Sustainable food and farm conference now accepting online registration

GRANVILLE, Ohio — Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 34th annual conference, Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change. The conference will take place Feb. 16-17 in Granville, Ohio

Licking County

The conference will be held at the Granville Middle and High schools, 248 New Burg St., Granville.

This year’s conference will feature keynote speakers George Siemon and Nicolette Hahn Niman; more than 90 educational workshops; two featured pre-conference events Feb. 15; a trade show; a kids’ conference and child care area; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.

Keynote speakers

Saturday evening’s keynote address features George Siemon, one of the nation’s foremost organic agriculture advocates. As Organic Valley’s CEO, Siemon, is best known for his leadership in organizing farmers and building market support for organic agriculture.

His keynote address is titled, “Organic: Changing a Broken Food System.” He will also be presenting a Saturday morning workshop, “The Cooperative Model,” where he will examine the how a cooperative model works and the opportunities they offer for farmers.

Sunday’s keynote address, “Eating as We Farm and Farming As We Eat,” will be provided by Nicolette Hahn Niman. Hahn Niman is an attorney, rancher, and author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms.

She is an accomplished author and speaker who has been featured in Time Magazine, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. She is a regular blogger for The Atlantic, and has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, Cowboys & Indians and CHOW.

Topics

The conference will also feature more than 90 educational workshops and cooking demonstrations with topics including: livestock grazing and management, tree and vegetable grafting, cover crops, school gardens, weed and pest management, food preservation, urban agriculture, community gardens, agriculture policy, fruit and vegetable production, organic lawn care, food labeling, herbal medicine, wildlife exclusion and building soil health.

In addition, the conference will offer a four-part grazing workshop track. Jeff McCutchen of Ohio State University Extension and Bob Hendershot, retired from the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, will educate producers in the art and science of grazing management and improve their ability to successfully manage their farm’s natural resources.

Special guests

The events will also offer the following featured conference and pre-conference guests:

Troy Bishopp — Known as “The Grass Whisperer,” Bishopp has been a promoter and practitioner of grazing management for more than 26 years. He raises grass-grazed dairy and grass-finished beef cattle on his family’s fifth generation New York farm and is a grassland conservation professional and free-lance agricultural writer.

Chris Blanchard — As the owner and operator of Rock Spring Farm in Iowa since 1999, Blanchard grows 15 acres of vegetables and herbs for a 200 member community supported agriculture program, food stores and a farmers market.

Guy Jodarski — A practicing veterinarian in Wisconsin for more than 25 years, Jodarski serves as a staff veterinarian for Organic Valley’s CROPP Cooperative. He treats organic and sustainable livestock with an emphasis in dairy cattle herd health, and also works with ruminant livestock producers raising beef cattle, sheep and goats.

Mark Shepard — Shepard is the owner and operator of Forest Agriculture Enterprises, the Restoration Agriculture Institute, Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery, and New Forest Farm, a 106 acre perennial agriculture forest in Wisconsin. Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark is a certified Permaculture designer and agroforestry teacher and has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of forest derived agricultural products.

Pre-conference events

The conference will also feature two full-day pre-conference events Feb. 15: Post-Harvest Handling, Food Safety and GAP: Making It Work on a Real Farm Farmer and food safety expert Chris Blanchard of Rock Spring Farm will teach participants how to establish or improve food safety practices.

The conference will also feature a kid’s conference offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom for children under 6; book signings by Nicolette Hahn Niman, Mark Shepard and The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon; and ‘an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of information, products, services and resources that relate to sustainable agriculture.

To register or for more information about the conference, including maps, directions, workshop descriptions, speakers, and a schedule, visit www.oeffa.org/2013 or call 614-421-2022.

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