S.D. Local Foods Conference to feature winter greenhouses

Carol Ford, a Minnesota vegetable producer specializing in Deep Winter Greenhouse (DWG) production, will provide the keynote speech on Sat., Nov. 2 at the South Dakota Local Foods Conference (SDLFC) at the RedRossa Italian Grille conference area in Pierre, SD.

I produce fresh vegetables in winter thanks to my very efficient and effective deep winter greenhouse. The structure’s passive solar design keeps the temps in the greenhouse all winter long conducive to cool weather crops, mostly leafy greens, which are a highly prized local food in Minnesota’s coldest months,” said Ford.

Ford and her late husband, Chuck Waibel, decided they wanted to grow fresh produce in winter with as little fossil fuel as possible. Waibel created a feasible design while Ford researched the production details. They became overwhelmed by the number of inquiries on their passive solar greenhouse and published the manual ‘Northland Winter Greenhouse.’ Ford is also an educator with the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships of Minnesota Extension.

Ford’s keynote ‘Building Resilient Rural Communities in Northern Climates’ will include big ideas about the concept of resilient rural communities.  She will integrate discussion on how DWG production can provide options for young people interested in farming, a method of farming on less land, a welcome income stream in the off-season, a source of fresh foods in food deserts, and a way to circulate dollars locally, bolstering the local economy.

Ford will also provide a breakout session on DWG production. She will give an overview on the design of the structure, discuss how it works, share production methods of crops, and highlight marketing opportunities. 

“Every year in Minnesota we see more DWGs being built and not all for the same purpose. I want to ignite the imaginations of any farmers who want to know more about this kind of food farming, that provides a welcomed income stream in the ‘off season’ with minimal effort,” said Ford.

Growers, processors, chefs and consumers passionate about local foods are invited to register for the 2019 SDLFC scheduled for Nov. 1-2. This regional event will provide networking opportunities, speaker panels, vendor booths, meals using local foods, and educational sessions on tools for success, production, and collaborative ideas.

Register here by 5 p.m. CT Oct. 21. The full 2-day registration is $150/person (includes the Friday evening Chef Experience). A single 1-day registration is $80/person (does not include Chef Experience). Check the website to learn more about student rates and travel scholarships for professionals working in local tribal food systems. After Oct. 21 registration cannot be guaranteed and will include an additional $25 fee if space is available.


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