The Campti Field of Dreams will host “Back to Your Roots: A Sustainable Agriculture Masters Series” March 7-9 at Reese Hall on the Louisiana Tech University campus and other locations in the Ruston area.

This three-day conference has much to offer those in all phases and interests of gardening and sustainable farming. The theme of “Food Leading Change” covers topics ranging from edible landscaping, beekeeping and pasture management, to season extension using high tunnels and other appropriate technology. Online registration is open and space is limited. To register, visit www.camptifieldofdreams.org.

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A pre-conference North Louisiana Farm Tour features a diverse group of farming operations. Sagdrina Jalal, Executive Director at the Georgia Farmers Market Association, will provide the keynote address at the welcome reception on Thursday evening. Friday evening, there will be a Farm-to-Table dinner at Ruston Farmers Market designed and prepared by Chef Tootie Morrison of Shreveport, Louisiana. The keynote to follow will be Tracey Weaver, founder and executive director of urban university.

The 2019 Masters Series will cover topics ranging from companion planting to market analysis, designing a grazing plan and lean market gardening. It features:

  • Steve Gabriel, an ecologist, forest farmer and educator living in the Finger Lakes Region of New York
  • Darby Simpson, a full-time farmer in broilers, turkeys hogs and beef
  • Ben Hartman, owner/operator of Clay Bottom Farm in Goshen, Indiana, where he makes a living growing and selling specialty crops on less than one acre
  • Lisa Mason Ziegler, a cut-flower farmer, author and speaker on organic cut-flower gardening.

Dr. Paul Jackson, Associate Professor of Plant Science at Louisiana Tech University; Dr. Laura Sims, Assistant Professor of Forest Health at Louisiana Tech University; Marc Pastorek, horticulturist; Michael Book, owner/operator of Michael’s Mayhaw’s; and Grant Estrade, farmer/owner, Local Cooling Farm, will teach other featured sessions.

Panels on buyers and sellers perspectives, the advantages of a statewide farmers market association, season extension using high tunnels, applications of drone technology and more will make this a diverse gathering of technical experts, practitioners and current and future farmers.