10 Tips for Making the Most of the Wise Traditions Conference

by Ann Marie Michaels on November 3, 2012

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Join your fellow butter lovers and raw milk drinkers this year at the 13th annual Weston A. Price Foundation Wise Traditions Conference. In this post, I’ll share with you 10 tips for making the most of the conference.

This will be my 5th year to attend the annual Weston A. Price Foundation Wise Traditions Conference. This year it’s in Santa Clara, CA — in my backyard (OK, not exactly — it’s 8 hours away — but still, we don’t have to fly).

By the way, I’ll be leading a panel discussion on Sunday afternoon. Here’s my panel info:

Ann Marie Michaels, Founder, Village Green Network
Growing Your Business or Brand with Social Media
1:30-2:50 pm Sunday Nov 11

Are you a holistic practitioner? Sustainable farmer or food producer? Do you want to spread the real food message online? Learn how to grow your small business, build your brand and make money. Ann Marie Michaels, Founder of Village Green Network leads a panel of successful social media marketers. Learn how Chris Kresser LAc, is building his integrative medicine practice using Facebook and podcasting, how Cultures for Health’s Julie Feickert gets to the top of Google and is using YouTube to attract customers, and how Jennifer McGruther was able to quit her job, and is now making six figures blogging at Nourished Kitchen.

We’ll also be at our Reversing Food Allergies booth #309 if you want to come find us!

10 Tips for Making the Most of the Wise Traditions Conference

1. Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Fundraiser

Get there early so you can go to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Fundraiser on Thursday night.

I went to their fundraiser last year in Dallas and it was a lot of fun. The food was great, the conversation was excellent, and there was dancing. This year the menu looks amazing and there will be apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Pictured above: Jason Monahan and Kelly of Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

2. Dress for Comfort

You know how conferences are. You walk a lot, so you need comfy shoes that don’t hurt your feet. And it gets cold because of the air conditioning in the hotel, so wear layers.

The food is incredible at this conference, and you’ll be eating a lot, so you may want to wear your comfy pants that expand. ;-)

Just look at all this butter and cream:

Seriously though, it’s not fancy — you can wear jeans.

3. Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund Breakfast

Grab breakfast and support the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. They usually have oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and because it’s California, they will have raw milk.

I don’t always eat breakfast at the conference because I usually stay up late talking to people in the bar and don’t get up that early (breakfast is over at 9 am). Some of the best networking goes on in the bar at night — come meet us for a glass of wine!

Pictured above: Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen, me, Kimberly Hartke of Hartke is Online and Alex Lewin of Feed Me Like You Mean It and author of Real Food Fermentation.

But if you are a breakfast person, this is the ticket — just get there early! (Maybe one day they’ll consider extending it until 9:30 for night owls like me.)

Oh, and on Sunday morning there’s a big fabulous brunch with sausage and bacon and French toast. You don’t want to miss it!

4. Bring Your Credit Card

The discount prices are awesome at the conference. I always buy a year’s worth of cod liver oil when I’m there because I save so much with the conference specials. There will also be lots of great t-shirts, bumper stickers, you name it. And most vendors will have everything shipped back to you so you don’t have to lug it home.

5. Bring an Empty Cooler

If you are close enough to drive to the conference, bring a cooler or two. You don’t need to bring any food because there will be plenty. This is to lug food home.

There are always floor discounts (especially the last day) and there’s so much good food to be had cheap. Also, on the last day, just after the closing ceremony, they give away all the extra food that didn’t get eaten at very low prices — everything from coconut flour to loaves of bread to grass-fed cream. All stuff that can be taken home and put into the freezer.

6. Don’t Stress About Getting to Every Lecture

I get the Fleetwood recordings every year so I don’t have to worry about trying to get to all the lectures I want to go to. This frees me up to be able to hang out, visit with people (and get lots of hugs), explore the booths, and of course do plenty of taste testing (research, of course).

If you’re a blogger or if you’re going to the conference for business, this is your time to network. How many other chances will you get in one weekend to rub shoulders with so many people who are doing so much to change the food supply? Just get the recordings and you’re insured that you won’t miss a thing.

Pictured above: Debbie Young of Grassfed Momma, Matt Stone of 180 Degree Health, and Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade.

7. Bring the Family

Families are welcome. You’ll see lots of nursing mamas all around. And if you bring your husband, he can watch the baby while you attend a lecture. (Babies and kids are not allowed in the talks.)

Don’t bring your spouse unless s/he is really into this kind of thing. And if you’re there for business, you may want to just go alone or with a friend or colleague. It’s a very busy weekend and you won’t have a lot of time to pay attention to a needy partner who doesn’t share the passion like you do. If s/he does, by all means, bring ‘em along!

8. Enroll Your Kids in the Children’s Program

If you’re bringing your kids and they are over 3 and out of diapers, put them in the children’s program. 5-year-old Kate will be attending the children’s program this year. They get to make sauerkraut, do crafts, and attend lectures and learn about beekeeping and the benefits of raw milk.

They even get to have a movie night and a dance party. And every year, they do a performance at the end. It’s very cute and lots of fun.

9. Try the Liver

Put on your big girl panties and try the liver. It will be on the menu and you can find liverwurst and other offal at some of the booths. I know a lot of folks don’t like liver and organ meats, but trust me, it’s really good. And it’s good for you.

10. Don’t Be Shy

Reach out and say hello to people and get to know them. Sit next to people you don’t know and strike up a conversation. You’ll hear so many amazing stories from people who have overcome everything from cancer to autism. You’ll also get to chat with farmers and leading nutrition experts. Ask questions, make friends, and you’ll get a lot of hugs.

My favorite thing about this conference is how inspired I feel about our food supply and the passionate people on the cutting edge who are making changes. It energizes me for the whole year.

And please do come and say hello to me!

Are You a Village Green Network Blogger?

If you’re a member of Village Green Network, we’ll be having a networking dinner for bloggers on Friday night. See the thread on our private online forum for details.

Not a member of Village Green but want to be? Click here to sign up.

Can’t Make the Conference?

Follow Village Green Network on social media for conference updates, pictures and news:

Twitter (Use hashtag #wapfcon)
Instagram
Facebook

Thanks to Christina Byard, Co-Leader of the Holistic Moms Network Tri-City Area, CA Chapter, who gave me the idea for this post.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Meghan @ Whole Natural Life November 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Great post! This will be my first year at Wise Traditions so it’s good to know a little bit about what to expect. I was also wondering what to wear, so thanks for sharing that jeans are okay. :)

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Totally OK! Lots of moms and farmers. I am only bringing jeans!

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Marie November 3, 2012 at 12:06 PM

This will be my first year at the conference too! Hope to meet you there. I love your blog and I am looking forward to meeting lots of like-minded real foodies! Thanks for the tip about the recordings. :)

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Beth November 3, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Can’t wait! It’s like meeting up with your big extended tribe!!

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Totally!

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Christina B. November 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Awesome post! Thank you, thank you. I think that I need to get more volunteers to cover my booth, after all. I thought that the vendor area would be a ghost town during sessions but it sounds like that is not the case? That pic of butter and cream has me salivating. i cannot wait for all of the tasty treats. Yoga pants or a stretchy skirt will be most definitely called for. My hubby is graciously watching all three kiddos and taking Friday off from work so that I can indulge in a weekend of personal hedonism. Mwah! Love that man. I will definitely be attending your panel discussion. I’ll share this post with all of my networks to get us jazzed for next weekend.

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 3:50 PM

@Christina B

That is fantastic — lucky you to have such a wonderful husband!

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Jamil November 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Hi, can you tell me some more about the bar? Where is that going to be located? Are meeting times there past the daily conference hours?

Coming for business and pleasure to my first business conference. Can you expand upon some of your suggestions for businesspeople?

With respect to Monday November 12, will most people be gone by then? Victoria Bloch told me there will be lots of people in the halls Friday to Sunday, if I recall correctly, i.e., those not at one of the presentations.

Do you happen to know where and if they have posted menu of foods for each day?

Great blog packed with lots of great info for a health nerd such as myself – keep it up!

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM

@Jamil

It’s different every year. We will go to the hotel bar — I imagine it will be the Hyatt if that is where the conference is.

Monday there is a farm tour and some other events. They used to have the chapter leader meeting on Monday but this year it’s on Thursday. There will still be people there but I think a lot of people do leave Sunday night or Monday morning.

They do normally post a menu but they did not post it this year for some reason.

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Lisa @ Real Food Kosher November 3, 2012 at 8:13 PM

This post is getting me excited!! It will be my second time going…
See you there!!

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Yay! Can’t wait to see you, Lisa!

Friday night we’re having a VGN blogger dinner — you should join us! Email me or text me and I’ll send you details.

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Jeanmarie Todd November 3, 2012 at 9:19 PM

I’m so excited to be going to Wise Traditions for my very first time! I will see you there!! I’m driving down from Mendocino. Thanks for the tip about bringing coolers, I will definitely do that.

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Jeanmarie Todd November 3, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Oh, and the photo of butter and cream… I guess that means I don’t have to bring my own stash of Kerrygold! I do drink it in my bulletproof coffee for breakfast, though. Will there be butter at breakfast?

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 10:36 PM

@Jeanmarie

Hooray! I’m so excited to meet you!!!!

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 10:36 PM

And OH YES there is definitely butter at breakfast. BUTTER EVERYWHERE!

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L.Z. November 3, 2012 at 10:42 PM

Hallo Ann Marie,

Thanks for helping me get ready for my first WAPF conference (after being a member for a long time). My entire family is coming from Vancouver, BC and looking forward to it. I just read the details on a children program and I am sure that my 5 and 8 year old will have fun there as much as we will have fun listening to lectures, browsing all the boots and meeting many like minded WAPF friends. It will be a great time for all! Looking forward to meet you!

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cheeseslave November 3, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Looking forward to meeting you, too!

Please come up to me and say hello!

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Stephanie November 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Aw man. I was lucky enough to go in 2008 and haven’t made it back since. Reading this post reminded me how awesome it was – from the zesty, passionate people to the zesty, fatty food. Next year maybe? Have lots of fun.

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Soli November 4, 2012 at 1:10 PM

One of these years I am going to have the time and money to make it, I just know it.

Also, are the butter was framed shirts still available?

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Beth November 4, 2012 at 5:03 PM

One more tip for the conference:
bring some extra ziplock bags and maybe some bubble wrap and tape or rubber bands for wrapping goodies to bring home in your suitcase. I’m sure TSA just loves this group!

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JMR November 5, 2012 at 7:39 AM

I’ve wanted to go to the conference for a few years, since I first heard about it. I’d hoped to go this year, but a move across the country a couple weeks ago seemed to make it impossible. I read this post yesterday and decided to see if I could fit it in. I just registered and booked a hotel! I’m driving from L.A., and a little worried since I won’t know anybody there and I’m kind of shy. But I’m really excited about it. Thanks for posting this and inspiring me to go. And thanks for the “what to wear” tips.

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Aaron Zober November 6, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I see you all have laptops while meeting at the bar at night. Do you spend the time updating your blogs while conversing over glasses of wine? Count me in. I’ll be glad to join these late night parties.

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Leda November 8, 2012 at 2:04 PM

HI Annemarie!
do you know if your panel presentation is going to be recorded for inclusion on the post-show dvds? I really want to see your presentation but can only get away for the one day (Sunday) am struggling with the cost of the attendance for the single day of sessions. If you know that your presentation will be included on the dvd, then I might forgo buying the daily admission to sessions but attend the trade show (which I’ve been told is open for free to the public) and then buy the dvds to get the info. Essentially, I’m trying to spread my pennies as far as I can.
thanks much!

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