Expo and Annual Meeting

Register HERE today!

Weekend Schedule here (or scroll down)

After (or during!) the Expo weekend, visit our evaluation page to let us know your thoughts!  Link to Evaluation Page

This October 26th-28th will bring the annual AERO Expo & Annual Meeting to the Missoula County Fairgrounds.

  We’re excited about this year’s event, and registration is open via aeromt.org/expo. Registrants who sign up prior to Sept. 15th receive 10 extra raffle tickets for great Expo prizes. Delicious and locally sourced meals will be provided by Silk Road catering, and block room rates are available at the Fairbridge Hotel.

     The Expo, entitled “Seeds of Sustainability in the Garden City,” will feature a keynote from Dr. Miguel Altieri!  Dr. Altieri is a professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley and the author of many books on sustainable farm development, pest management, and genetic engineering. Dr. Altieri has been a champion of the small farmer through his work with various NGOs in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the US. His keynote, “Agroecology: the Only Viable Path to Feed a Planet in Crisis,” will address the urgency of sustainable agriculture and highlight his decades of experience implementing such systems.

    On Friday, attendees can choose from 4 different tours of innovative breweries, sustainable ranches, aquaponics systems, a local tool library, and educational programs focused on the future of agriculture and energy in the Missoula area. Wildwood Brewing has plans for an integrative farm system to divert grain waste from the brewing process, Freedom Gardens brings sustainable farming to young students, and UM’s Farm to College program will guide visitors through UM’s campus garden, and sample fresh produce.  Friday evening we’ll break bread AERO style with a potluck and our annual membership meeting and famous Cake Auction!

     Saturday features talks and workshops from Montana’s innovators, solar specialists, goat farmers, home aquaponics farmers, and other DIY-heroes. The day will focus heavily on workshops designed to pass on the valuable knowledge these presenters have gained in their focus areas. Karrie Westwood of Meadowsweet Herbs will demonstrate the distillation process of herbs into hydrosol; Stephon Smith of Localvore Produce will explain home aquaponics systems; Trevor Lowell has ideas for you on climate batteries and greenhouse design, and many other local experts will be on-hand to demonstrate their experience in sustainable farming, resilient communities, and profitable production.

    Were you wondering how we’ll keep satiated during the event?  Our caterers will be sure to have local foods and products at the meals, highlighting some of the bounty that makes Missoula the garden city!  A super end to Saturday will feature the band The Beet Tops! The Beet Tops play for traditional square dances, which have roots all over the world but are based on the music and dance, so bring your dancing shoes and be prepared to cut loose and relax.

     Sunday brings the task force meetings, to give members the chance to plan out the next steps towards focused renewable energy and agriculture in our local communities.

     For more information on talks, workshops, raffles, and entertainment during the expo, stay tuned to AERO’s Facebook page and emails.

Wait….  There’s more!

    On Friday morning bring in those retired computer towers, tablets, cell-phones and tablets for recycling.  Thanks to Oreo’s Refining for this special e-waste collection opportunity! Saturday night’s silent auction will be followed by dancing and local live music. Please join us this year for three days of education, fun, and purpose-driven community leadership on October 26th-28th in Missoula!

Please note that Harvest Market Tables for vendors or organization’s wanting to offer display or sales are available for $25 when you register, here.

Are you a farmer hoping to come to the Expo, but cost is a barrier? Expo Farmer Fellow applications are open through August 15! Read more on this all-expense paid opportunity for beginning and military veteran farmers here. 

Tour Info:

Bitterroot Tour: 9:30am. Visits Missoula, Lolo, Stevensville over 5.5 hours.

Cruise the Bitterroot Valley for a view of ethical cattle ranching and land partnerships with Oxbow Cattle Co.

Oxbow raises grass-fed livestock and sells to local restaurants and markets.

We will then stop by Homestead Organics in Hamilton before finishing at Wildwood Brewery in Stevensville, where we will discuss waste diversion in the brewing process.

Missoula Centric: 9:30am. Visits Missoula over 5.5 hours.

Browse one of Missoula’s hotspots for resourceful community building and resiliency! This neighborhood includes Home ReSource, the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD), Shelter Designs, and Freecycles.

Home ReSource is a nonprofit business whose primary operation is collecting and selling reusable building materials. You’ll learn how they pursue their mission to reduce waste and build a more vibrant and sustainable local economy. 

MUD maintains a robust tool library, empowering its members to DIY! 

Shelter Designs is a local yurt manufacturing business, and they will demonstrate the modern uses of a 20’ construction. 

This tour concludes at FreeCycles – Missoula’s favorite bike and alternative transportation community center.

Westbound: 9:30am. Visits Missoula and Frenchtown over 5.5 hours.

Head out west to rustle up some fresh developments in institutional sustainability! Our first stop is Missoula’s Wastewater Facility. Hold your nose, but open your ears to the fascinating process of this critical, and environmentally-conscious public service.

Next up is the budding Freedom Gardens of Frenchtown – a young non-profit in partnership with the Frenchtown School District. Freedom Gardens will have a new greenhouse and aquaponic system on display by October, and curriculum to include the students of Frenchtown in the growing process.

Lastly, we will visit Satic, Inc., an all-American producer of solar and other energy-efficient technology that aims to make real energy change accessible to all!

University of Montana/Farm-to-College: 9:30am. Visits Missoula over 5.5 hours.

Garden City Harvest and UM’s Farm-to-College Program are essential to understanding sustainable community agriculture in Missoula. Garden City Harvest, a non-profit with farms and community gardens located all over Missoula, has just constructed a new headquarters and community center at River Road Farm.

UM’s Farm-to-College Program is one of the most influential of their sustainability initiatives, due to its public education efforts and reach to all who partake of the delicious food options on campus. We will visit UM Dining’s largest garden, then ride the zero-fare Mountain Line transit to UM campus.

After a 45-minute lunch break at the Lommasson Center, we will tour the Food Zoo gardens while discussing state-wide sourcing, waste diversion, and public outreach at the institutional level. There are many UM Dining lunch options for purchase at the Lommasson Center, including the Food Zoo dining hall, made-to-order meals, and retail products.


Keynote Info

Miguel A Altieri studied agronomy at the University of Chile, where he received a BS.  He also obtained a Masters at the National University of Colombia. He graduated with a Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Florida. In 1981 he became Professor of Agroecology at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and after 37 years of service he is now Professor Emeritus.

At Berkeley he taught agroecology and urban agriculture, but he also serves as guest professor in numerous Universities in latin America, Spain and Italy. He has conducted most of his research in California and Latin America Chile working closely with farmers to implement principles of agroecology to design productive, biodiverse and resilient farming systems.

Altieri served as a Scientific Advisor to the Latin American Consortium on Agroecology and Development (CLADES) Chile, an NGO network promoting agroecology as a strategy for small farm sustainable development in the region. He also served for 4 years as the General Coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme’s Sustainable Agriculture Networking and Extension Programme which aimed at capacity building on agroecology among NGOs and the scaling-up of successful local sustainable agricultural initiatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia. He was the chairman of the NGO committee of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research whose mission was to make sure that the research agenda of the 15 International Agricultural Research Centers benefited poor farmers. He was Director of the US-Brasil Consortium on Agroecology and Sustainable Rural Development (CASRD), an academic-research exchange program involving students and faculty of UC Berkeley, University of Nebraska, UNICAMP and Universidad Federal de Santa Catarina. He also served as  scientific advisor to the Food and Agriculture Organization Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) program, which is devoted at identifying and dynamically conserving traditional farming systems in the developing world.  He was  the President of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology ( www.socla.co). In 2012, he supported farming the Gill Tract, a UC owned part of land. In 2015 he was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa at the Universite Catholique du Lovain, Belgium. In  2017, he became Honorary Professor of the University of La Frontera in Chile. In 2018 he was inducted to the Earth Hall of Fame by the Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

He has written more than 250 scientific principles and more than 20 books among them Agroecology: the science of sustainable agriculture and Biodiversity and pest management in agroecosystems.


Check out electronic presentation materials from 2017 here, and visit AERO’s YouTube Channel for video of keynotes, panels and workshops from 2017.