The challenges of 2011, from barn fires to epic floods, revealed much about the strengths and vulnerabilities of Vermont’s farms. It also presented a lot of questions ‘ namely, what’s the best way to create a stronger, more resilient food system? How can farms plan for the increasingly severe weather that we are likely to see? How do home gardens and homesteads fit in? What is the role of consumers and communities as farmers take risks and try new ideas?These are some of the questions that will be tackled at the 30th annual Winter Conference put on by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) this February. As the largest agricultural gathering in Vermont, the Winter Conference has long been a key opportunity for farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and localvores to increase their skills and knowledge.Since moving to the University of Vermont in 2010, the Winter Conference has grown to include more than 65 workshops over two days, plus keynotes, social gatherings, an exhibitors’ fair, and a robust Children’s Conference.The 30th annual NOFA-VT Winter Conference will be held February 10-12, 2012 at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. This year’s keynotes will be local vegetable and fruit extension expert Vern Grubinger, and organic gardening mentor and author Wendy Johnson from Green Gulch Farm in Muir Beach, CA.For more information, including sponsorship details, please visit www.nofavt.org(link is external). About NOFA Vermont: NOFA Vermont is member-based organization working to grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont. Our members are farmers, gardeners, educators and food lovers of all sorts ‘ anyone who wants to help us create a future full of local food and local farms. Our programs include farmer and gardener technical assistance, farm to school support, organic certification, advocacy, an online apprentice and farm worker directory, an annual Winter Conference, and programs that work to ensure access to fresh, local food to all Vermonters, regardless of income.