Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference to Feature Farmers Forum: Farmers Will Share NCR-SARE Research Results

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As part of its 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground, on February 15-16, 2014 in Granville, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will host the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program’s Farmers Forum.

The forum will feature 20 farmers, educators, veterinarians, students, and others funded by NCR-SARE grants who will share information about their sustainable agriculture research, demonstration, and education projects.
 
“We hope to build on the success we've had hosting a Farmers Forum as a part of the Small Farm conference in Missouri for many years by rotating the Forum around the region,” said Beth Nelson, Director of Research and Education Programs for NCR-SARE. “We wanted to have an opportunity to bring together people who were doing SARE-funded sustainable agriculture research and education, but didn't want to add to the long list of great conferences already happening. Partnering with OEFFA to have a Farmers Forum track within their annual conference has been a perfect fit.”
 
The Farmers Forum will be offered as special conference workshop track, with additional projects featured in other workshop tracks. Showcasing 16 projects from Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, workshops will cover a range of topics, including nut processing and marketing, meat rabbitry, using fermentation in value-added products, non-antibiotic alternatives for mastitis treatment, sweet corn production, low tunnel strategies, growing and making canola oil, co-op marketing and distribution, organic soybean variety trials, and cover crops for organic production.
 
As a U.S. Department of Agriculture program dedicated to sustainable agriculture, SARE invests in research and education that helps farmers adopt profitable, ecological farming practices like cover crops, rotational grazing, and composting. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, SARE was created by Congress in the Agricultural Productivity Act and first funded in 1988. Since then, NCR-SARE has awarded more than $40 million worth of competitive grants to farmers, ranchers, researchers, educators, public and private institutions, nonprofit groups, and others exploring sustainable agriculture in 12 states.
 
“Unlike conventional growers, sustainable and organic farmers have not had the research or educational support necessary from our university system. While the playing field is certainly not even, SARE has been critical in developing practical research and educating farmers and farm professionals about sustainable practices,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “Another valuable part of SARE’s work has been its funding to farmers to conduct on-farm research. Farmers can learn so much when research is carried out in working farm conditions, as compared with research test plots,” Hunt continued.
 
In addition to the Farmers Forum, the state’s largest sustainable agriculture conference will feature keynote speakers Atina Diffley and Kathleen Merrigan; more than 100 educational workshops; two in-depth pre-conference workshops on Friday, February 14; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment. The annual event draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest.
To register for the conference, or for more information, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014.
 
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Our Sponsors
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, Northstar Café/Third and Hollywood, UNFI Foundation, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Mustard Seed Market and Café, Northridge Organic Farm, Organic Valley, 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, Around the World Gourmet, 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, Middlefield Original Cheese, Nourse Farms, Pâtisserie Lallier, Schmidt Family Farms, Stonyfield Farm, Sunsprout Farms of Central Ohio, and Wayward Seed Farm.

About OEFFA
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.

 
About NCR-SARE
The North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) program is one of four regional SARE offices, a nationwide grants and education program to advance sustainable innovation to American agriculture. Project abstracts can be found by searching the SARE project database. Learn more at www.northcentralsare.org.
 
Conference Registration
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 renee@oeffa.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 lauren@oeffa.org.

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 lauren@oeffa.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.

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