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Senator Sherrod Brown to Receive OEFFA Food and Farm Champion Award

Contact:
Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 947-1607, amalie@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 947-1643, lauren@oeffa.org

Media Advisory
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What: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will provide remarks and receive the OEFFA Food and Farm Champion Award from the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, as part of OEFFA’s 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change.

The award will recognize Senator Brown’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and his leadership in making positive investments in local food systems, community economic development, and public health.

When: Friday, February 16—3:45 p.m.

If you would like to attend to see the award presentation and remarks, please contact lauren@oeffa.org by February 9 to request a press pass. Please include your name, outlet, title, address, county, phone number, and when you’d like to attend.

Where: OEFFA’s 39th Annual Conference, Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. 5th St. Dayton, Ohio

The three-day event, running February 15-February 17, is Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, drawing more than 1,200 attendees from around the country each year. It features nearly 80 90-minute workshops, four full-day intensive Food and Farm School classes, keynote speakers Jeff Moyer and Stacy Malkan, a three-day trade show, local meals, children’s activities, and more. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018.

Who: Senator Brown will provide remarks and receive the OEFFA Food and Farm Champion Award. He serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, where he has been instrumental in strengthening the farm safety net and addressing childhood hunger, and has introduced the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act (HR 3941).

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a statewide, 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

Organic food not perfect, but better than the alternative, says Jeff Moyer

When the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association holds its annual food conference Feb. 15-17 in Dayton, there will be lots of celebration. More than 1,000 folks interested in growing and supporting sustainable food will meet in 80 skill-building workshops, and they’ll do so knowing that organic-food sales are healthy, too.

In a relatively stagnant growth market for food in general, organic-food sales continue to rise by more than 8 percent a year, according to the country’s Organic Trade Association.

With the good news comes the bad. There aren’t enough young people taking up farming, not enough research to make it easier and more profitable, and still not enough sales to make both of those things happen soon.

We talked about that last week with Jeff Moyer, who will be giving one of the keynote speeches at the OEFFA conference. Moyer, 62, spoke by phone from Kutztown in eastern Pennsylvania. He and his family started farming there organically in the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s.

Until five years ago, he served on the National Organic Standards Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a group that came into being in 1990 with the creation of the USDA Organic label. Moyer now heads Rodale Institute, a cornerstone organization in organic agriculture.

From your view, what’s the current state of the organic-food world?

When Robert Rodale was here in 1971, he was frustrated at the slow growth of organic-farming principles. He was concerned about human health, planetary health and wrote about climate change. He saw organic-crop production as a way to mitigate these problems. He saw two reasons for the slow growth. One was that, whether we like it or not, agriculture moves on the back of science, and we don’t have a lot of science on the back of organic agriculture.

He also saw a problem with certification. At that time, anybody could put something on the market and call it organic. He thought the best way was to bring in government certification, which would expand organics, allow people to trust what they purchase and have an understanding for interstate trade which would be converted into research. That part didn’t pan out well, but the labeling did.

Do people understand the label?

I wish everyone had a deep understanding of it. Most don’t have the time, although I think they have the interest. But I think they do trust it.

There were stories last year about missing links in the organic certification of some crops grown overseas. Why should we trust the label?

Because the alternative is far worse. Without the label, you don’t have anything to go by. And you get what you pay for. Yes, there are cheaters out there, but it’s still better than the alternative. Food is one product that we purchase, put it in our mouths and it becomes us. While the seal is less than perfect, it’s the best thing we have that can be verified.

Why does organic food generally cost more?

We’re paying for the quality that the farmer brings to the entire process. Organic farming is more cost-effective than conventional farming. Yet conventional farmers have subsidized crop insurance because their processes are so much more at risk to climate and weather patterns. There’s no way they can afford the insurance.

But consumers, instead of paying for those subsidies through our tax dollars, should really be paying for it at the point of purchase. When people develop [illnesses] that can be attributed to their diet and the way their food is produced, we don’t pay for that in the food but in the cost of health insurance. Not that organic farmers can’t apply for crop insurance, or can’t get into government programs, but they generally don’t need to. They charge what they need to get to a reasonable profit.

So why aren’t there more organic farmers, and how do you get more?

“That’s the $64,000 question. I saw an analysis from Ohio State University that showed you have to spend 10 times more to become a farmer than to become a surgeon, but you make 10 times less money. There are now six times as many farmers over 65 than farmers over 35. Farmers aren’t aging out of the system, and eventually, something drastic has to happen.

At Rodale, we have a dynamic training program for U.S. military veterans. Other folks are doing similar things. Organic Valley is using investor money to get people on the land to transition it over to organic status, and then the land goes to a management company. But we don’t have many other options. We need education in the banking industry to support organic production. It’s not a recipe, and they have to learn to take some risks.”

Are organics at risk in the current political climate?

“If I knew, I’d be a millionaire. We know the GOP wants fewer regulations. Airlines, banks, have all asked to get rid of regulations. But we asked them for regulation, and more of it, because it gives us guidelines to build a business on. Organic certification is completely voluntary. I hope politicians see the difference and leave it alone.”


IF YOU GO

What: A Taste for Change, the 39th annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association. Includes 80 educational workshops for farmers and consumers with special attention this year to new farmers, urban farming, a trade show and more.

When: Thursday Feb. 15-Saturday Feb. 17.

Where: Dayton Convention Center

Contact: oeffa.org/conference2018, 614-421-2022.

2018 Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment Opens

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2018

Contact: Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, amalie@oeffa.org

Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Urges Farmers to Apply Before the March 2018 Deadline

Columbus, Ohio—On January 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that farmers have until March 2, 2018 to submit an initial FY 2018 application for the nation’s largest working lands program, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). More than 72 million acres across the country—roughly 8 percent of all agricultural land—and more than 300,000 acres in Ohio are currently enrolled in whole-farm conservation contracts. The significant amount of working lands already enrolled in CSP, and the fact that in recent years CSP has had to turn away many qualified applicants, is evidence of the voluntary conservation program’s enormous popularity.

During the 2018 sign-up period, NRCS will enroll an additional 10 million acres of cropland, pastureland, rangeland, and forestland in CSP. Interested farmers and ranchers must submit their applications by March 2 in order to be considered for this year’s sign up. Current participants whose initial contracts are set to expire at the end of the year will also have the opportunity to renew their contracts for an additional five year period; USDA will announce a separate deadline for renewals in the coming weeks.

“CSP is an important conservation option for working lands. The program helps farmers invest in soil, air , and water quality, conservation, and in building wildlife habitats,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “CSP builds on existing good practices and provides the tools and resources needed for farmers to be the best stewards of the land they can be. The 2018 sign-up window is a critical opportunity for Ohio farmers to build their environmental and economic resiliency through comprehensive conservation efforts.”

Interested producers should act quickly to ensure consideration in this year’s signup. To apply, farmers can go to their local NRCS office and submit the initial application materials: a simple form that asks for basic information regarding land ownership, type of production, and contact information. Producers are then scored based on current and planned conservation activities. If applicants meet acceptable conservation levels, they will be ranked. NRCS works down through the list of eligible applicants until acreage allocated to the state for the year runs out.

According to OEFFA member Kyle Sharp of Sharp Family Farms in Fairfield County, “Participating in CSP was a no-brainer. The program basically rewards us for practices we wanted to implement anyway to improve the farm.”  He cites the flexibility of the program as important. “The more practices you implement, the more your annual payment grows.” Just looking through all of the conservation options was beneficial for Kyle. “I got some ideas on things we could do that I never would have thought of on my own.”

While applicants can apply for CSP anytime throughout the year, OEFFA urges interested producers to submit applications before the March 2 deadline to ensure that they are considered for enrollment in FY 2018.

The 2018 CSP is especially significant because it is the final enrollment opportunity under the authority provided by the 2014 Farm Bill, which is set to expire September 30, 2018.

“OEFFA members will be watching the farm bill process this year to see if Congress acknowledges the critical role that CSP and other conservation programs have played in increasing farm sustainability,” said Lipstreu. “It is as important now as it was when the farm bill was created after the Dust Bowl that we invest in our natural resources on working farms.”

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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. OEFFA is committed to farm bill that prioritizes conservation and local and regional food system development and provides a level playing for farmers. For more information, click here.

Urban Agriculture Featured at Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference: Central State University Extension Presents Nine Hour Urban Agriculture Workshop Track

For Immediate Release: January 3, 2018

Contact:
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org
Sabrina Pritchett, CSU Associate Director of Public Relations and Marketing, (937) 376-6323, spritchett@centralstate.edu

Urban agriculture offers accessible opportunities for individuals to make a living farming, gain practical educational and job training, and provide communities with healthy, local food.

Empowering urban farmers to take advantage of these opportunities and helping them succeed in urban agriculture is the focus of a six-part workshop track presented by Ohio’s newest 1890 land-grant institution, Central State University Extension (CSUE).

The workshop track is part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, February 15-17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

“Urban agriculture has the ability to transform our urban and blighted communities by becoming a practical solution to food insecurity,” said Dr. Clarence Bunch, CSUE Associate Director. “This urban agriculture workshop track helps provide the supported needed to offer practical solutions that benefit families and the local community.”
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On February 16-17, six 90 minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics, from urban soil health to high tunnel production:
  • Cover Crops for Small-Scale Vegetable Production—Oliver Freeman, Central State University
  • You CAN Take It With You: Lessons from Losing Your Land—Lisa Helm, Dayton Urban Grown, Matt Tomaszewski, Earth Source Produce
  • Inroads into Food Deserts: Mobile Farmers’ Markets and Good Food Access in a Rust Belt Town—Danny Swan, Grow Ohio Valley
  • Urban Farming Practices and Principles—Milan Karcic, Peace, Love, and Freedom Farm
  • Urban High Tunnel Tomato Production—Annabel Khouri and Eric Stoffer, Bay Branch Farms
  • Can Urban Soils be Made Healthy for Farming?—Larry Phelan, Ohio State University
Additional workshop sessions on production, marketing, business, and green living will be offered over the two days, giving attendees nearly 80 workshops to choose from. Central State University educators will also be leading other sessions on preventing zoonotic disease transmission (Lisa Craig), business basics for start-up farms (Anthony Barwick), and legal considerations for beginning farms (Ambrose Moses).
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The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will also feature:

  • Keynote speakers Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute and Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know;
  • Four full-day February 15 Food and Farm School classes on livestock grazing, restorative health, food safety, and farmland access.
  • A three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services;
  • The Contrary Farmers’ Social on February 15 and the Cream of the Crop Banquet on February 16;
  • A kids’ conference for children ages 6-12 and a playroom for young children; and
  • Much, much more!
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018. Online registration will be open through January 29.

Beginning Farmers the Focus of Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference: Workshops, Scholarships, and Farmland Access Featured

For Immediate Release: December 21, 2017

Contact:
Kelly Henderson, Begin Farming Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, kelly@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022, lauren@oeffa.org
  

Early career farmers and those considering a farming vocation will get the information they need during a dedicated begin farming workshop track and networking opportunities that are part of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, February 15-17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

“Our goal is to help people increase their knowledge and skills, find leads on farmland, and make business and professional connections,” said OEFFA Begin Farming Program Coordinator Kelly Henderson.
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On February 16-17, six 90-minute workshops, totaling nine hours of education, will cover a range of topics, from organic certification to farming with children:
  • Your Top 10 Organic Transition Questions Answered—Julia Barton, OEFFA
  • Land Access and Affordability for Beginning Farmers—Mike Durante, National Young Farmers Coalition
  • In the Trenches with Farming and Government Regulations—Jacob Coleman, Sweet Grass Dairy
  • Marketing Your Farm: Sell More of Your Product—Gretel Adams, Sunny Meadows Flower Farm
  • Health Insurance and Risk Management: Tools for Navigating Health Insurance for Farmers—Shoshonah Inwood, Ohio State University
  • Pasture-Raised Humans: A Conversation About Raising Your Children on the Farm—Lindsey Teter, Six Buckets Farm, Sherry Chen, Andelain Fields, Jeff Suchy, Darby Meadow Farm
Additional workshop sessions on production, marketing, business, and green living will be offered over the two days, giving attendees nearly 80 workshops to choose from.
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The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference will also offer other opportunities geared specifically toward beginning farmers on February 15:
  • A full-day Food and Farm School class, “Finding and Funding Your Farm.” Led by the National Young Farmers Coalition, this full-day workshop will prepare beginning farmers to approach their land access journey with confidence.
  • A free, public Farm Land of Opportunity reception is designed to connect farmers looking for land with established farmers in need of employees, retiring farmers interested in a transition plan, and landowners with land to sell or lease.

To help budding farmers access these educational opportunities, OEFFA is offering a limited number of full scholarships for early career farmers. The application deadline is January 10.

In addition, the conference will also feature:

  • Keynote speakers Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute and Stacy Malkan of U.S. Right to Know;
  • A three-day trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, products, and services;
  • The Contrary Farmers’ Social on February 15 at 2nd Street Market;
  • The Cream of the Crop Banquet on February 16;
  • A kids’ conference for children ages 6-12 and a playroom for young children; and
  • Much, much more!
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018. Online registration will be open through January 29.
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Begin farming workshops and scholarships are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program. For more information about OEFFA’s other beginning farmer work, go to www.oeffa.org/q/beginfarming.

Consumer Advocate and Investigative Journalist Stacy Malkan to Address Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2017

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
  
As evidence mounts about the health and environmental harms associated with pesticides, some corporations are responding with tobacco-style propaganda campaigns designed to undermine organic and non-genetically modified agriculture.

Who’s behind these attacks and how they are doing it will be the focus of a keynote address by author, journalist, and leading consumer advocate Stacy Malkan at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, this February in Dayton.

In her Saturday, February 17 talk, “Fake News, Fake Food: Standing Up for Organic and Our Right to Know in the Era of Big Ag,” Malkan will cut through the spin, unmask the messengers, and share strategies for rewriting the narrative about our food system.

“With Monsanto’s spin operation in full swing, it’s getting harder to find unbiased information in the media… With top reporters basing stories on Monsanto’s ‘consensus of safety’ talking points… it can be hard to know what to believe or who to trust to get the facts about genetically engineered foods that most of us are eating every day,” Malkan wrote in Civil Eats in 2014.

Malkan is co-founder and co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit public interest group whose mission is to educate and inform consumers about the often hidden practices that shape the food system and advocate for safer products and our right to know what’s in our food.

She served as media director for the 2012 ballot initiative in California to label genetically engineered foods, and is the former communications director for Health Care Without Harm. Malkan previously worked as a journalist and published an investigative newspaper.

“A core industry narrative is that the science on GMO safety is settled. Pro-industry messengers focus on possible future uses of the technology while downplaying, ignoring, or denying the risks; make inaccurate claims about the level of scientific agreement on GMOs; and attack critics who raise concerns as “anti-science,” Malkan wrote in The Ecologist in 2016. “Facts on the ground expose the PR spin, half-truths, and outright propaganda that has come to dominate a public conversation that is not so much about engineering genes, but engineering truth for the benefit of multinational corporations.”

Malkan is also author of the award-winning book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry and a co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

She has generated thousands of media stories about safer products and has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS Morning Show, NBC, ABC, Democracy Now, in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and many other outlets, and writes for the Huffington Post.

On Saturday, February 17, Malkan will also lead a 90 minute workshop, “A Future Worth Fighting For: How You Can Stand Up to Big Ag and Make a Big Difference,” where she’ll explore the powerful role that farmers and consumers can play in standing up for truth and transparency in our food system.

“We’re excited to have Stacy join us at conference to connect the dots between the messages we hear about our food system, who’s funding them, why it matters, and what we as consumers and sustainable farmers can do about it,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.

Malkan will speak as part of Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, which will run Thursday, February 15 through Saturday, February 17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

In addition to Malkan, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Jeff Moyer on February 16; nearly 80 educational workshops; four full-day Food and Farm School classes on February 15; a three-day trade show; networking events; activities for children; locally-sourced meals; a raffle; book sales and signings, and more.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018.

Organic Advocate Jeff Moyer to Address Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

For Immediate Release: December 11, 2017

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
  
The role that technology, biology, consumers, and farmers play in changing agriculture and food will be the focus of a keynote address by long-time organic farmer and advocate Jeff Moyer at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, this February in Dayton, Ohio.

In his Friday, February 16 keynote address, “Welcome to the Future of Change!,” Moyer, Executive Director of the Rodale Institute, will share his perspective on the organic movement and organic agriculture’s role in our present and future food system.

“We are in the midst of an expanding food fight, a fight for how our food will be produced and marketed. To be successful, farmers will need to rethink their practices to meet the rapidly changing landscape technology is creating,” said Moyer.

Moyer is a world renowned authority in organic agriculture with expertise in organic crop production systems, weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design.

In September 2015, Moyer was appointed as Executive Director of Rodale Institute after spending the last four decades at the Institute, helping countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic methods. The Rodale Institute, a 330 acre research farm and non-profit in eastern Pennsylvania dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach, is home to the Farming Systems Trial, America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture.
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In 2016, farmers from across the country came together to launch the Organic Farmers Association to unite organic farmers for a better future together. Rodale Institute supports this initiative as fiscal sponsor and partner with OFA’s farmer leadership.

“A lot of people say they speak for farmers,” Moyer said in a Rodale Institute press release. “But there are no national organizations that exist specifically for organic farmers, by organic farmers. A lot of organic farmers are still isolated in their communities. We’d like to unite the nearly 20,000 organic farms around the country to provide that voice, provide a network, and provide the resources that farmers need to be successful.”

He conceptualized and popularized the No Till Roller Crimper for use in organic agriculture and in 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world.

Moyer is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board; a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic; board chair of The Seed Farm; board member of the Soil Health Institute, PA Farm Link, and IFOAM North America, and a past board member of the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

On Friday, February 16, Moyer will also be a panelist in a 90 minute conference workshop, “Better On-Farm Research for Better Organic Farming,” along with Tim Kline of Meandering Creek Farm, Elizabeth Maynard of Purdue University, and Douglas Jackson-Smith of Ohio State University. He will address the components of quality on-farm research and the importance of organic research to farming practices and growing the industry economically and politically.

“We’re excited to welcome Jeff to this year’s conference,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “As a leader in the organic movement for decades, and as one of the country’s leading authorities on organic farming and research, he has a wealth of knowledge to share.”

Moyer will speak as part of Ohio’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, which will run Thursday, February 15 through Saturday, February 17 at the Dayton Convention Center.

In addition to Moyer, this year’s conference will feature keynote speaker Stacy Malkan on February 17; nearly 80 educational workshops; four full-day Food and Farm School classes on February 15; a three-day trade show; networking events; activities for children; locally-sourced meals; a raffle; book sales and signings, and more.

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018.

 

Ohio Foodies, Farmers Can Taste the Change

December 4, 2017
By Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service-OH
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Farmers, foodies and anyone hungry to know more about local, sustainable foods are invited to an annual event that draws more than 1,000 people from Ohio and beyond.

Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 39th annual conference, Feb. 15-17.

Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s communications coordinator, says it’s a great chance to learn more about a variety of topics, including gardening and urban agriculture, farm business management, food safety and homesteading.

“The goal of the conference really is to bring farmers and food advocates together to learn, network, share and break bread with the goal of inspiring, empowering and growing the local foods and organic farming community,” Ketcham states.

The conference theme is “A Taste for Change.” It will be held at the Dayton Convention Center, and information on registration is online at oeffa.org.

Ketcham says about 1,200 people are expected to attend this year, and she notes the conference has something for everyone, not just farmers working on large tracts of land.

“Folks that are interested in maybe being an effective advocate for the food and farm policy issues that they care about – we have sessions that deal with that,” she states. “We have sessions that are focused on green living, so people that want to learn how to incorporate fresh, healthy foods into their urban landscape, onto their dinner table.”

World-renowned organic expert Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute is the keynote speaker on Friday, Feb. 16. The next day, author and safe-products advocate Stacy Malkan takes the stage for her keynote speech, “Fake News, Fake Food.”

Registration Now Open for Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2017

Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
  
Registration is now open for Ohio’s premier educational and networking event for ecological farmers, backyard growers, and others committed to sustainable agriculture, local food, and green living.
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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 39th annual conference, A Taste for Change, will run Thursday, February 15 through Saturday, February 17 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio.
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“The conference is three days of learning, networking, sharing, and breaking bread with an inspiring and growing community of farmers and local food advocates,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “Each year, we draw more than 1,200 attendees, and our diverse schedule offers something for all tastes.”

Online registration is now open at www.oeffa.org/conference2018.

OEFFA’s popular conference will feature:
  
Keynote Speakers 
 
Friday keynote speaker Jeff Moyer is a world renowned authority in organic agriculture. He conceptualized and popularized the No Till Roller Crimper and wrote Organic No-Till Farming. He is the Executive Director of the Rodale Institute, which helps farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic methods. He is a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board.
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Saturday keynote speaker Stacy Malkan is an author, journalist, and leading consumer advocate for safer products. Stacy is co-founder and co-director of the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know, whose mission is to educate and inform consumers about the often hidden practices that shape the food system. She served as media director for the 2012 ballot initiative in California to label genetically engineered foods.
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Food and Farm School
Four full-day Thursday Food and Farm School class options are designed to help gardeners take control of their health and assist farmers in honing their farm skills and meeting new challenges:
Workshops, Networking, and More
This three day event offers more than 100 hours of workshops, abundant networking opportunities in the Exhibit Hall and beyond, moments to unwind and share a drink with new friends, activities to please the whole family, and more including:

For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2018. OEFFA is offering a special registration rate for members who register by December 14. A limited number of beginning farmer scholarships and reduced rate volunteer spaces are also available. Online registration will be open until January 29. On-site walk-in registration will also be available for an additional fee.

Our Sponsors

 
Ag Organic | Albert Lea Seed Co. | Certis USA | Columbus Irrigation | Dale Filbrun and Family, Morning Sun Farm |  The Fertrell Company | Food + AgriCultural Transformation at Ohio State (InFACT) | Hiland Supply Co. | Lucky Cat Bakery | Paul Hall & Associates | Ohio Earth Food | Stauf’s Coffee Roasters | SuperGro of Iowa | WQTT Ag Today Central Ohio
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Andelain Fields | Chelsea Green Publishing | Curly Tail Organic Farm | Eden Foods | Kevin Morgan Studio | Lucky Penny Farm | OEFFA Grain Growers Chapter | Plant Talk Radio | Tea Hills Farms | Trader Joe’s Easton Town Center Store
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Ag Credit, Agricultural Cooperative Association | Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition | Bexley Natural Market |  Blue Jacket Dairy| Branstool Orchards | Carfagna’s | Carriage House Farm | Fedco Seeds | Great Lakes Organic Feed Mill | Hartzler Family Dairy | IBA | Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream | Marshy Meadows Farm | Mockingbird Meadows  | Nourse Farms | Storehouse Tea | Stutzman Farms

Madison County ag retreat looks at crops and profit

The Madison Press, Michael Williamson, 11/3/17

“Grow More Vegetables, Make More Money,” was the theme of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) two-day retreat at the Procter Camp and Conference Center just outside of London Friday morning through Saturday evening. OEFFA started in 1979 by a collection of farmers dedicated to the growth and promotion of ecological and organic farm systems. The goal of the workshop was to inform farmers on practices that could enhance their management plans and advance their earning potential.

“This particular workshop is geared towards farmers who are already farming mixed vegetables, specialty crop-growers who are kind of at a certain scale where they’re looking to expand their operation and implement more efficient mechanization and systems on their operation in order to sell to larger buyers,” said Kelly Henderson, the Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator with OEFFA.

Linda Halley, an expert in organic farming from Bryn Farm in Wisconsin, led the workshop. This is the second time Halley has presented this workshop to interested farmers, the first time being in 2013.

“From talking to a lot of our farmers, they’ve implemented a lot of the practices that they’ve learned at that workshop,” Henderson said. “So it was really important for us to be able to bring that opportunity back again.”

Although the two-day workshop focused on what OEFFA calls “Early Career Farmers,” — people who have been farming for their whole career — their programs extend to both seasoned farmers and beginners.

In August 2016, OEFFA received a three-year, USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant which allows the organization to bring best practices education to farmers just starting out. The grant allows them to work toward their goal of bringing information and skills to farmers to get the most out of their operations.

Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator with OEFFA, said they’re working to get the farmers to a place where they can do wholesale distribution of their produce and not be so concerned with the marketing side of farming.

“The farmer’s wearing a number of hats. He’s a business manager, he’s a farmer, he’s handling produce but then he’s got to take the other side of the coin in marketing. And now it’s a direct market,” Pawlowski said. “We’re trying to get efficiencies on the production end so that maybe the farmer can stay on the farm and have a volume, a scale at an appropriate level where they can get into wholesale distribution where they don’t have to be the marketer as well.”

Some of the topics of the workshop included direct seeding, how farmers can meet the demands of business partners and even information on the picking and packaging of their produce for sales.

OEFFA has a number of programs in place to help farmers of varying experience. Henderson is at the head of a whole farm planning course that is not yet available for registration but will be presented next year. The program allows farmers to attend 60 hours of in-class training to assist with putting together a whole-farm business plan.

Their next large event is the 39th annual OEFFA Conference in Dayton which will be held Feb. 15-17 and will feature a number of workshops and speakers. The opening day will also have a scheduled time that will be open to the public for anyone interested in the organization and their programs.