Essex--Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez from Hot Bread Kitchen in New York City has been tapped as the keynote speaker for the 14th annual Vermont Grain Growers Conference.

Waldman Rodriguez will share how she started the non-profit bakery a decade ago to offer employment and training to women facing financial insecurity, including recent immigrants. The March 22 conference at the Essex Resort and Spa in Essex also includes several concurrent workshops, including hands-on baking sessions, revolving around the theme, Diversifying Grains for a Changing Climate.

The deadline to register is March 16. Conference details and online registration can be found at The cost, which includes lunch, is $75 per person and $50 for Northern Grain Growers Association (NGGA) members.

Growers will have a choice of workshops featuring a range of topics including hemp cultivation and processing, milkweed as a cash crop, organic no-till grain production, incorporating cover crops and green manures into grains and no-till on grain farms, among others.

Among the presenters are homesteader and author Will Bonsall of Farmington, Maine, who will lead two sessions on small-scale production of wheat and unconventional small grains. Rick Kersbergen, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will discuss using small grains in animal rations.

Ben Gleason of Gleason's Grains in Bridport, will share his three decades of experience growing and milling grains in Vermont. Growers also may attend a session on redressing and maintaining milling stones, taught by Andrew Heyn and Blair Marvin, owners of Elmore Mountain Bread and New American Stone Mills in Elmore.

The conference is co-sponsored by University of Vermont Extension and NGGA. Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to attend, should contact Susan Brouillette at (802) 524-6501, ext. 432, by March 12.


Susan Jean Brouillette