As the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the U.S will come together to enjoy keynote sessions with Kathleen Merrigan and Atina Diffley; more than 100 educational workshops; two in-depth pre-conference events; a trade show; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and more.
“As our 35th annual conference, we'll be affirming our roots by continuing our focus on the local and organic food movement, while breaking new ground to help farmers scale up to meet growing demand,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
Atina Diffley will provide Saturday’s keynote address, Farmers as Role Models and Leaders: Protecting Nature and Creating Social Change. Diffley is an organic farmer, consultant, activist, and author. She and her husband, Martin, operated Gardens of Eagan in Eagan, Minnesota, one of the midwest’s first certified organic produce farms, and now provide consulting through their business, Organic Farming Works. She is a co-editor of Wholesale Success: A Farmer's Guide to Food Safety, Post-Harvest Handling, Packing, and Selling Produce, and the author of an autobiographical memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works.
Kathleen Merrigan will provide Sunday’s keynote address, Dysfunctional DC Matters: Ten Reasons to Stay Engaged in Federal Agricultural Policy. Merrigan served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013. She helped to write the original law that created the National Organic Program to establish organic standards and then implemented the new rules as head of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service from 1999 to 2001. As Deputy Secretary, Merrigan played a vital role in developing the department’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, and championed farm-to-school program, season extension, and organic programs.
The conference will offer more than 100 beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops across eighteen tracks, covering a range of topics including sustainable farming, gardening, homesteading, cooking, livestock and poultry production, business management, food and farm policy, research, and more. “Whether you’re a full-time farmer, backyard gardener, or local food enthusiast, this conference has workshops to offer you," said Hunt.
As part of the 2014 conference, OEFFA will host the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program’s Farmers Forum. This annual event gives farmers, ranchers, and others funded by NCR-SARE grants the chance to share information about their research projects. The Farmers Forum will be offered as special conference workshop track, with additional projects featured in other workshop tracks. The Forum will showcase projects from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio and will cover a range of topics, including nut processing and marketing, low tunnel strategies, and cover crops for organic production.
The conference will also feature two full-day pre-conference events on Friday, February 14.
The first pre-conference workshop, Eco-Farming, Biodiversity, and Soil Health: A Systems Approach to Enhancing Productivity, will help growers improve their productivity and farm economics by using natural soil amendments, cover crops, and other methods, combined with regular testing for soil health and organic matter. Extension educators Rafiq Islam, Randall Reeder, Jim Hoorman, Brad Bergefurd, Harit Kaur Bal, Alan Sundermeier, and Vinayak Shedekar will discuss the eco-farming systems approach, fruit and vegetable plasticulture production, soil amendment and nutrient recycling, and more. This workshop will be held at Cherry Valley Lodge in Newark, Ohio.
A second pre-conference workshop, Wholesale Marketing for Fresh Produce Growers, will help growers take advantage of marketing opportunities with retailers, wholesalers, and institutions. Marketing and organic farming expert Atina Diffley will help participants learn about the advantages and disadvantages of wholesale marketing; good practices for satisfying buyers; grading, pricing, and packaging products; establishing contracts; food safety, and more. This workshop will be held at the Granville Inn in Granville, Ohio.
The conference will also feature:
- Saturday evening entertainment, including a performance by The Back Porch Swing Band and a film screening and discussion of Network Theory with filmmaker Brad Masi;
- An Exhibit Hall featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, farm and garden products, tools, information, and services;
- A kid’s conference with engaging activities for children ages 6-12;
- A playroom for children under 6;
- A teen conference where teenagers ages 12-15 can create their own personal weekend schedule;
- A raffle, book table, and much more.
For more information about the conference, or to register, click here.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Northstar Café/Third and Hollywood, Organic Valley, UNFI Foundation, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Mustard Seed Market and Café, Northridge Organic Farm, Snowville Creamery, Whole Foods Market, Albert Lea Seed Company, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Casa Nueva, Earth Tools, Eban Bakery, Edible Cleveland, Green BEAN Delivery, Green Field Farms, Lucky Cat Bakery, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources, Raisin Rack Natural Food Market, Stauf’s Coffee Roasters, Swainway Urban Farm, Andelain Fields, Curly Tail Organic Farm, C-TEC of Licking County, DNO Produce, Eden Foods, Glass Rooster Cannery, King Family Farm, Law Office of David G. Cox, Metro Cuisine, Two Caterers, Whole Hog BBQ, Bad Dog Acres, Bexley Natural Market, Bird’s Haven Farms, Bluebird Farm, Carriage House Farm, Charlie’s Apples at Windy Hill Farm, Fedco Seeds, Flying J Farm, Hartzler Dairy Farm, The Hills Market, Marshy Meadows Farm, Nourse Farms, Pâtisserie Lallier, Schmidt Family Farms, Stonyfield Farm, Sunsprout Farms of Central Ohio, and Wayward Seed Farm.
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a state-wide, grassroots, nonprofit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters working together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.
To register or for more information about the conference, including maps, directions, featured presenters and workshops, pre-conference descriptions, workshop listings, hotel options, and a schedule, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014. For additional questions, contact Renee Hunt at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Past conferences have sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.
Artwork and Images
For the conference art image, speaker photographs, or pictures from past conferences, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or email@example.com.
Press Passes and Media Inquiries
OEFFA offers a limited number of press passes to members of the media who would like to attend conference and pre-conference events. We can also help members of the press schedule interviews with keynote speakers and workshop presenters. To arrange an interview or request a press pass, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event Calendar and Public Service Announcement
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's (OEFFA) 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground, is February 15-16, 2014 in Granville, Ohio. This is Ohio’s largest sustainable agriculture conference and will feature keynote speakers Kathleen Merrigan and Atina Diffley; more than 100 workshops on sustainable farming, gardening, and homesteading; local and organic meals; a kids’ conference, teen conference, and childcare; a trade show; Saturday evening entertainment, and pre-conference events on produce wholesale marketing and soil health and biodiversity on Friday, February 14. To register, or for more information, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014 or call (614) 421-2022.