Orcas Island to host second annual Agricultural Summit

The Red Mill Farm in the heart of San Juan Valley, on San Juan Island, is picturesque as well as a working farm.  - Contributed photo/SJIVB
The Red Mill Farm in the heart of San Juan Valley, on San Juan Island, is picturesque as well as a working farm.
— image credit: Contributed photo/SJIVB

Steve Jones, director of the WSU Northwest Research and Extension Center in Mount Vernon, and U of W geologist David Montgomery, author of “Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations,” will share the spotlight as keynote speakers of the 2014 San Juan Islands Agricultural Summit.

Following a successful debut a year ago in Friday Harbor, this year’s Ag Summit will take place on Orcas Island, March 7-8. The event, hosted by Orcas Island School, in Eastsound, offers two days of information and inspiration, workshops and panel discussions with local elected officials, a seed sweep, and more.

March 7: “Hands-On Friday” features three workshops, 1:30-5 p.m., covering biochar production, farm-to-school programs, and farmstead butchering.

March 8: “Summit Saturday” consists of over 20 break-out sessions, a delicious local lunch cooked by chef Christina Orchid, panel discussion with San Juan County elected officials, seed swap, and more.

Jones, a renowned grain breeder will inspire summit-goers with examples of successful innovation on small farms and in local food systems in the northwest. Montgomery will explain the parallel between the rise and fall of ancient civilizations and the state of their soils, underscoring a message for restoration of farmland soils.

Participating organizations include Organic Seed Alliance; WSU Northwest Research and Extension Center; Northwest Agriculture Business Center; and the Washington State Small Farms Team.

Scholarships and affordable accommodations are available. For more about the summit schedule, visit

For accommodations, (360) 370-7664 or To register,


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