Laura & Monte Bledsoe

Laura Bledsoe, with her husband Monte, is the owner of Quail Hollow Farm, a small organic vegetable farm in Southern Nevada. Laura was originally inspired to become a farmer by visiting the Founders farms in the Eastern United States and was impressed by the sense of stewardship that they had for the land. Feeling the call to provide wholesome food for her community, she founded Quail Hollow Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Now the farm has grown to service over 100 families, several notable restaurants and farmers markets throughout southern Nevada.

She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 35 years, and is a mother of 5 children with 11 grandchildren. Laura has a Bachelors Degree in Statesmanship from George Wythe University, a 1st degree black belt in Tang Soo Do karate, is active in her church and community organizations, and has successfully worked at the 2013 Nevada Legislature to pass the “Farm to Fork” and Cottage Food bills. Her personal motto is, “Faith, Family, Freedom”; she is passionate about our liberties.

Shanon Brooks

Dr. Shanon Brooks

Dr. Shanon Brooks is the president of Monticello College, a unique school that combines georgics, the liberal arts, manual arts, and entrepreneurship resulting in debt-free, mortgage-free, self-reliant graduates. He is the author of The State of American Education and A Thomas Jefferson Education for Teens.

Dr. Brooks is a veteran of military service in the United States Submarine Fleet and holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, a Master’s degree in education, and a Ph.D. in constitutional law. On a personal note, he loves operating his backhoe, hiking, and the renewing force of permaculture. He and his wife Julia live on the campus of Monticello College.

Breakout Session:

The Four Lost American Ideals

Will DeMille

William and Vernie Lynn DeMille were both raised on farms and learned the importance of caring for the land in a responsible way. They have been farming together for 21 years and have been teaching georgic principles for 12 years to groups all over North America. One of their many passions is to help bring the lost American Ideal of Georgics out of obscurity and back into mainstream thinking. They specialize in helping people set up sustainable food production farms from the small backyard garden to the large commercial business. They are currently living in Utah where they are raising a family, tending a garden, riding horses, and writing books. They enjoy writing, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, gardening, and exploring the unconquered wilderness places. They have spent their lives together providing as much food as possible for their family from the natural world by growing, hunting, gathering, and fishing. They have found this intimate relationship with the earth to be very rewarding.

Breakout Session:

Three Voices of Agriculture

Danny McDowel

I grew up in Holbrook AZ. Attended Eastern Arizona College then Northern Arizona University graduating with a Business Administration Economics degree. I moved to Utah in 2006. I have been involved in the local food economy in Utah for 7 plus years. Highlights are starting McDowell Family Farms now Old Home Place Heritage Farms. Going to Virginia for farm and business training at Polyface Farm. Attending Slow Food USA's "Slow Meat" Conference in Denver. Working with all of the wonderful people who are involved in growing and promoting local agriculture and the businesses associated with them.

Bruno Follador

Bruno Follador

Bruno Follador is the director of the Living Soils project at The Nature Institute in Ghent, NY. He is a Brazilian geographer, biodynamic researcher and consultant with a deep commitment to the Goethean approach to Science and has been working with biodynamic farm-scale composting methods and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer's Chromatography for several years. He has worked with farmers and organizations in Brazil, Europe and North America.

Sponsored by:
Main Street Books

Sara Patterson

Sara, a farmer and entrepreneur who started a CSA at 14, is the owner of and runs Red Acre Farm CSA, a successful small Biodynamic farm. With her mom, she established The Red Acre Institute for Food and Agriculture in Cedar City, a rural Southern Utah community. She started the 2 farmers markets in Cedar, is an activist and responsible for making herd shares legal where they were not in 2015 in Utah, and is the 2016 winner of the Gravel Road Gang Award for activism FTCLDF, the Unsung Hero Award from State Policy Network, and the Cedar Chamber of Commerce’s Young Citizen of the Year Award. She eats and advocates that everyone should have access to local nutrient dense food. She is a popular speaker and loves sharing her journey.

Breakout Session:

Oh, The Places She'll Go!

Matt Powers

Matt Powers, creator of the Permaculture Student. He is an experienced teacher, family guy, author, consultant, farmer, seed saver, plant breeder, musician, blogger, & permaculturist. Matt speaks at conferences, colleges, schools, and events about permaculture and education. He has spoken at the National Heirloom Expo, Soil Not Oil, A Place for Sustainability, San Diego Heirloom Seed Swap, SLOLA, Permaculture Voices, Baker Creek's Spring Planting Festival, Valley Home Educators convention, CoCo San Sustainable Farm, A Place for Sustainability, CVCUE, the International School of Los Angeles, the WorldBeat Center in SD, & more.

Sponsored by:
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Marc Roberts

Marc Roberts is a member of the Utah House of Representatives. He serves on the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriation Committee, the house Business and Labor Standing Committee and the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee. In 2014 he sponsored and passed HB 104, Cow Share Program Amendments and in 2015 he sponsored HB 144, The Food Freedom Act.

Marc currently lives in Salem Utah with his wife Casey and 5 children.

Daniel Salatin

Daniel Salatin

Daniel Salatin is the son of Joel Salatin, innovative farmer, writer and speaker. As the third generation on Polyface farm in Swoope, Virginia, he has grown up in the family business.

Polyface services more than 3,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products through relationship marketing. Daniel has gone from carrying freshly processed chickens while in diapers, to running and over-seeing the day-to-day workings of Polyface. As a seven-year old he started a pastured rabbit enterprise, which has had its ups and downs but continues today. Starting the rabbit business gave him first hand experience with marketing, processing, research and development, and the costs of a new business.

Today Daniel is fully employed by the farm and spends his days orchestrating animal movement, scheduling daily tasks and apprentice training. At thirty-five, Daniel is married to wife Sheri and has two sons Travis and Andrew and one daughter Lauryn.

Candace Schaible

Candace has been a horticulturist for Utah State University Extension since 2008. She is a graduate of South Dakota State University's Horticulture program and is currently working towards her Graduate degree in Adult Education from Utah State University. She has 6 years of experience managing Cedar City's Downtown Farmers Market. Her work as an Extension educator focuses on teaching, program development and scholarship in relation to horticulture and water conservation.

Dale K. Thurber, Ph.D.

Dr. Thurber has degrees in Zoology, Tropical Ecology and Forest Resources Science, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Museum of Natural History. Professionally, for more than 20 years he conducted research and management of endangered plant and animal species throughout the USA. He was also an instructor at three colleges, teaching courses in biology, ecology and zoology. In 2011, he started a small business, Delectation of Tomatoes etc. This part-time hobby has now become his full-time, all-consuming passion. This all-organic business has involved: raising up to 30,000 seedlings per year; selling produce via CSA’s, farmers markets, restaurants and retail stores; developing technology for year-round food production; and, most prominently in recent years, saving, trading with and selling seeds to growers from around the world. Current inventory includes seeds of more than 3,000 varieties, 40% of which are not tomatoes.