OEFFA conference moving to Dayton

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DAYTON — Registration is now open for the largest sustainable agriculture conference in Ohio, which is relocating to a larger venue in order to offer an expanded program and more networking opportunities for farmers, backyard gardeners, consumers, businesses, and others interested in sustainable and organic agriculture.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 38th annual conference, “Growing Today, Transforming Tomorrow,” will run Feb. 9 through Feb. 11 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton.

Online registration is now open at www.oeffa.org/conference2017.

As a special “move with us” incentive, OEFFA is offering a reduced registration rate for members who register by Dec. 15. A limited number of beginning farmer scholarships and reduced volunteer spaces are also available. Online registration will be open until Jan. 23.

Keynote speakers

The Feb. 10 keynote speaker, Jim Riddle, has been an organic farmer, inspector, educator, policy analyst, and activist for more than 30 years. From 2001 to 2006, Riddle served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board, chairing the board from 2004 to 2005.

He is founding chair of the International Organic Inspectors Association and owns Blue Fruit Farm in Minnesota. A former financial and food industry analyst, Saturday’s keynote speaker, Robyn O’Brien, has been called “food’s Erin Brockovich.”

O’Brien analyzed the impact that our food system has on the health of our families, companies, and our economy in her bestselling book, The Unhealthy Truth, and became recognized around the world after her TEDx talk in 2011, which has been viewed by millions.

Farmer workshops

Thursday pre-conference intensive workshop options are designed to help farmers grow their businesses and hone their farm skills. The conference also includes Nearly 80 workshops on topics including sustainable farming, gardening, cooking, livestock, business management, and policy, with workshop tracks dedicated to beginning farmers; urban agriculture; and other topics.

There will also be a three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies.

A special event, The Contrary Farmers’ Social, will be held Feb. 9 at 2nd Street Market featuring food, drinks, and a remembrance of Ohio’s Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon, led by David Kline, of Farming Magazine.

The Cream of the Crop Banquet will be held Feb. 10, featuring a dinner celebrating Ohio’s farming community.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2017.

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