It is a familiar journey: driving home through the dark, icy chill as your headlights glare into the falling snow. You release held breath as your tires feel the last turn onto the gravel in the January night. Travelling to PFI’s annual conference each year is like visiting family, like being at a reunion where relationships grow and deepen; where we hear new ideas, make new friends and improve our farms. You’ve driven through blizzards, ice and drifted roads not to miss this. But this year, with the risks of COVID-19 we won’t ask you to.
For three days of the deep winter, be safe and easy in your home while we gather on PFI’s virtual conference platform to engage with old friends and new, invited speakers and exhibitors. We will bring familiar elements you expect of the conference – like practical, farmer-led sessions, roundtables and moderated panels on the issues that matter to you and your farms. We’ll also have some new offerings, including youth sessions, lightning talks, farmer-to-farmer conversations, a night of storytelling and PFI’s first feature-length film, “Livestock on the Land.” There’s even a virtual potluck.
The platform offers unique opportunities. All talks will be recorded and immediately available to re-watch. You can chat with other attendees, create meet-ups and reserve rooms for ad-hoc meetings. And the conference space is open 24 hours a day, so you can take all the time you need for the afternoon snack break.
Coming Home is about remembering where your soul rests. It’s about finding comfort as you forge new paths and remembering you needn’t make the journey alone. From kitchen tables and coffee tables, Coming Home will be a conference of learning and sharing, relaxing and reconnecting while building resilient farms and communities.
Using your feedback related to a virtual conference experience (and your feedback over many years!), we selected a top-notch platform that will be simple to navigate, will offer multiple simultaneous sessions and will allow you to interact and network while also providing adequate privacy controls. PFI’s virtual annual conference will be hosted on a Pathable- and Zoom-based platform built by GTR.
Here are a few things to look forward to:
- The session scheduling tool allows you to create a personalized agenda that will add reminders to your conference homepage
- Create a profile with as much or as little information about yourself as you choose
- Easily join sessions from your computer or phone (though we recommend a larger screen for movie night!)
- Participate in moderated roundtable discussions with other attendees
- Message other attendees and exhibitors, or set up video meetings within the platform
- Share contact information with other attendees and exhibitors
- Browse the virtual trade show, and interact with vendors and exhibitors via messaging or video meetings
- Re-watch sessions you loved, or sessions you missed – they’ll be recorded and made available same-day
- Register multiple people from your household so you can log in on multiple devices (or watch together, if you prefer!)
- Thirty-seven of our general sessions are approved for certified crop advisor CEU credits
- If you plan your grocery trips right, there should be plenty of coffee and tea during snack breaks!
All times listed are in are Central Standard Time (GMT-6)
Nominations are now being accepted for PFI’s Sustainable Agriculture Achievement Award!
Practical Farmers of Iowa gives this award annually to someone who has been most influential in creating healthy soil, healthy food, clean air, clean water, resilient farms and vibrant communities. PFI board members will choose the winner based on the nominations they receive.
The recipient will be recognized at Practical Farmers’ annual conference, January 21-23.