Are you interested in hands-on rescue and care of farmed animals? More and more vegans are doing just that, and sharing their homes and yards with rescued chickens, even starting “microsanctuaries” of their own. Are you interested in farmed animal advocacy? There are many different strategies and tactics that make a difference.

The first-ever Farmed Animal Conference, put on by Animal Place, takes place at their Grass Valley CA sanctuary June 5-7. We asked Marji Beach, education director of Animal Place, for more about this unique event.

VP: What is the Farmed Animal Conference? And why are you even doing this? 

MB: Animal rights conferences are usually hosted inside, far from the very animals participants are striving to protect. Missing are those hands-on experiences with and around animals. Animal Place’s Farmed Animal Conference combines the two – offering participants knowledge from experts in the animal rights field while interacting directly with our rescued farmed animals. It’s the first and only conference where the sanctuary is your classroom and the animals your teachers!

VP: Who should attend? Should people have any special knowledge about farmed animal rescue and care?

MB: If you want to help farmed animals directly through sanctuary or animal care work, the Farmed Animal Conference is for you. If you want to help farmed animals through advocacy and outreach, the Farmed Animal Conference is for you. If you have any interest in becoming a well-rounded advocate, the Farmed Animal Conference is for you. No experience necessary!

VP: What are the highlights of the agenda?

MB: It is hard to select highlights. The entire agenda, with expert speakers and hands-on workshops…we are excited for all of it!

Miyoko Schinner herself, founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen, will show participants how to make their own vegan cheese. Dr. Will Tuttle will discuss being vegan in a meat-eater’s world. Hands-on workshops include basic chicken care, identifying farmed animal cruelty with animal control officers Cindy Machado and Todd Stosuy, and growing your own veggies veganically. Speakers from many great organizations will be there too, including FARM, DxE, Humane League, FFAC, Vegan Outreach, CAPE, and United Poultry Concerns.

For those interested in learning more about farmed animals, join me for “Farmed Animal Emotion and Behavior,” a two-hour workshop observing the cows, pigs, and chickens and learning the science behind their emotions and behavior. Or if you are thinking of starting a sanctuary, executive director and co-founder Kim Sturla will be joining Harvest Home‘s Christine Morrissey for “Should I Start a Sanctuary?”

VP: What other attractions and diversions are going on that weekend?

MB: Animal Place and the surrounding community are beautiful this time of year. Those who are camping out can go on a moon hike with us the night before, and early risers can go on a sanctuary stroll with our staff botanist. There are plenty of chances for tours and spending time with the animals and assisting with chores!

VP: What should people be prepared to do in the workshops and presentations?

MB: Listen, learn, engage. This conference is geared toward the active advocate – plan on getting up, moving around, taking notes, interacting with the animals, asking questions, and engaging our speakers with questions and input.

VP: Where should people eat and sleep?

MB: Limited camping is available within walking distance of the conference. There is a list of available lodging here, but reserve soon, hotel space is limited and often runs out before June.

VP: How do people sign up?

MB: Register here! Tickets are $100, which includes continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday. Space is limited because of the nature of the workshops and the format.