SUNDAY & MONDAY, DEC 8th & 9th


Shone Farm
Santa Rosa Junior College
7450 Steve Olson Ln.
Forestville, CA 95436
(707) 535-3707


Early Bird Expo & Tool Exhibits: 3pmOpening Reception & Plenary: 5 – 8pm
Doors Open: 8amWorkshops & Demos: 9am – 5pmInnovation Challenge & Closing Remarks: 5 – 6pmWORKSHOPS:​Customizing Tools for Your Farm’s Efficiency
Using examples from his own farm, Josh will discuss ergonomic, economic and production considerations, and how he applies those in customizing and designing tools for more efficient systems on his small farm and for others.
Josh Volk is the proprietor of Slow Hand Farm in Portland, Oregon, and has been working on and managing small farms around the United States for the last 20 years. He graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering before getting interested in small scale food production as a way to support local communities. He travels around the world, consulting with farmers and researchers, teaching new farmers, and presenting workshops. He is also the author of the book “Compact Farms” from Storey Publishing.Rural Broadband
Broadband connectivity is vital for the economic development in agricultural communities. Yet there remain major gaps in broadband connectivity throughout the world, primarily in rural regions creating what is known as the “Digital Divide”. The lack of broadband infrastructure makes it difficult, if not impossible, to compete with other growing economies that are already connected. This workshop will explore stats in rural broadband connectivity, gaps in infrastructure, the economic impact of broadband in rural/agricultural areas, how various broadband technologies support AgTech, funding sources and solutions to better connect unserved communities.
Calvin Sandeen works at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board on broadband projects, is a member of the Access Sonoma Broadband program, as well as the Deputy Manager of the North Bay/North Coast Broadband Consortium. Farm Tools, from Concept to Product
How do good ideas transform into practical on-farm products? In this workshop, learn the process behind product development, from harvesting tools to flame weeders to innovative transplaters. It might just be more accessible than you think, with crafty farmers tinkering in barns playing a vital role. Learn about the manufacturing process impact, prototyping process, and effective testing.
Bradford Waugh is the Product Development Engineer for Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Brad has spent over a decade developing products and ideas for several different product categories for Brands like Trident, Anheuser-Busch, and Google. His experience has enabled him to work on almost every phase of new product development. He is now focused on improving Johnny’s existing tools and help the Johnny’s tool brand bring new products to life. Tools for Biointensive IPM & Solarization
One of the most challenging issues facing small farmers is finding economically viable and environmentally sustainable strategies to control weeds and pests. Biointensive integrated pest management (IPM) is a systems approach to pest management that is based on proactive measures that redesign the agricultural ecosystem to the disadvantage of insect pest and to the advantage of its natural enemies. Habitat plants, and innovative approaches to managing habitat plants for beneficial insects will be discussed as well as sources of cost share programs available through state and federal agricultural agencies that can help fund establishment of these habitats. Also learn about solarization, consisting of heating the soil with clear plastic mulch on moist soil debilitating many soil pathogens, insects, nematodes, weed seeds and seedlings. Biosolarization combines solarization with anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) producing organic compounds that are toxic or suppressive to soil pest and diseases.
Martin Guerena is the Sustainable Agriculture Specialist for National Center for Appropriate Technology. Martin most recently served as the Integrated Pest Management Specialist with the city of Davis, California. He is also a licensed Pest Control Advisor and has experience as a teacher, farm manager and extension agent with the University of Arizona.
Rex Dufour is the CA Regional Director for the National Center for Appropriate Technology. Rex Dufour’s background is in entomology and integrated pest management. His work experience includes managing sustainable development projects in Thailand and Laos. Mr. Dufour has worked as both project manager and program specialist for NCAT and heads NCAT’s California office. In addition to the ATTRA project, he is involved in several minority farmer outreach projects.Composting Tools & Technology for the Small Farm
Building soil carbon is at the root of soil health and regenerative agriculture while positively affecting climate change. Compost is a valuable tool to increase soil organic matter. In this workshop we will look at various on-farm composting systems and the tools involved: windrows turned by loader or windrow-turner, covered aerated static pile (passive and active) and biodynamic composting. Learn the regulatory requirements, discuss process monitoring, indicators for finished compost as well as it’s end-use.
Will Bakx is co-founder and owner of Sonoma Compost and is the Project Manager at Renewable Sonoma. Will is a pre-eminent soil scientist who has devoted his life to advancing the composting industry. With 37 years of experience and expertise in all aspects of composting, Will brings a breadth of knoweldge on producing advanced, environmentally-friendly compost. He is Adjunct Instructor at the SRJC for the Agricultural Composting Class.On-Farm Task Management
Despite the myth of farming as the “simple life”, we all know that farm management, with all it’s many moving pieces, can be complex. In this workshop, we’ll hear from three farmers who are utilizing digital technologies to manage tasks and teams. From farm crew communications to planting and harvesting schedules, there are increasingly more options available to farmers, from new farm-specific software to everyday phone apps. Hear how these farmers are working smarter, not harder. And the pros and cons of many different systems.
Anthony Blondin has been farming since 1996 and has been the Coordinator of Operations at Shone Farm for the past three years. Prior to working for SRJC, he has developed and managed a teaching and demonstration farm on the Big Island of Hawaii, owned and operated a horse powered market farm in Southern Indiana, and lived on a mountainside homestead in Southeast Tennessee. While production has always been small to mid-sized, organic and sustainable, it has always been very diverse.
Kritters Blevins currently co-manages Mountain Bounty Farm in Nevada City, CA, which grows mixed vegetables for a large year-round CSA, wholesale, and a local farmers market. Kritters coordinates irrigation, all things field prep and oversees one of two farm sites. (pronouns are they/them/theirs)Reducing On-Farm Waste
From plastic mulch to produce packaging to drip tape, plastic can make farms more efficient. But it also adds to the trash our farm businesses create. In this workshop, we’ll hear about tools and new tech that helps reduce on-farm waste, from biodegradable mulch to cardboard berry boxes to reusable, washable tubs for your CSA customers.
Ben Hansen, 24 Carrot FarmSales & Distribution Software
Remember showing up to the farmers market with whatever you could harvest? Well, now that you’re selling to distributors, wholesale accounts or multiple clients, jotting down orders on a pad of paper doesn’t exactly suffice. While Big Ag now operates in a high-tech universe of automated distribution, one of the greatest barriers to a more successful local food system comprised of small farms is a disjointed distribution infrastructure. Find out how new tech companies and local distributors are working to tighten up those systems to accommodate the unique circumstances of small-scale farmers.
Joshua Rosen is the Founder & CEO at FRESHr, an online marketplace that aggregates and updates supply and demand for fresh local produce in real-time.
Tim Page runs the Farmers’ Exchange of Earthy Delights — also known as F.E.E.D. Sonoma— a produce distribution company that works closely with 50 small scale farmers throughout the North Bay.
Sri Sabesan, CEO of Tier1Digital, has vast history of over 30 years delivering latest software innovations to enterprise customers and is now bringing that experience to Ag and Food industry, with a focus on bringing state of the art technology accessible to smallholder farmers.Alternative On-Farm Energy
Whether it’s energy independence or reducing our carbon footprint, farmers are adopting alternative forms of energy to power their farms, tractors, fencing and more. Learn about creative ways that farms are harnessing the sun, innovations in solar power–the challenges to overcoming fossil fuel dependence as well as the opportunities that these technologies can offer our farms and food system.
Paul Muller is the co-owner of Full Belly Farm, a diverse farm located in the Capay Valley that has been farmed using organic practices since 1985 and has implemented a number of on-farm solar projects.
Ernesto Montenero is with Sustainable Technologies, an environmental construction company providing efficient remediation and solar electrical systems on farms around California.
Stephen Heckeroth is the Founder and CEO of Solectrac, working to provide an alternative to fossil fuels with 25 years of experience building electric tractors as well as converting vehicles to electric.
Chicken Coop Evolution: Improving Tools for Pastured Poultry
Come hear the pros and cons of various methods of raising pasture-based broilers and hens at Green Star Farm and how they’ve evolved their designs over the course of a decade of production. See past iterations and learn about the technical design of their coops, methods for moving and caring for the animals, as well as the economic advantages and disadvantages of each design.
Sarah Silva, Green Star Farm
Maintaining Crop Quality & Yields Using Less Water
Several tools are available to help growers schedule irrigation sets to maximize fruit quality and maintain good yields, while using the least amount of water necessary. This workshop will explore a range of options from monitoring soil moisture and plant stress levels, to utilizing integrated software systems that track farm and vineyard specific variables and make precision irrigation recommendations. Join us to learn your pallet of options, and discuss their advantages, disadvantages, and the practical considerations for integrating them into your management system.
Keith Abeles is a Soil and Water Specialist with the Sonoma Resource Conservation District
Tucker Volk is an Agronomist and Director of Operations at Vintel, a state-of-the-art, web-based decision support system for optimum vineyard management and superior quality wine.
​Adrienne Uboldi is Grower Relations Manager at Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners, which represents a collection of iconic wineries from some of the world’s most prestigious wine regions.
9:30am Planting Tools10am Cultivation Tools10:30am Solar Tractor11am Drones11:30am Bicycle powered tractorNoon Post-harvest Tools12:30pm Harvest Tools1pm No Till Drill1:30pm Bed Prep Tools2pm Two-Wheel / Walk-behind Tractors2:30pm Seed Tools3pm Traditional Tractors3:30 Season Extension
Tools and technology can help farmers improve efficiency, save labor and connect with their customers. But many of the innovations in agriculture today are built for large-scale production, out of reach for most family farms and contribute to mono-cropping, ecological degradation and consolidation in the industry. Here in America, despite our technological progress, we lose 4 farms a day, the average age of farmers has crept up to nearly 60 years old and in 2017, over 50% of farms reported negative net income. Coupled with a “get big or get out” ideology, much of this progress has left smaller farms behind to the detriment of rural economies, social equity and even the health, sustainability and quality of our food.THE CHALLENGE:Whether you’re an engineer or just a crafty farmer, a startup or a team of grad students, this year we’re challenging you to develop a new innovation that can help smaller-scale farms compete, survive and thrive. From hardware to software, mechanical harvesters to marketing apps, we’re seeking proposals for technologies that will help level the playing field, strengthen local food systems and promote on-farm sustainability. As part of this year’s Small Farm Tech Expo in Sonoma County, submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges representing farmers, ag business reps, entrepreneurs and the tech industry. Winners will be showcased at our event on December 9th, 2019 as well as at both the EcoFarm and Small Farm Conferences in early 2020, and in video and online with the aim of helping you make your bright idea a reality.GUIDELINES:
* Challenge is open to individuals, teams, students and start-up businesses* All designs and intellectual property will remain with submitters. Elements of your proposal may be kept confidential so long as viability is demonstrated within your proposal. Patents encouraged where needed.* Winner and two runners up will be announced on December 9th, 2019​* Proposals will be accepted in any phase of development, however the more fully-fleshed out a proposal is (business plan, prototype, etc.) the better chances of winning.
All challenge entrants will be provided the results of our farm tech needs survey, feedback from California-based farms explaining their challenges and interests.Submissions will be judged based on the following attributes:
* Promotes the economic viability of smaller-scale farm businesses* Novelty* Financially accessible to small farm budgets* Adaptability to a variety of farm systems and circumstances* Promotes ecologically sustainable farm practices* Repairable / adjustable by user* Enables direct sales and local food systems* Maintains farm autonomy; avoids dependence, monopolization* Long-term relevance* Compatibility with diverse crop systems* Ease of use
EXAMPLES OF RELEVANT CATEGORIES & FARMER NEEDS:* Harvesting tools* Planting tools* Soil management* Monitoring: soil moisture, nitrogen, etc.* Sales: CSA, online markets, wholesale tracking* Wash & Pack* Record Keeping​* Fencing* Irrigation & water systems* On-farm energy* Season extension* Livestock / grazing management tools* Crop storage* Weeding tools* Poultry equipment
REGISTER HERE:Fill out the below form to register for the Challenge. This is NOT the final submission. After completing this form you will receive updates, an invite to the official application and be provided the results of our farm tech needs survey to help guide your project.

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