Soil & Nutrition Conference

Soil & Nutrition Conference
December 4-6, 2016
Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, MA

Registration through Kripalu Center
(online registration available in August)

Cost for the two-day workshop:
$225 (plus accomodations)
$200 for BFA members
Not yet a member?  Learn more

Nature as Solution
Cultivating synergy to put
nutrition & flavor back on the table

The 6th Annual Soil & Nutrition Conference explores how the intersection of farm and human ecosystems holds the key to environmental sustainability, quality food and overall well-being.

Bringing together the collective knowledge of the food movement from the perspectives of successful farmers, cutting-edge researchers, enlightening health practitioners, and pioneers of food quality, this conference is a nexus of information and networking for all interested in delving deeper into the connections and importance of soil and nutrition.

Integrating these diverse viewpoints, this year’s program engages growers and gardeners with principles, practices and innovations for ecologically and financially sound farming, and presents the health-conscious consumer and medical professional valuable skills to effectively advocate and select for quality in their local region and food supply.

Conference Topics

  • Successful applications of biological (ecological) management, from garden to wholesale scale
  • Improving public health through agriculture, education and local capacity building
  • Effectively using nutrition to mitigate disease across the landscape
  • Regenerating ecological systems to provide environmental stability and weather climate change
  • Flavor as a focal point in the food quality conversation
  • Implementation and development of techniques for grower success including seed establishment, emergence and in season monitoring solutions
  • Growing and marketing your farm business with an eye to quality
  • Improving human health through conscientious food production and cultivation of soil health

Conference Speakers

The BFA is proud to announce that grass-farmer, author and lecturer Joel Salatin will be the keynote speaker at its 6th Annual Conference. His family's Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is a multi-generational, pasture-based and "beyond organic" enterprise. At Polyface, Salatin follows the guiding principles of transparency, grass-based agriculture, individuality, valuing community, following nature's template, and embracing earthworms. Featured in Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma," Salatin is widely-known throughout the alternative and sustainable farming world for promoting ecologically friendly and economically viable farming strategies and methods. He is the author of numerous works, including: "Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War stories from the local food front", "Folks, This Ain't Normal: A farmer’s advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world", and "The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer". Not to be missed!

With over 30 additional speakers currently scheduled to present at this year's conference, all widely considered experts in their respective fields, choosing between which sessions to attend will be a wonderful problem to have! Speaker details coming soon.

Conference Format

Distinctively themed, each of eight sessions will offer a combination of practical presentations and lectures given by different speakers expert in their field. Scheduled across the beautiful Kripalu venue, participants are encouraged to attend presentations of their interest within and across sessions.

Sessions: Day 1

Principles and Practices, Biological Farming and the Thriving Farm Ecosystem, Part I
Applicable to large and small growers alike, a practicum on the principles of biological management will be given by expert growers. Strategies that are scale independent will be reviewed, with considerations given to soil quality, product quality, cost benefits and market creation.

The Seed as Foundation, from the Inside Out
A spectacular and delicious harvest starts with the seed. Simplifying the many considerations for optimal emergence, establishment and harvest, this session includes presentations and how-to workshops from the perspective of the seed’s needs.

Food Flavor as a Nexus for Food Quality Improvement
Of the many reasons to pick your favorite food, one keeps you coming back for more... flavor. How flavor is associated with other desirable characteristics including nutritional composition, visual appear and yield is just beginning to be understood. In this session, learn about how growers, consumers and chefs value flavor, and how practitioners are working to maximize these qualities.

Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, Healthy You
Food as medicine is experiencing a revival. How do you select foods to improve your health and why? In this session, learn how taking charge of your personal health involves a community approach, from consuming a diversity of foods, knowing your food source, and working with your ecosystem.

Sessions: Day 2

Principles and Practices, Biological Farming and the Thriving Farm Ecosystem, Part II
Applicable to large and small growers alike, a practicum on the principles of biological management will be given by expert growers. Strategies that are scale independent will be reviewed, with considerations given to soil quality, product quality, cost benefits and market creation.

Monitoring Ecosystem Health for Food Quality, from Observation to Measurement
Soil and food quality are intuitively known to be important to growers and consumers alike, but until recently, rapid, comprehensive and user friendly assessments have not been possible. This session reviews technological advancements on how to understand human and soil ecosystem health through measurement.

Sound Body, Sound Mind: Perspectives of Food Production and Diet through Mindful Living
Synergy across ecosystems, and within individuals, occurs with the realization that all actions have reactions. Mindfulness of this community structure can positively affect health, productivity and growth. In this session, presentations focus on how we can be more effective in shaping our ecosystems and communities.

Innovative Approaches to Soil Quality Improvement
Farming sustainably requires innovation... from the simple to the complex. In this session, practical strategies on how to improve soil quality and related ecosystems will be reviewed. An understanding of the implications that these practices can have on the environment at large will also be presented.

Conference Details


Registration: $225 for general admission; $200 for BFA members.
Want to double-check your membership status?


Registration for the Soil & Nutrition Conference will be available through Kripalu Center in August. Check back soon for details!

Lodging and Food

Kripalu Center is a beautiful retreat center in the Berkshire Mountains of southwestern Massachusetts. All meals and accommodations are offered by Kripalu. Daily rates, including 3 meals, range from $89 for dormitory-style lodging to $250 for lake-view rooms with private bathrooms. Your accommodations include access to Kripalu’s health and wellness facilities and on-site yoga classes! Kripalu housing includes meals beginning at lunch on the day of your arrival through dinner on the day of your departure. Kripalu will feature high quality, locally sourced ingredients with our special conference menu!