TOPEKA — Registration for the Kansas Rural Center’s Annual Farm and Food Conference is now open. The conference is Nov. 17 and 18 in Manhattan, Kansas, at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel and promises to have something for a broad spectrum of attendees—from conventional and organic farmers, to beginning and established farmers, conservationists and environmentalists, and local food advocates and community leaders.

This year’s theme, “Driving the Change that Matters: Practical and Political Solutions to our Farm and Food Future” will highlight how biological, human and economic diversity builds resilience, and how we can increase diversity on our farms, in our communities, and in our part of the world.

Keynote presenters on day one of the two-day conference include Denise O'Brien, Women Food and Agriculture Network founder and longtime Iowa farmer, and Pastor Adrion Roberson, faculty at the Kansas Leadership Center and pastor of DESTINY! Bible Fellowship Community Church in Kansas City. O’Brien will speak from her experience as a long-time social activist and will talk about the importance of grassroots engagement. Pastor Roberson will lead discussion on having crucial communications about vision and values in our communities.

Day two will feature Ferd Hoefner, Senior Strategic Advisor for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, who will address the past, present, and future for sustainable regenerative agriculture. An afternoon panel on diversity will explore how just as we’ve learned that multi-species diversity benefits ecological health, we now need to understand the benefits of multi-cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity in our communities, state, and country.

Each day will also include 12 to 15 breakout sessions featuring presentations and panel discussions on how we transform our farms and our food system to better meet future environmental, economic and social challenges. Sessions will also include practical production and marketing information, conservation practices and management, farmer presentations on SARE demonstration projects, the 2018 farm bill, and informative sessions on state policy, community organizing efforts in Kansas, and more. A more detailed agenda will be published soon on KRC’s website.

Cost to attend the conference is $70 per day or $135 for both days. This includes access to all presenters, lunch and snacks both days, and a Friday evening social hour. Both days will include a lunch from locally-sourced ingredients and will offer conference attendees time for networking and visiting exhibitor booths in order to connect with and learn more about the great people and exciting things happening in farming, food production, and the environment, in Kansas and beyond.

Register online at www.kansasruralcenter.org. A limited number of scholarships are available to students and beginning farmers. Call 866-579-5469 extension 701 or email info@kansasruralcenter.org to learn how to apply.