Oct 13, 2021
Fruit growing conference announced by North American Fruit Explorers

The nonprofit North American Fruit Explorers, or NAFEX, announced its annual conference will be held online. The year’s theme is, “Fruit Forward: Growing for Tomorrow.”

The virtual event will be held Nov. 15-20, 2021, online via Zoom. It includes 24 speakers in 12 sessions over six days.

“This year we’re planning an exciting series of interactive sessions with some of North America’s leading fruit growers, explorers and preservationists including seminars and exciting keynotes,” Kris Klueg Heeter, associate scientist of biology at Indiana University and NAFEX president, said in a news release.

Conference topics include: organic orcharding, getting started in fruit growing, permaculture orchards for changing climates, agroforestry, plum breeding, pear growing, peaches grown by Southwestern Native Americans, growing pawpaw and persimmon fruits, fruit foraging, and heirloom apple preservation.

NAFEX has secured renowned horticultural author Michael Phillips to be a keynote speaker. Phillips is an organic orchardist, consultant, and writer who has written major fruit growing books including, “The Apple Grower” and “The Holistic Orchard.”

“While Apple Trees have been in the news lately from newly re-discovered ‘lost varieties,’ this conference will continue to focus on the NAFEX mission to support small farmers, orchardists and hobbyists who seek to be sustainable self-sufficient producers of a wide variety of fruits for the good of all,” said Klueg Heeter.

The 2021 NAFEX conference will include 12 online sessions on topics ranging from getting started in fruit growing and foraging for wild fruit to fruit breeding and genetics. Some of the other 24 conference speakers include Reagan Wystalucy, Extension Assistant Professor with Utah State University, on rediscovering peaches in Navajo and other First Nations foodways; Rachel Spaeth, Garden Curator at the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens, on the legacy of Burbank’s eminent plum breeding program; and Dan Bussey, author of the definitive seven-volume, “Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada,” (2016).

The conference is free for NAFEX members and only $19 for non-members. Sign up and conference information is available at NAFEX.org.

Conference Schedule

Noon Pacific / 3pm Eastern
4:30pm Pacific / 7:30pm Eastern
Getting Started in Fruit Growing: Tips from the Field

Susan Poizner, Orchard People
Larry Stephenson, Southern Cultured Orchards & Nursery
Sam Hubert, One Green World Nursery

Facilitator: Eric Bina

Preserving Our Heirloom Apple Heritage

Tom Brown, Heritage Apples
Joanie Cooper, Temperate Orchard Conservancy
Harry Burton, Apple Luscious Organic Orchard

Facilitator: Leslie Wade

Permaculture Orchards for Changing Climates

Jacques Neukom, Neukom Family Farms
Keith Johnson, HeartBeet Farm and Permaculture Center
Andrew Millison, Oregon State University

Facilitator: Kris Klueg Heeter

Exploring Peaches Grown by Southwestern Native Americans

Reagan Wytsalucy, Assistant Professor, Utah State University Extension

Facilitator: Leslie Wade

All About NAFEX + 2021 Annual Meeting

Learn about NAFEX, its history and stories from longtime members

Business agenda: Board elections, new business, bylaws update and other new business.

Facilitator: Kris Klueg Heeter

Agroforestry: An Alternative Agriculture

Erik Hagan, Savanna Institute
Zach Elfers, Nomad Seed Project
Max Paschall, Shelterwood Forest Farm

Facilitator: Taylor Malone

The Plum Detective: Decoding Burbank’s Plums and Hybrids

Rachel Spaeth, Garden Curator, Luther Burbank Home & Gardens

Facilitator: Kris Klueg Heeter

Happy Hour: Member Show and Tell

Join us for an interactive session to share tips,
innovations, creations, successes and failures in your orchard or fruit farm.
Adult beverages optional.

Facilitator: Kris Klueg Heeter

Pears for Your Heirs: Disease Resistance, Wild Fruits & Cultivars

Nahla Bassil, USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository
Joseph Postman, USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository (retired)
Marcus Toole, Home Orchardist, Georgia

Facilitator: Eric Bina

Journeys in Wild and Cultivated Orchards

Matt Kaminsky, Gnarly Pippins
Sean Williams, Heirloom Fruit Preservationist
Dan Bussey, Author, The Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada

Facilitator: Chris Homanics

Heroes of Pawpaw & Persimmon Breeding, Past and Present

Darren Bender-Beauregard, Brambleberry Farm
Buzz Ferver, Perfect Circle Farm
Joe Pizzo, White Lion Farms Foundation

Facilitator: Chris Homanics

Keynote Address: The Holistic Orchard

Michael Phillips, Lost Nation Orchard,
Author of The Holistic OrchardThe Apple Grower, and Mycorrhizal Planet

Facilitator: Kris Klueg Heeter

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