TOPEKA – Registration is open for the Kansas Rural Center’s 2015 Farm and Food Conference, “Roots, Shoot and Boots: Healthy Farms and Healthy People from the Ground Up,” to be held Nov. 13 - 14 at the Four Points by Sheraton, in Manhattan. The two-day conference promises to appeal to a broad spectrum of attendees - from beginning and established farmers, to local food advocates, to wildlife enthusiasts and community leaders.

The entire first day will be a Soil Health Forum focusing on the nexus between cover crops, no-till and organic systems. Featured speakers include: Jeff Moyer, Interim Director of the Rodale Institute, and well-known authority in organic agriculture; and Klaas Martens, who farms 1,400 acres of certified organic crops and operates Lakeview Organic Grain, a certified organic feed and seed business. Martens is well-known and respected in organic circles for his broad knowledge of cover crops, crop rotations and heirloom grains. Bianca Moebius-Clune, USDA NRCS Soil Health Division Director, will discuss NRCS soil health efforts, programs and practices connected to cover crops and no-till and applicable to all farms.

The Soil Health Forum will also include a roundtable of cover crop, no-till and organic farmers to discuss real world experiences and challenges, and identify issues they have in common in building soil health on their farms.

The second day of the conference will feature keynote speaker David Hunt, a nationally recognized teacher and leader in organizing for social change. In his keynote presentation, “The Role and Power of Strategic Organizing to Bring About Social Change Locally and Statewide,” Hunt will set a tone of action for strategizing and community building for a day packed with diverse sessions and speakers.

Breakout sessions will focus on local food systems, community food solutions and economic opportunities, farm transitions and beginning farmer opportunities, farm practices and marketing strategies for diversification, conservation, the value of forestry in Kansas, and food and environmental policy and organizing for social change.

Each day will feature a locally-sourced lunch 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.

The annual conference would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors. Sponsorship allows KRC to produce a top quality conference complete with renowned speakers, diverse workshops, exhibits, locally-sourced food and other opportunities that create a positive, meaningful experience for conference participants. Several different levels and benefits of sponsorship are available. To register as a conference sponsor, visit www.kansasruralcenter.org/conference-2015, or contact Natalie Fullerton at nfullerton@kansasruralcenter.org or (866) 579-5469.

For general questions about the conference, contact Natalie Fullerton or Mary Fund at 866-579-5469. Visit http://kansasruralcenter.org/conference-2015/ to register to attend or sponsor the conference.