What an excellent Expo we had!!
Thank you all for your part in making our return to in-person Expo gatherings so special. More than 130 of you made the trek to the Highwood Mountains to camp in the rain and spend some quality time re-connecting, visioning, and problem-solving. And dancing. And eating cake and other amazing food. And outbidding each other on some mighty fine auction items. Your energy invigorates and inspires us!
You can find our Keynote Speaker video recordings here.
Scroll down for the event agenda, schedule, and speaker bios. Stay tuned for news of Expo 2023!
AERO is honored to welcome Liz Carlisle back again as keynote speaker. She is the author of Lentil Underground, co-author of Grain By Grain, and Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Liz will be sharing wisdom from her latest book, Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming.
Dan Kittredge has been an organic farmer for more than 30 years and is one of the leading 21st century proponents of “nutrient density”. He is founder and Executive Director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), a non-profit whose mission is to build a nutrient dense food supply, recognizing that together, we are stewards of our food future. Dan is also teaching a pre-Expo class, Principles of Biological Systems, the day before Expo. Learn more about the course HERE.
We have a wonderful cast of guest speakers and panelists joining us for Expo. To see the bios of all of our presenters, CLICK HERE.
This is our 2022 Expo theme, explored through the lens of “stewardship agriculture”, a catchphrase that captures the culture of stewardship that is the heart of our AERO community. Stewardship of planetary resources, of our communities, and of food producing resources—human, animal, plant, and land. This culture drives our conversations, our questions, and the creative solutions we dream up. Come learn what imaginative pragmatists around the state are doing to cultivate resilient stewardship at all levels. May they inspire new questions and solutions for you!
During the day, choose from one of our Farm Tours & Local Lunch options (see below) or complete Dan Kittredge’s workshop on Principles of Biological Systems (not included in cost of Expo), which starts Thursday Sept 29, and ends at noon on Friday – in time to join Tour 4 at Ole Norgaard’s farm. Check in at Arrowpeak Lodge anytime between 12:00-5:00pm.
4:30-5:30pm —Happy Hours & Appetizers from Saibeen’s Kitchen
5:45pm—Evening Keynote: Liz Carlisle
7:00-9:00pm—Potluck Dinner and AERO Cake Auction*
*Yum! It’s tradition to bring a dish to share for the potluck. Showcase your creativity and bake a killer cake for the Cake Auction! In all events, bring your cash. The stakes are high in this staple AERO FUNdraiser, with the highest bidding table getting first choice of cake!
7:00-8:00am—Sunrise yoga with Ellie Costello
7:30-8:30am—Breakfast & Registration
9:00am—Morning Keynote: Dan Kittredge
10:30am—Breakout Session #1
1:15pm—AERO Annual Meeting
2:45pm—Breakout Session #2
4:15pm—Breakout Session #3 and Value-Added Producer Workshop
7:00-8:00pm—Dinner and Silent Auction Winners
8:00-10:00pm—Live music by State Champions!
7:00-8:00am—Sunrise yoga with Ellie Costello
9:00am—Breakout Session #4
With our last two Expo’s taking place virtually, we have really missed the field component that is traditionally a part of Expo. This year we are back, and we have four excellent tours to choose from! Tours are FREE with Expo registration. All tours will take place on Friday, September 30th. Select the tour of your choice when you purchase your Expo ticket.
11:00am-1:00pm, Helena, MT
Old Salt Co-Op is building a Montana meat brand that is about “connecting customers and producers in a shared purpose: to be stewards, enhancing land, wildlife habitat and community like a pinch of salt in a recipe, like the salt of the earth.” Join us at the Old Salt Outpost in Helena’s historic downtown for delicious burgers and conversation around connecting to Montana’s working landscapes. (Tour participants are responsible for the cost of their own meal at Old Salt Outpost.)
10:00am-3:30pm, Lewistown & Stanford, MT
Meet in Lewistown at the American Prairie Reserve Center to chat about the buffalo/prairie ecosystem with Liz Carlisle, Latrice Tatsey (bison ecologist currently restoring buffalo to their native homelands in the Blackfeet Nation), and Corrie Williamson, former AERO staffer, now Senior Outreach Manager for American Prairie. Then to Jess Alger’s ranch in Stanford. A former AERO Board member and keen supporter from way back, Jess Alger has been a Montana leader in regenerative ranching and agriculture practices since 1999 when he transitioned his 1,120 acre farm/ranch to organic. (Please bring $ for lunch from Rising Trout Cafe or bring a sack lunch.)
11:00am-3:30pm, Ulm & Highwood, MT
Start at Timeless Seeds in Ulm—a must if you want to understand the history, legacy, and opportunity of stewardship agriculture in Montana today. Then head to Ole Norgaard’s organic and biodynamic North Frontier Farms. Learn about the Canadian Thistle biocontrol project with MSU, the innovative grain seed cleaner for small and large-scale farmers, and the story of bringing to market Dave Christiansen’s Montana Morado Maize, a unique cold and drought tolerant anthocyanin-rich purple/black corn. (Bring a sack lunch or grab it to go at Harvest Craft Kitchen in Great Falls.)
This tour has been cancelled. If you already registered for this tour you will be contacted by AERO to make other arrangements. Thank you for your understanding.
Lodging is included in the cost of your Expo registration.
Arrowpeak Lodge sits on 144-acres in the beautiful Highwood Mountains 40 miles east of Great Falls. With a main lodge and four large outbuildings, it’s perfect for kindling the small group conversations and impromptu collaborations that distinguish the Expo experience.
On-site accommodations include dormitories, individual rooms and cabins, and tent & RV camping. Shower House available for campers. Lodging is limited and can be reserved when you register on our website.
Meals are included in the cost of your Expo registration.
Friday night’s dinner will be a potluck, so please bring a dish to share. We also will have our AERO Cake Auction, a beloved tradition that puts the FUN in fundraiser! Show off your baking chops and bring a show-stopping cake to contribute!
All other meals will be provided, catered by Bomgardner Catering. We will endeavor to meet everybody’s dietary needs and preferences, and you can indicate any dietary needs during registration.
Saturday night will include a Silent Auction, and we welcome your contributions to this annual fundraising event!
No gift is too small or too big. Whether it is a cherished book, a product from your business, dinner for two at a local restaurant, or a guided float down a wild Montana river, we celebrate the generosity of our AERO community.
Let us know what you plan to add to the Auction when you register online. Thank you!
Share about your organization or business by getting a booth at our Harvest Market, or tabling space! AERO invites you to promote your work or products. You can reserve a Harvest Market table when you register for Expo. $25/table
Arrowpeak Lodge is located 40 miles east of Great Falls. You can find directions to the Montana Farmers Union camp from Great Falls or from Billings HERE.
Give a round of applause for this year’s Expo sponsors! We couldn’t do this without your generous support. Many thanks to the following organizations and businesses who have pledged to make this Expo a success. You can become an Expo sponsor, too! Learn more HERE.
Mission West Community Development Partners/Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center
Community Food and Agriculture Coalition (CFAC)
Montana Organic Association
Montana Renewable Energy Association
Blue Truck Bread
O’Hara Commons and Sustainability Center
North Fork Financial
NCAT (National Center for Appropriate Technology)
Grow Montana Food Policy Coalition
Barnstormers (Cafe Mam Coffee)
Montana Farmers Union
Complex Systems Institute
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Old Salt Co-op
Good Food Store
Happy Trash Can