Free Conference Sessions

The sessions below are free and open to anyone – even if you’re not registered for the conference!

If you are registered for the conference: the links will be available on the conference site and the app.

If you are not registered for the conference: register for each session you’d like to attend below.


NOFA-NY Winter Conference Sessions

Regional Discussion Groups (Seven Sessions)
Sunday, January 17 – Saturday, January 23
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

NOFA-NY will host these discussion groups each night to encourage community building and facilitate conversation on topics most important to your region. Learn about initiatives in your area, talk about challenges and opportunities for organic production, marketing, advocacy, and outreach. This moment is designed to help everyone gain a better understanding of the needs in each community, network, and share your stories.

Western Region Discussion Group: 
Sunday, January 17 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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Finger Lakes Region Discussion Group
Monday, January 18 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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Central Region Discussion Group
Tuesday, January 19 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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North Country Region Discussion Group
Wednesday, January 20 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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Capital Region Discussion Group: 
Thursday, January 21 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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Catskills / Hudson Valley Region Discussion Group: 
Friday, January 22 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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New York City / Long Island Region Discussion Group: 
Saturday, January 23 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

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Northeast Organic Seed Conference Sessions

Northeast Seed Savers’ Evening Meet Up
Sunday, January 17
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

Please join those with Seed Saving passion for a virtual Evening Meet Up. Introduce yourself and meet like minds from across the Northeast. Learn who is facing & celebrating the same challenges, and let sharing deepen our seed work community.

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Northeast Seed Growers’ Evening Meet Up: Meeting Each Other and Our Regional Needs, with a focus on Mentorship / Internship Collaborations 
Monday, January 18
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

Moderators: Heron Breen, Laurie McKenzie, Matthew Goldfarb, and Cathleen McCluskey
Join us to enjoy and strengthen seed grower community in our region. Whether you are already an experienced seed grower, or someone who wants to learn about seed production from and with existing growers, we know active community insures against the loss of hard won seed knowledge. We’ll talk about our successes and assess our needs as Seed Growers in the Northeast, conduct a mapping exercise to discover what and where we farm, and hear firsthand about the value of seed internship collaborations from seed grower mentors and mentees who are working together now.

We’ll be joined by Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) who has been building a nation-wide organic seed internship program by matching prospective mentors and mentees via an online tool. This new program offers support in the forms of guidance for farmers, periodic check-ins throughout the season, and options for online seed education courses for mentees to compliment their on-farm learning.

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Womxn in Regional Seed, Plant & Farm Work Morning Meet-up
Thursday, January 21
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST

Moderators: Petra Page-Mann and Sefra Alexandra
Calling all womxn+! All womxn & non-binary folx who love seed, who love food, who dare to believe different systems and a new world is possible: Let us gather together to celebrate, support and vision our steps forward, together.

In this session, we are all teachers and we are all students. Can we dehybridize patriarchy? We will laugh & we may cry! With abundant personal & collective reflection, we’ll explore how we got here and arrive where we are, naming what we can as we lean into frameworks of restorative justice, committing ourselves to courage and community wider than what we’ve been taught to believe possible.

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LGBTQ Roundtable
Friday, January 22
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EST

Moderators: Jamie Levato, SonyaJoy Key, and Maggie Cheney
Circle for LGBTQ farmers and farm educators to take pride in our resilience, discuss challenges faced and creative solutions developed in the field and community, network, and share resources.

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Indigenous Evening Seed Meet Up
Saturday, January 23
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EST

Moderator: Elizabeth Hoover
This session is geared towards Native American/Indigenous seed savers and growers, to come together to discuss their experiences this past year in providing seed to the community; community efforts to find out what seeds are currently being grown and which seeds need to be brought home from other institutions and seed banks; and efforts to increase the number of people growing native/heirloom seeds. This session will give you an opportunity to link up with other Native gardeners and farmers in the Northeast to help build a network here. Non-Native ally farmers interested in working with Native communities are encouraged to attend the Indigenous Seed Stories sessions on Saturday morning and afternoon, and attend with the intention to learn more about working collaboratively.

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Post-Conference Northeast Organic Seed Conference Sessions:

Needs Assessment Day
Sunday, January 24

Moderators: Jacqueline Pilati and Hannah Traggis
We hope you will join us in this community needs assessment, a day dedicated to the seed community where we will discuss potential strengths and barriers to a resilient Northeast organic seed system and identify critical aspects of work that needs to be undertaken. The day’s sessions are meant to facilitate dialogue and reflection to inform strategy-building through activities and prompts. The purpose of this work is to assist the Northeast seed community in building a resilient regional seed system that is reflective of the values, goals, and visions of the diverse stakeholders involved in organic seed in the Northeast. 

Sponsored by the University of Vermont through support from the USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative [grant no 2020-51300-32195].

Needs Assessment Day, Session 1: Reflections of the Northeast Organic Seed System
Sunday, January 24
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM EST

This first session will set the foundations for the entire needs assessment day. We will begin by reviewing common themes that were expressed in workshops throughout the week and by reflecting on individual and group experiences in the conference and the Northeast organic seed system overall (please note that focus will not exclusively be on the conference, so if you were unable to attend, this session will still be relevant). Focusing on power dynamics, this session is designed to be an entry point for understanding how people navigate the seed system and the ways in which power (or lack thereof) creates unique perspectives and circumstances. Through both individual and group exercises, participants will be asked to consider the ways in which their experiences may be different from others’. Additionally, participants will be encouraged to contemplate how well the sector of the seed system in which they are most involved (plant breeding, seed production, home-based seed work, community-based seed work, and seed companies) is adequately representative of, and responsive to, diverse voices and perspectives.

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Needs Assessment Day, Session 2: Taking Stock of the Northeast Organic Seed System
Sunday, January 24
2:00 PM to 3:30 PM EST

The second session will aim to assess current opportunities and challenges to strengthening the Northeast organic seed system. Keeping the morning session in mind, this session asks participants to think about the broad strengths/assets and weaknesses/vulnerabilities that exist within their specific line (plant breeding, seed production, home-based seed work, community-based seed work, and seed companies) of seed work as well as the NE organic seed system more generally. For example, how can the NE organic seed system enhance its resilience? What forms of education, training, networks, and mentorship need support? What strengths can be leveraged to create meaningful and positive change? This is a moment to think collaboratively with other members involved in similar forms of seed work about the causes of these strengths and weaknesses, how and why they persist, and what may catalyze or threaten progress. Cross-pollination between sectors will also be encouraged in a large group discussion that will help identify strengths and weaknesses shared across the NE organic seed system to encourage greater collaboration.

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Needs Assessment Day, Session 3: Brainstorming for the Future
Sunday, January 24
4:00 PM to 5:30 PM EST

The final session offers an opportunity for participants to brainstorm possible actions (short, medium, and long-term) that can help address challenges and vulnerabilities facing the NE organic seed system by drawing on the strengths identified in the previous session. This session is devoted to building strategies for problem-solving with people who share similar interests within the seed system as well as envisioning what a healthy and supportive seed community looks like and what needs to be done to see those visions fulfilled. Rather than aiming to develop concrete resolutions within the short time span of the session, the goal of this discussion is to exchange ideas and build connections that can be drawn upon to conceptualize next steps for the organic seed community and the various sectors that constitute it.

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