8.20.2013

Small Farms Conference and Bee College


August was a really busy FUN and EDUCATIONAL month. August 2, I went to the Small Farms Conference up in Kissimmee. Came home for a bit and then left August 16 for the S. Florida Bee College in Ft. Lauderdale.

Both of them were great for different reasons.


The Florida Small Farms Conference was all about networking, meeting face to face--people I've known online for a decade. It was high time I just went to this conference. Although not much specific to dairy goats, or dairying, it was truly worth going to a few classes. Lots of marketing your business classes. "Are you working ON or IN your business" stood out for me. This thought has resonated and something I think about daily right now. 

The vendor booths are well worth the drive up- to meet the leaders and movers of our state with regard to what is out there for the small farm. Of course, I hung out with Pete Kennedy at Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund booth - I'm like his person groupie! And spoke to many groups about Animal Welfare Approved, Florida Food Policy Council with Ken Koleos, bought a few books. And overall just really enjoyed the experience. 

The food too was well worth the trip. Trish Strawn really kicked it up a notch by making sure alot of the food was sourced locally.  Lastly, if you decide to ever go, do the Friday all day tours.  One of the best ways to get ideas for your farm. I didn't go. I've been to so many farms over the years I'm set with my setup. But well worth it when you are just starting out. 


Next up was the South Florida Bee College another awesome venue and experience. And HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this for anyone starting out with or well on their way with honeybees. I can't recommend this more highly.... There was just so much to learn. I was disappointed because I couldn't go to ALL the classes offered. There just wasnt' enough time. 

My focus centered on the beginner. I did take a few genetic and reproduction classes, but mostly wanted to learn the technical, hands on - what does it take to start -- classes. Important for anyone getting into any livestock endeavor --Parasite and disease classes.  The clincher for me was the live hive demonstration. LOVED IT! 


She passed that frame around. I had bees crawling on my sleeve. And loved it.

I'm in there !
Going to conferences used to be a chore. I realize it was because I was just over them for design and advertising, I wasn't learning anything new. Creativity and talent really can't be learned. But with farming and livestock this is something anyone with drive and determination CAN do. And getting good tips to help you start, keep you motivated, or just introduce you to someone that can mentor you.... GO  It's worth it!

Kept changing my mind on which class to take after taking the previous class. So many good subjects....

And they gave you ALL the power point presentations. This really was perfect as I just took notes in the side bars.

So.... just do it. Its important to adjust your thinking. Be open to meeting new people. Make a point of talking to the person in line in front of you. They are there for the exact same reason. They might even be there alone just like you. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone. Just remember everyone gets nervous in new situations.  I say this because I almost didn't go to either of these events. Why? Because I couldn't find anyone to go with me. But then again, that's never stopped me before. So happy it didn't this time, either.

So proud of myself for going. 
The most important thing I can impart is YES it's worth the cost. It's an investment in your future. It wasn't easy for me to go. I have a whole farm to care for. Goats to milk. Milk customers to re-arrange. And the days after are chaotic. I don't know how a 9 year old goat who has no bad habits can learn in two days a bad habit. Multiply that by 19 more animals. Bottom line even with all that it was well worth the cost and time invested.  go!

It's fun. you meet great new people. You bring home information you can utilize. And you get a really nerdy cool Certificate of Participation!

See you next year!


2 comments:

Liz Clark said...

Oh it looks like you have a fabulous time Jojo awesome!

jojo said...

Thanks Liz. :) do you have bees where you're at? I'm getting closer!

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