Get on the Listserv for 2023 Date Announcements!
Our Midwest-based team is taking a break from hosting a larger national QFC at our Iowa location this year, and instead are hard at work sowing QFC's in new areas. Stay tuned to for gatherings near you, or reach out if you'd like support in hosting a QFC in your region!
About the Queer Farmer Convergence
The Queer Farmer Convergence is a grassroots gathering format for queer folks in the farming world to make connections and build real-time community through loosely organized programming, community-run workshops and round tables, movement building activities, and simply being together on the land in a joyfilled, restful, and inclusive space as queers.
The QFC was conceived as a gathering to interrupt racist, capitalist, colonialist, and heteropatriarchal legacies in U.S. agriculture, while looking to support marginalized folks who are building alternatives to those systems and at the same time, connect queer farmers who might experience isolation in a variety of intersecting identities. The gathering is for all queer folk who identify as current, lapsed, or aspiring farmers / agriculturalists of any kind!
QFCs tend to be largely outdoor, scrappy on-farm gatherings where attendees camp, share food, and spend the days attending scheduled sessions including opportunities to make art, discuss movement-relevant topics, learn practical and land-based skills, and offer and participate in workshops.
While the hosts provide structural bones that shape the days, all who attend co-create the space in some way. Our goal is to provide enough structure so that folks feel comfortably supported, and enough spaciousness to match the needs of the specific folks gathered. Attendees help shape the QFC through their presence, contributions to conversations, skill and workshop offerings, and the sheer magic that happens when queers converge.
The original, national-scale QFC has taken place for the past 5 years at Humble Hands Harvest, a worker-owned co-op farm outside Decorah Iowa. The work of the Queer Farmer Network first emerged out of a group of friends based in NE Iowa and SW Wisconsin who had the desire, capacity, and land access to create and host QFCs. Most of the volunteer-based QFN labor, including managing of this website, moderating our listserv, offering support for QFCs, and more is currently carried out by this group of Midwest based folks. We are delighted to share that last year, a second QFC was hosted by queer farmers in Virginia, and we hope that the support resources we are in the process of building will mean there will be QFC's in every region of the country and beyond in the near future.
Some things that happen at the QFC:
DANCING! STRETCHING REST
DATING MOVEMENT BUILDING
ARTS & CRAFTS GARDEN WORK!
PLAYING WITH ANIMALS!
MAKING FRIENDS :-)
Is the convergence accessible for people with mobility issues and other disabilities?
The current QFC's that have taken place have all occurred outdoor in a farm setting. The accommodation we have is tent camping, and most of the gathering is on grassy sloped ground. We're willing to get creative based on your accessibility needs, and we know that we won't be able to meet them for everybody, based on our context.
For those with neurodivergence and other related access needs, we do typically offer designated quiet, sensory recovery spaces, encourage breaks from scheduled activities and socializing, as well as intentionally welcome folks to be present as their full, ND selves.
For the Iowa gathering - How can you get there?
We are not close to public transportation. The nearest airports are in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Rochester, Minnesota, with further but larger airports in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Minneapolis, Minnesota. An Amtrak line comes through La Crosse, which is an hour's drive away. Closer to the convergence time we will be sending out a carpool google doc for people to connect about ride sharing.
Is rural Iowa a safe place for BIPOC and trans* folks?
We can vouch for our immediate rural neighborhood as a safe place to be, and to a large extent for the town of Decorah (population 8,000), a liberal arts college town which has hosted a pride festival since 2018. Iowa's demographics are 90% white, which means that a lot of Iowans don't have much experience of racial (or gender) diversity. We as organizers want to support folx in making their way safely to our farm--please contact us directly with concerns.
How much does it cost to attend?
We use a gift economy ethic for this gathering: we want people to contribute in a way that feels affordable and generous for them. To that end we have a wide sliding scale, from $25 to $150 for the weekend, which includes all meals!
Where does the money that's raised by the event go?
It typically cost around $10-$15K to run this event. Funds go toward renting tents and porta potties, catering, and to compensate our host farm for their preparation efforts. The BIPOC travel stipend fund costs at least $8000. We find the money to run the QFC in part from people's registrations, but also through sponsorships from organizations that want to support our community. Money to support travel for BIPOC attendees is raised in a grassroots way - through calendar sales, individual donations through our website, raffles of art and other things, and more! If you'd like to donate to the fund you can do so here!
Do you accommodate dietary restrictions?
Catering from gathering to gathering varies. At the Iowa national gathering, Blazing Star Eats, a queer owned local food business, will be catering the food, mainly serving vegetarian meals with options for those who are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
Are kids welcome at the gathering?
Yes! Let us know if you are bringing young humans, and what kinds of support you need in caring for them and keeping them entertained! We've brought in childcare from outside the convergence in the past, and we've also taken turns as attendees in spending time with the kids there.
Can I bring my dog?