Winter events list is an in-person ‘friend’ (Field To Craft)
Have you been to a winter meeting yet?
There’s still time.
Even with the month of January fully behind us, you can still find a number of one- and two-day events.
The University of Maryland Extension, for one, has a plethora of workshops, with several offered in multiple locations, scheduled throughout the rest of February and into March.
They cover the gamut of agricultural subject matter — fruits, nutrient management, small and urban farms, small poultry flocks, as well as two separate conferences focusing on women in agriculture.
And, for those of you into horticulture, there’s the Maryland Nursery, Landscape, and Greenhouse Association’s Chessie Green 2020, two days of in-depth workshops for the green industry.
All of these present the opportunity to learn new things and network with those who share your professional interests and aspirations, in-person.
That last attribute is most important.
“It’s important to be able to sit down — together, in-person — and ask ‘How was your year?’” said Gail Taylor, conference manager for this year’s annual conference held by Future Harvest.
An observation made during a discussion of the upcoming agenda for Future Harvest’s January conference, Taylor, who is also owner of Three Part Harmony Farm in Washington understands that once the growing season begins in earnest, it becomes difficult to take the time to make those needed connections with one’s colleagues within the agriculture community.
It’s why, she explained, agriculture organizations like Future Harvest “try hard to facilitate those socialization opportunities” during the slower winter season.
Even a one-day workshop provides opportunities to make those connections.
Maybe there are colleagues you know you can sit with during the workshops.
Agree to trade notes and impressions at the end of the day.
More likely than not, your colleague picked up on something that you weren’t as familiar with.
Maybe no one looks familiar.
That’s OK, too. Introduce yourself to your neighbors when you sit down.
Same with lunch. Maybe try to find a different set of colleagues to lunch with or introduce yourself to.
Not sure what to talk about? How about the workshop(s) you just finished?
When I cover conferences and workshops for the newspaper, I’ll often ask my lunch mates, “What was the most helpful thing you heard this morning?”
As a journalist, lunch conversations often clue me in to what issues are currently percolating through that particular farming community — spotted lanternfly quarantines, deer pressure on gardening plants, health department regs for farmers markets, and always, the weather, whether it’s last year’s, last month’s, yesterday’s, or even today’s.
Plus, lunchtime conversations almost always connect me to someone who is passionate about some aspect of the green industries, whether agriculture or horticulture.
That last is the best part of attending winter meetings: hearing someone else’s passion reminds us of our own, and often helps refresh our purpose.
So, pull up those event calendars.
There’s still time to reconnect with others who are as passionate as you are about the world of growing things.
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