Organic Growers School Harvest Conference returns for its second year

MEATY SUBJECT: Local butcher, farmer and author Meredith Leigh offered a workshop at this year's Organic Growers School Harvest Conference that highlighted the farm-side economics of meat production and demonstrated that informed consumers are necessary to transform the food system.

Homesteaders, gardeners, farmers, and natural health enthusiasts convened on the campus of A-B Tech on Saturday, Sept. 12, for the second Organic Growers School Harvest Conference. The event is meant to extend the reach of the popular Spring Conference with a focus on fall and winter growing, home cooking, fermentation and preservation, self-reliance, herbal medicine, “backyard wonders” and homestead skills.

Participants could choose from 26 different workshop sessions from a variety of curated tracks. The conference offered four sessions throughout the day along with ample time for networking, browsing vendor booths, and snacking from the Taste and See food truck, which set up shop on-site for the day.

In addition to the main conference, the Harvest Conference also featured a pre-conference on Friday, Sept. 11, which offered more in-depth explorations of mycology, fermentation, natural building, and foraging.

The information presented at the Harvest Conference maintained the characteristic diversity that Organic Growers School brings to its events and allowed participants to reach beyond their own planes of knowledge and step out of their comfort zones.

Kelli Elizabeth Kuhn provided participants with a historical background of bone broth and explained the health benefits that could be gained by adding the broth to their diets. The workshop also embodied the conference’s self-reliance theme as Kuhn explained in detail how bone broth could be used to extend the number of meals from their purchases. Kuhn walked participants through a step-by-step tutorial on how they could render their own broths at home.

Local writer, butcher, farmer and cook Meredith Leigh used her conference session to highlight the ideas of her forthcoming book, The Ethical Meat Handbook: Complete Home Butchery, Charcuterie and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore. Rather than focusing on the how-to motif found throughout the conference, Leigh guided participants through the farm-side economics of meat production and pointed out the deficiencies in the domestic livestock market. Leigh’s session demonstrated that farmers are bearing the brunt of the burden in producing ethical and sustainable meats and that committed and informed consumers are necessary to transform the food system.

Overall, the conference offered participants an opportunity to engage with a lifestyle which was more attune to the natural environment and more focused on individual health.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Josh O'Conner
Josh O’Conner is an urban/land use planner with a passion for urban agriculture. He can be reached at @kalepiracy or @joshoconner on Twitter or e-mailed at

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Organic Growers School Harvest Conference returns for its second year

  1. A whopping 43% of all organic food sold in America tests positive for prohibited pesticide residue, and three-quarters of all organic food is imported from countries like China. Can someone please explain how exactly this qualifies as “sustainable”?

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.