My 2010 Small Farms Conference Experience
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By Jessica Padron of The Urban Farmer, Pompano Beach

My name is Jessica Padron, and I have a small urban farm in Pompano Beach, Florida. I started this farm in 2010 because I wanted to know where my baby daughter's food came from. As a new farmer, I had so much to learn. In summer of 2010, the Glades to Coast chapter of Slow Food USA gave me a scholarship to attend the Small Farms Conference, and this was a great chance to get my feet wet. As a new farmer, this meant so much to me.

The conference introduced me to the farming community that I had no idea existed in Florida.

All of the sudden I found myself in awe of the farmers who I gathered with and got to meet. The conference also gave me the opportunity to hear about many different educational topics in farming. I was able to attend different seminars about new farming concepts and techniques, policy and regulations, and other concepts I was either very interested in or otherwise formerly unaware of.

The variety of seminars and topics was overwhelming. I found myself trying to attend as many different seminars that I could, absorbing every ounce. The Small Farms Conference was a great experience for me, a great start for my new found life, and it was a priviledge for me to attend. It gave me some knowledge and confidence to move forwward in a field I knew nothing about prior to 2010. I learned so much at the conference, and I learned that there was still much to learn.

With almost a year having past, it seems amazing all the knowledge I have gathered in such little time. I owe this to the small farmers whom I have met along the way. It is the small farmers who have embraced me and taught me so much of what seems to be generational wisdom. As the new year has arrived, I look forward to this year's Small Farm Conference. I am proud to attend because it honors the small farmer who truly is the core to every community. Again, I am thankful to the Glades to Coast chapter for offering me the opportunity to attend such a meaningful conference last year.