2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference

Farm & Food Leadership Conference – Historic Downtown McKinney

Farm & Food Leadership Conference Overview

If you are interested in learning more about sustainable farming and local products you need to attend the 2017 Farm & Food Leadership Conference. You will have the opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about this cause. Furthermore you will be making a difference in the farming industry for the future of local agriculture. This event will give you the opportunity to focus on policies and regulations that affect our farms and local foods. You will be given the tools and information needed to develop sustainable agriculture. This event is not only for farmers, we strongly encourage anyone working in the food industry, local business owners, and nonprofit advocates to attend. Each attendee will gain the knowledge to support and participate in the local and sustainable food movement.

Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance


What To Expect

This is the first time in 11 years that the Food & Farm Conference has been located in North Texas.

-You can expect in depth workshops to help farmers and producers with practical solutions such as how to form a successful co-op and food safety for produce growers.

-You will hear top speakers on a variety of topics including nutrition, sustainable sourcing at restaurants and retailers, food waste, water policy, farm support programs, GMO’s, food freedom, and more.

-Fred Kirschenmann, President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, and Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be speaking over multiple topics.

-You will have the opportunity to network with fellow individuals that share the same passions.

-You will have the option to attend an on-farm dinner, prepared by Harvest Seasonal Kitchen from food grown by local farmers.

Register Here


Sunday, Sept. 24: Pre-Conference Workshops | Heard Natural Science Museum

Monday – Times subject to change

9 a.m.: Welcome

9:15-10:15 a.m.: Keynote by Fred Kirschenmann

10:30-noon: Session 1:

  • Activism at the local level
  • Climate change: Looking past the “cause debate” to build resilient systems
  • Access to government resources for small farmers
  • Co-op Q&A

Noon-1:30: Lunch is on your own, with five farm-to-table options on the Square, plus numerous other eateries and shops to visit.

1:30-2:45 p.m.: Session 2

  • Effective legislative advocacy
  • Seed diversity
  • Growing sustainable grains
  • Farmers’ Market Q&A

3:15-4:30 p.m.: Session 3

  • Farm Bill, corporate mergers, and the news from DC
  • Activating your microbiota for health
  • How do we sustain Farm-to-Table?
  • Food Policy Board networking session

6 p.m.: Farm-to-Table Dinner at Pure Land Organic Farm, McKinney, Texas


Tuesday – Times subject to change

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.: Plenary session with Alan Lewis

9:35 – 10:35 a.m.: Session 1

  • GMO Basics
  • Wild foods: A guide to foraging
  • Opportunities for young farmers and military veterans

10:55 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.: Session 2

  • The latest news and developments with GMOs
  • Protecting pollinators
  • Farmer’s markets … what’s working and what’s not
  • Fermentation demonstration

1:210 – 1:40: Lunch is on your own, with five farm-to-table options on the Square, plus numerous other eateries and shops to visit.

1:40-3:10 p.m.: Session 3

  • Water and the future of our food
  • Food access: how do we get good food to more people?
  • Revenue streams for small farmers
  • Cooking demonstration

3:30-4:45 p.m. Session 4

  • Texas legislative update
  • Home gardening
  • The outlook for local brewers & distillers

4:45 p.m.: Closing


Nine-Band Brewing Company – Texas Inspired Brewery In Allen, TX

Nine-Band Brewing Company Owner Keith Ashley

Keith Ashley is the single owner of Nine-Band Brewing Company. Before starting the brewing company, Keith served in the Military, on the McKinney Fire Department, as a Flight Nurse, and as a Wylie Police Officer. This is a man who has risked his life for Collin County and now he is personally investing in this community with his business. Nine-Band currently employs four full-time employees, and six part-time employees to run the taproom and special events. Nine-Band offers tours of the brewery and the brewing process every Saturday at 12:00, 1:00, and 2:00. You don’t need to make reservations just show up a few minutes before your desired tour time with $15 in hand. The tour includes a pint glass and samples of the products through out the tour. Tourists are encouraged to stick around the taproom after the tour and sip on a few brews. The brewery’s taproom hours are:
Monday – Thursday: 5-9
Friday: 5-11
Saturday: 12-4

Keith Ashley

Nine-Band Brewing Company History

After retiring from the police force Keith decided to pursue his interest in the brewing business. Of course one of the most important aspects of a great brewing company is a catchy name. The “Nine-Band” name comes from the Nine Banded Armadillo. If you are not familiar with Texas history, the Armadillo is the state small mammal. Keith didn’t want your stereotypical “YEE-HAW” Texas name to represent his beer, but rather a true representation of who we Texans are. Furthermore, Keith went on to name every single beer that he and his team brew after something in Texas! The Brewery was established in 2013 and started brewing in late 2014. Nine-Band opened its doors February of 2015 with three beers (Nine-Band Pale Ale, Cactus Cat Kolsch, and Toad Choker Barley Wine) for its grand opening! The team gradually started expanding, adding 4 more 60 barrel fermenters, 7 more beers, and expanding all over the state of Texas.

Nine Band History

Nine-Band Brewing Company Today

Today Nine-Band Brewing Company is distributed through Ben E. Keith in the Dallas area, and Favorite Brands in the Austin, Houston, San Antonio area, and Quality Beverage in Oklahoma. After recently signing an agreement with Osage Casinos, the new endeavor will serve Nine-Band beer inside Osage Casinos! They currently can and keg their products depending on the beer/season. The Nine-Band Pale Ale, Cactus Cat Kolsch, and The Badge Honey Blonde are canned year round. The canned seasonals consist of the June Bug Summer Wheat, Ghost Cow Oktoberfest, and 28th State Stout. They do not can their Hoop Snake Hefeweizen, Toad Choker Barley Wine, Blue Lacy Brown Ale, or Hellwind IPA but rather only serve it off the tap.


Nine-Band Brewing Company Beers

The Nine-Band Brewmaster, Ian, has 15+ years of brewing experience. He is very tedious in his recipes and cleaning when it comes to the brewhouse. At the moment, he has 10 different styles that he brews throughout the year. All but one of the styles are ales. The only lager that we make at Nine Band is the Ghost Cow Oktoberfest. As stated before, all of our beers have a meaning behind the name that relates to Texas. The following is a list of the beers available and the meaning behind their name:

Nine Band Pale Ale – It’s our flagship beer that carries the Nine Banded
Armadillo on the label.

Pale Ale

Cactus Cat Kolsch – A legendary car with hair-like thorns used to prick cactus and release the juices. It would then let the juice ferment and come back to drink the juice. It would then shriek throughout the night on a drunken tangent. Haha.

Cactus Cat

Hoop Snake Hefeweizen – A legendary snake that would bite its own tail to roll away from predators or to chase its prey.

Hoop Hefeweizen

Blue Lacy Brown Ale – Blue Lacy is the state dog of Texas.

Toad Choker Barley Wine – A toad choker is a bad storm that floods the grounds enough to “choke a toad”. We get a lot of those here!

Toad Choker

June Bug Summer Wheat – You already know how bad these are in the spring/summer.

June Bug

28th State Stout – Texas was the 28th State to join the USA.

Ghost Cow Oktoberfest – The old myth/tale of driving down a dark country road and swerving off into the grass because you saw a cow in the road. You pull over, look behind you, and nothing is there. It must’ve been a GHOST COW!!!!!

Nine Band Brewing Ghost Cow

The Badge Honey Blonde – This beer was made nearly and dearly to Keith and his previous life as a service man to this country and the people of this state. Being in the fire, ems, police, and military; he wanted to give back. The Badge stands for the badge that these service men and women hold to protect and serve the citizens of the United States.

Nine Band Brewing Badge Honey Blond


Harvest/Ricks Team

An Interview With Rick Wells: Harvest – Ricks Chophouse – Water Boy Farms


The first time Rick remembers being interested in the service industry was at the age of 12 after his parents bought a restaurant. With Rick’s father being a football coach, he says he would have followed in his father’s footsteps if it weren’t for the family owned restaurant. After graduating college Rick started working with Bennigans and Sambuca opening up restaurants all across the country. He was educated on how to evaluate markets and project success for new locations.

Water Boy Garden

In 2003 Rick and his wife decided to buy some land in Lucas, build a home, and settle down. They wanted to give their children the opportunity to grow up on a farm looking up at the stars at night in awe of this beautiful place we call home. This farm is now Water Boy Farms, which supplies Harvest and Rick’s Chophouse with fruits, vegetables, and honey. In 2004 Rick was thinking about making a job change from the corporate world to something more community involved. After doing a little homework he decided McKinney was going to be the center of his universe, and he started Rick’s Chophouse.

Inside Ricks Chophouse

Rick’s Chophouse was the first restaurant he opened in McKinney, and after receiving the philanthropist of the year award in 2012 Rick was humbled and wanted to continue investing in his community. One statistic that stuck with him was “for every dollar you spend in a community $0.70 stays local.” He had a new goal in mind focused on the community and surrounding area. Rick wanted to fully stock his restaurants with locally grown products; this is where Harvest comes into the picture. After taking two years to evaluate and plan, Harvest was opened and in full swing, using local materials and recycled products to build this one of a kind restaurant.

Inside Harvest

-Current and Future Business

With around 40 farms to stock Harvest including Ricks personal Water Boy Farms, Harvest is known for its fresh and organic ingredients. The farm is run by Master Gardener and Executive Chef Andrea Shackelford, along with employees of Rick’s Chophouse and Harvest as a team effort to serve fresh local ingredients.

Water Boy Farm Vegetables

Each employee at Harvest and Rick’s Chophouse is put through an extensive hiring and training process in both restaurants! The restaurants run on “a one heart culture” meaning that each person is bigger than himself or herself and apart of a community that invests in each other. Rick has a very strong passion for this community!

Water Boy Honey

The two things Rick loves most are education and food, and with 1 school already and another on the way and 2 restaurants it is obvious that the Wells family has a bright outlook on the future of McKinney. Rick has so much in store for this community that goes far beyond his lifetime. The work Rick is doing right now will last for 100’s of years to come in this beautiful North Texas Town.

Water Boy Farms

Pipe & Palette – Historic Downtown Plano

Pipe & Palette Home Outfitters

The moment you step through the open doors at Pipe & Palette you feel a shift in time. This historical downtown location emphasizes the pure, quality, unique products on display throughout the store. As you browse the store you will find an array of beautiful art, clothing, home decor, and much more.Pipe & Palette entrance

The building dates back over 100 years originally acting as a family drug store for the Plano area. Showing its true character with the original ceilings and partial brick shown wall there is no lack of creativity in this business thanks to owner/operator, June Parker.June Parker

Although Pipe & Palette has a large portion of the store dedicated to retail, June is passionate about art and involving the Plano community in that passion! “We host high end makers and artisans. We also teach beginning art to amazing individuals who crave to create. Our goal here is to teach art and sell art we find not only amazing but useful.”

Team Bonding

June is constantly working to make Pipe & Palette a destination for all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. “Each maker and artisan we host has a story. They have a journey that lead them to us and from us they will continue to grow. We want not only our makers and artisans to feel at home but also our shoppers. Stop by anytime just to enjoy our vib and be inspired.”

Kids Birthday Party

Pipe & Palette is a destination suitable for any occasion whether that be a birthday party, team building, or just a night of entertainment. June and her staff are more than capable of catering to your needs and bringing out the inner artist in you.

The Wooden Spoon

The Wooden Spoon – Scandinavian Gifts & Food

The Wooden Spoon – Your Scandinavian Connection!

How did the Wooden Spoon get it’s name you ask? Well according to Gwen Workman Owner/Operator of the Wooden Spoon; “Scandinavian families had just enough utensils for their own use. When they went to feasts, events, celebrations, or were invited to another home, they took their own spoon with them. Usually, it was made of wood. Attached to the waist of the Lady’s dress was a “spoon bag”. This is where the Wooden Spoon was carried.” -Gwen

Gwen moved to the states in 1985 where she was troubled by the absence of any Scandinavian culture or products. She soon got a job as a leasing agent for an apartment complex, and began to see the quantity of foreigners moving to the states. That fall she attended the State Fair where she met and connected with the Norwegian Society of Texas. Realizing that she couldn’t be the only half Norwegian to move to Texas she decided to open her first shop in McKinney September of 1988. In 1989 she moved into a 280 SF shop in Plano. In 1992 Gwen decided she had outgrown the shop and decided to purchase the Forman House which is where the Wooden Spoon currently resides. Wooden Spoon Scandinavian House

The Wooden Spoon also doubles as the oldest house in Plano, TX. Over the next ten years Gwen would dedicate a majority of her time to repairing and remodeling the house. The job of maintaining the oldest house in Plano was no easy task for Gwen and is still a constant chore that must be prioritized to keep the house looking beautiful. Entrance Upstairs Scandinavian House

-Current Status

Gwen currently has three groups of customers. Native Scandinavians, people of Scandinavian decent, and people who have no Scandinavian blood but desire to learn about the culture and language. Gwen welcomes all groups of people to her place of business and encourages each individual to dive into the culture. She is currently in her 29th year of business and has made many connections throughout her career. These connections help to bring in customers and build relationships for repeat customers.

inside Scandinavian Shop

Furthermore Gwen is constantly on the quest for new products, she also enjoys holding sales, classes, and events. She likes to work with schools and clubs when they have international day or projects and has a large website with her products listed. “I host an annual Anniversary Party in September and a Stella Olson Cooky Party in December.” – Gwen

Amphitheater at Oak Point Park

Free Movies! – Oak Point Park Amphitheater

Free Movies! – Oak Point Park Amphitheater

It’s that time of year to grab a picnic blanket, the kids, and a cooler for a fun filled night in Plano. Oak Point Park Amphitheater is featuring a trio of free movies and anyone is invited.

Amphitheater movies

The gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the movie begins at dark. Lawn Chairs, Coolers, Blankets, etc. are more than welcome as well as service animals. Pets are not allowed, and children must have parental supervision.

Full Amphitheater

This venue is one you won’t want to miss. Incorporating natural elements in a modern atmosphere, you will have a night full of entertainment.

Amphitheater at night

There is free parking available surrounding the amphitheater so this is truly a completely FREE event! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. We look forward to seeing you there.



Are you ready to Go Ape? – Plano Zip Line

Are you ready to Go Ape? – Plano Zip Line

Go Ape Plano will have you swinging from the trees as you conquer suspended obstacles, Tarzan swings, and breathtaking zip lines all while soaking up the beautiful view of Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve. This is a perfect place to burn off steam from the exhausting work week, or build team skills with a group from work. Go Ape even offers customizable team building events to bring your team work skills to new heights.


Go Ape Rail TrackGo Ape Flying CarpetGo Ape Zip LineGo Ape Tarzan Swing

There is over 2436ft of obstacles at the Plano location with the highest platform standing 40ft tall and the longest Zip Line measuring in at 425 feet! If you are afraid of heights this is a great way to conquer your fear and Go Ape, but don’t show up without making reservations! Due to the exposer of the course hours very throughout the year.  Go Ape utilizes online booking for the most effective way to make sure you have a spot reserved.

Go Ape has established great relationships with past customers and continues to exceed expectations with their customer service and safety.

“Don’t worry you’ll always end the course with zip line so a nice little treat to just relax and enjoy the ride!”

“The instructor and guides were great and encouraging with advice on how best to scale some obstacles.”

“They have water at each station so no need to carry them I hope to return because it was a fun experience!”


Pricing Varies Depending Age.

10-15: $38

16+ : $58


Date Night at the Heard Museum – McKinney

Date Night at the Heard Museum – McKinney

If you don’t have something in the books, this is not an opportunity to miss! The Heard Natural Science Museum will be closed at 3 p.m. Saturday the 20th to prepare for this delightful evening full of food, drinks, music, and laughter. The evening will begin at 6 and goes until 9 so you can still make it back to your cozy bed in time for few episodes of Netflix. There will be two food trucks featured The Guavatree


Food Truck McKinney

along with a cash bar and live music ft. The Blandelles!

McKinney Rock Band

This event is 21+, however, child care and entertainment will be provided during the hours of the event. Child care is $15 per child and snacks will be provided by the same amazing staff that leads the Heard educational programs. This is going to be an all-around great night benefitting a great cause so come on out, let loose, and enjoy yourself!

Spring Time and Butterfly’s – Plano Kiwanis Club

spring butterfly exhibit

spring butterfly exhibit

Spring Time and Butterfly’s – Plano Kiwanis Club

With summer right around the corner, Collin County is full of blooming flowers, sprouting trees, and wildlife looking to soak up the sun! This is a beautiful time of year to experience Collin County and the nature that surrounds it, and what better way to enjoy the spring air than with the Greater Plano Kiwanis Club! The 16th annual Butterfly Festival is inviting you and the kids to come craft, learn, and observe until June 4th. You will have the opportunity to observe and interact with the butterfly’s in a natural setting while on an informational guided tour. This is a great way to spend a few hours this upcoming weekend and you can’t beat the price!
Adults- $6
Children- $5
Under 2- Free

Update Collin County

Welcome to the Blog – Feel Free to Look Around!

Firstly, a few words about other blogs in our niche – forget about them.

Chances are they contain too much fluff and haven’t gotten you the information that you need. Welcome to Update Collin County. On this blog, you’ll find advice on all things in your community such as eateries, entertainment, shopping, real estate, events, etc…

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