The period for public submissions of proposals is now closed. The call for proposals remains below for reference. Please look for an RFP for the 2019 Conference in March 2018.

IMG_4812 webThe Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) invites innovative, instructive, and enthusiastic presenters to share their knowledge of and expertise in the best practices and strategies to promote profitable farms in producing healthy food for all people while respecting the natural environment at the Annual Farming for the Future Conference. The conference seeks to:

  • Provide training and education that will promote the environmental, economic, and social well-being of farms, the food system, and the environment.
  • Serve as an outlet for sharing cutting edge research and science-based solutions, as well as aid the preservation and passing on of traditional farming knowledge and heritage.
  • Be a venue where people, businesses, and organizations from across the sustainable agriculture movement can come together to make meaningful connections and establish fruitful relationships.
  • Welcome all folks who participate in the sustainable agriculture movement without championing a single method or philosophy of production.

The 2018 Conference will be held February 7 to 10, 2018 in State College, PA at the Penn Stater Conference Center & Hotel.

SUGGESTION BOX Would you like to suggesttopic or presenter? We welcome input from our members and attendees. Please use our suggestion box to share your ideas. Please do not use this link if you would like to be a presenter, continue reading and submit a proposal via the link provided at the bottom of the page.


Selection Process & Timeline

Each year, PASA staff works with a volunteer committee to put together the conference programming. Programming will be selected to achieve a balance that reflects our diverse audience. Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Consistency with PASA’s mission and conference goals
  • Expertise and experience of presenter(s)
  • Relevance of topic to our audience

You are welcome to reach out to PASA for feedback on your ideas prior to submission. Please contact Kristin Hoy at or 814-349-9856 x11.

Proposals will be evaluated on an ongoing basis from the time the RFP opens until it closes June 30. However, the programming is developed from May through September, with the full and half-day programs being confirmed earlier in the planning process, so consider proposing longer programs well before the deadline.

June 30 Deadline for proposals
Ongoing thru October Notification of proposal status
November Program schedule announced

Types of Programs

  • Track – A full-day program (7 hours) with a built-in lunch that focuses on a specific topic and uses the time to teach attendees a skill or technique that will help them to improve their farming operation. Attendees select a specific track, so it is possible to contact the group prior to the session to assign homework or provide additional background. These can vary from one to many presenters, but we prefer to have no more than five. We will have two or three tracks.
  • Session – A half-day program (3.5 hours) that focuses on a specific topic with enough time to take an in-depth look. Attendees select a specific track, so it is possible to contact the group prior to the session to assign homework or provide additional background. These can vary from one to many presenters, but we prefer to have no more than three. We will have 12 to 18 sessions.
  • Workshop – An 80-minute session that can either give a brief overview of a broad topic or focus on a very narrow subject. This is also a good place for discussion or panel formats. Attendees do not select main conference workshops when they pre-register, so attendance cannot be determined in advance. These can be one to two presenters. If this will be run as a panel discussion, we prefer to limit it to three presenters (in some cases, a pair of speakers can count as one presenter) plus a panel moderator. We will have approximately 100 workshops.
  • Demonstration, Listening Session, Learning Circle, Focus Group, or Discussion Group – Within the conference schedule, there are several blocks, usually around one hour, that can be used for special programming. Special programming formats can include open, informal discussions addressing a specific topic, invited or open focus groups, and demonstrations of equipment or techniques. Total number will depend on space and time availability.

Within the conference schedule on Friday and Saturday, there are several blocks, usually around one hour, that can be used for special programming such as demonstrations, focus groups, or discussions. The total number will depend on space and time availability. We do not have a formal process for proposing these types of programs, so ideas should be shared directly with Kristin (contact information is above).

Program Characteristics

The conference draws in over 1,500 farmers, educators, activists, experts, food and ag-related businesses, gardeners, and much more. Around 50% of our attendees are current farmers. The majority of the programming will focus on farm production, business, and marketing topics, but we also seek to cover a broad range of issues relevant to the sustainable agriculture movement. We are looking for a variety of programs across all of the following areas:  

Audience Experience Level Program Theme
  • Farmers
  • Homesteaders & Gardeners
  • Ag/Food System Professionals
  • Sustainable Food System Supporter
  • Beginning
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Production Practices
  • Processing & Value-Adding
  • Policy, Advocacy, & Food System Issues
  • Entrepreneurship (Business Planning & Marketing)
  • Ecosystem & Conservation


All speakers will received the following compensation (though there are some exceptions for those coming with a sponsoring company, see below):

  • On-site lodging: One night in a shared room or ½ a night in a private room per day of speaking.
  • Registration: Discount code that will cover the cost of attendance and lunch per day of speaking. If a speaking schedule includes a day of not speaking between presentations, PASA will cover attendance on the “down” day as well.

Some funding is available to cover speaker requests beyond our standard compensation. PASA is a nonprofit charitable organization supported by our members, so we ask presenters to cover as much of their additional costs as possible. There is space on the form to request travel reimbursement or a speaking fee. Travel options include driving, bus, or plane to State College/University Park. We are willing to consider non-traditional requests as well, but please note that speaking costs cannot be traded for sponsorships or exhibit booths. Waived speaker costs can be included as part of in-kind underwriting support. Please be very specific in your requests.

NOTE: Speakers who are also attending as a representative for a sponsoring or exhibiting company do not receive the same speaker package as other speakers. The following applies:

  • Depending on when a speaker is scheduled, PASA may be able to extend additional registration and/or meal benefits. This will be determined case by case.
  • PASA will book lodging, and assign a roommate if desired, based on your preference. Lodging for Thu, Fri and Sat are not covered by PASA for those attending with an exhibiting company, but would be covered for Tue/Wed nights if presenting on Wednesday or Thursday morning. For a non-exhibiting sponsor, some lodging costs may be covered. This will be determined case by case.
  • PASA will not cover travel expenses or a speaking fee for those attending with an exhibiting company.

Submission Instructions

All submissions must use the electronic form. You will not be able to save progress in the form, so you may prefer to use the google doc version of the application, available below, to draft your proposal(s). If you are a Google Drive user, you can make a copy (under File) and work within Drive. Otherwise, you can use the same link to download the file as a word document as well as other formats (File –> Download as). Click here to access the document.

When writing your biography and program description, please use complete sentences and efficiently express what the program will cover and what attendees can expect to learn. Please do not include biographical information in the description.

To submit multiple proposals, you will need to complete the form once for each submission. You are welcome to say “see previous submission” where noted.

To get a sense of what we are looking for in titles, descriptions, content, etc, you can review past conference programming here. The program books include session descriptions and speaker biographies.