Innovative Farmers of Ohio takes an entrepreneurial focus at conference


DELAWARE, Ohio — The Innovative Farmers of Ohio will hold its annual conference Nov. 2-3 with the theme: “Resetting the American Dinner Table: How Entrepreneurial Farmers Can Create a Healthy Nation and a Sustainable Food System.”

The conference will be held at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, Delaware, Ohio.

Friday keynote

On Friday evening, Nov. 2, as part of the 2012 Sagan National Colloquium, IFO will present Ben Hewitt, author of The Town that Food Saved and Making Supper Safe.

Prior to Hewitt’s presentation, area restaurants will present signature dishes using local ingredients; local beverages and music will also be part of the evening.

Hewitt is a Vermont farmer who writes about real experiences of entrepreneurial farmers in his area who are reviving a rural town’s economy through the local food chain.

To finish the evening, IFO will make the Ben Stinner Award presentation that honors and celebrates entrepreneurial farming in Ohio.


Saturday’s conference will begin at 8 a.m. with refreshments and the trade show opening.

At 9 a.m., a panel discussion will look at “Making Markets that Work for Farmers and Shoppers.” Speakers include Laura Zimmerman, manager of the Clintonville Farmers Market, Columbus; Jim Votava, manager of the Tremont Farmers Market, Cleveland; and Beth Knorr, manager of The Countryside Conservancy markets, Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Morning breakout sessions include: Increasing Profits with Season Extension and New Products, Phil and Mindy Bartholomae, Breezy Hill Farm; 100% Grass-fed Beef, the New Health Food, Jon Berger, Green Vista Farm; and Tools to Manage the Business of Farming, Tom Yoder, Decision Commerce.

An 11 a.m. plenary session features Joel Kurtz, Wholesome Valley Farm, “How to Make Farming Wholesome and Profitable.”

Following lunch and a trade show option, the afternoon program begins with Mary K. Holmes, president, Innovative Farmers of Ohio, “Resetting the American Dinner Table, What Will It Take?”

The afternoon includes a repeat of the breakout sessions, followed by the presentation of the Ohio Wesleyan University student essay winner and open discussion and conference wrap-up.

Registration information is available online at Friday night’s keynote and fundraiser is $65 per person. The Saturday conference sessions are $35; $25 for members. The cost for both days is $95; $85 for members.


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