strategic planning sessions that will shape the future of forest farming. 

SATURDAY: Youth Program

An amazing youth program is taking form for the Gather to Grow Conference at the Hotel Roanoke on Saturday March 23, 2024! The target youth age is 8 - 14 years old and the program is limited to 20 participants. Regular Youth Registration includes this program as well as meals and all other conference events Sat and Sun. Parents/Guardians will Sign youth in and out for meals and other conference activities (no youth supervision will be provided outside of the Saturday Youth Program).

 

A Call for Submissions for both Thematic Topic Sessions and a special conference track for Forest Farmer Share Stories are forthcoming. 

Registration and Options

Registration and Accomodation are purchased separately. By clicking the registration button below you will be redirected to the Virginia Tech QuickPay system. Once there, you will be required to request a code that will be sent to your email. Once you receive the code in your email (be sure to check spam if a code does not arrive in your main inbox), enter it in the Virginia Tech QuickPay system and you will be able to proceed to registration options and payment. When registering, please use the appropriate drop down menu to designate if you plan to attend the Friday evening reception to help conference organizers determine a head count.

More information below in Registration Options and FAQs.

*Please note that your reduced registration discount will be applied upon hotel check in.

For lodging, use Hotel Roanoke’s accommodation button below to make your reservation at the Gather to Grow group hotel rate*. 

Registration Options

 

Friday Forest Farming Field Extravaganza March 22, 2024

Optional Pre-Conference add-on field day at the Virginia Tech (VT) Catawba Sustainability Center (transportation available from Hotel Roanoke).

$40* - VT Catawba Sustainability Center Tour

           *add on to Registration or May be purchased separately

 

Saturday and Sunday Conference at the Hotel Roanoke March 23 - 24, 2024

Includes all meals, sessions, keynotes, and entertainment Friday evening through Sunday morning. Please designate on the registration link if you plan to attend the Friday evening reception so we know how much food to prepare! 

 

$160 - Early Bird Adult Registration - Through January 15, 2024 (Fri Reception, Sat and Sun)

$210 - Regular Adult Registration (Fri Reception, Sat and Sun) 

$135 - Regular Student Registration (Fri Reception, Sat and Sun)

$110 - Regular Youth Registration (Fri Reception, Sat and Sun, Includes Saturday Youth Program)

 

Saturday Youth Program at the Hotel Roanoke March 23, 2024

An amazing youth program is taking form for the Gather to Grow Conference at the Hotel Roanoke on Saturday March 23, 2024! The target youth age is 8 - 14 years old and the program is limited to 20 participants. Regular Youth Registration includes this program as well as meals and all other conference events Sat and Sun. Parents/Guardians will Sign youth in and out for meals and other conference activities (no youth supervision will be provided outside of the Saturday Youth Program).

Registration Options
Sponsors/Exhibitors

Sponsorship and Exhibitors

Sponsorship

Sponsorship of the Gather to Grow Forest Farming Conference directly supports the conference and its goal to grow productive and vibrant forest farming communities in Appalachia and beyond. All sponsors will be recognized and benefit from digital and in-person opportunities to connect with attendees and the larger stakeholder community. 

Please see our sponsorship information below and be in touch today to choose specific areas of sponsorship for your organization or business at the conference! 

Exhibitors

The Hotel Roanoke ballroom will showcase exhibitor booths highlighted Saturday March 23, 2024 at the Gather to Grow conference. Booth spaces are 6 foot long x 30 inches undraped rectangular tables (provided by Hotel Roanoke) and available for set up Friday evening, and should be taken down following Saturday evening events. Limited to 30 exhibitors, fees are $200 per table, and are included in Sponsorship packages at the IV. Slippery Elm ($2,500) and higher levels. Sales are permitted on site at the Forest Farming Expo at the Hotel Roanoke.

Register for your exhibitor space using the button below.

For conference questions and inquiries, contact Margaret Bloomquist.

Location and Accommodation

The Forest Farming Field Extravaganza will be held on Friday March 22, 2024 at Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center. The main conference events will begin with a Friday evening reception and continue Saturday and Sunday March 23-24, 2024 at the Hotel Roanoke

 

Please note that Registration and Accomodation are purchased separately. A block of hotel rooms at the Hotel Roanoke are available to conference registrants at a discounted rate. Other hotel, motel, short-term rental, and camping accommodations are available local to the Hotel Roanoke and surrounding areas. 

 

For lodging reservations, follow the accommodation link below to be connected to the Hotel Roanoke reservation page for the Gather to Grow group hotel rate*. 

*Please note that your reduced room rate will be $122, the reservation discount will be applied upon hotel check in when payment is rendered. 

Conference Location
Conference Travel

Travel

Reasonable prices and access by trains, planes, and automobiles make for a highly accessible event!

 

The Forest Farming Field Extravaganza will be held on Friday March 22, 2024 at the Catawba Sustainability CenterThe main conference events will begin with the Friday evening reception at the Hotel Roanoke and continue through Sunday March 24, 2024 at 12:00pm. For more information please visit Hotel Roanoke’s Directions and Parking Information.

 

Driving Directions to Catawba Sustainability Center

Catawba Creek Rd, Catawba, VA 24175

From Interstate 81, take Exit 141 north toward Catawba. At the first stoplight turn right onto Route 311. Proceed over the mountain for 6.7 miles. Turn right onto Catawba Valley Road. The Catawba Sustainability Center is on the right.

 

Driving Directions to Hotel Roanoke

110 Shenandoah Ave NE, Roanoke, VA 24016

 

From North or South: I-81 Exit 143 (I-581 South) to Exit 5. Cross Wells Avenue and continue to the main entrance of the hotel.

FROM 220N (MARTINSVILLE): 220N becomes I-581N. Take exit 4E (Orange Avenue). Take first right at traffic light onto Williamson Road. After the third traffic light, turn right on Shenandoah Avenue. Take the first right to main entrance of the hotel.

From 460W (LYNCHBURG): 460 becomes Orange Avenue. Turn left at the traffic light at Williamson Road and Orange Avenue. After the third traffic light, turn right on Shenandoah Avenue. Take the first right to main entrance of the hotel.

Conference Media

Conference Media

2024 Forest Farming Conference: Gather to Grow Printable PDF Flier

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Conference FAQs
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