Archive for the ‘OEFFA Press Releases’ Category

GMO OMG! Free Screenings of Film to Explore Risks of Genetically Modified Organisms and Role Consumers Can Play

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Columbus, OH—This month, Horizon Organic, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA), will be offering free screenings of the film, GMO OMG in Athens and Columbus.

“While unlabeled genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have filled our supermarket shelves, biotech companies are hoping that consumers like you and me won’t ask questions,” said MacKenzie Bailey, OEFFA’s  Policy Program Coordinator. “However, more and more consumers and farmers are raising concerns about seed and crop contamination, superweeds, and the other health and environmental risks of these under-regulated foods.”

The screenings will take place on Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Athena Cinema located at 20 S. Court St. in Athens and on Sunday, April 27 at 2 p.m. at the Gateway Film Center located at 1550 N. High St. in Columbus.

Limited space is available; RSVP to MacKenzie Bailey at policy@oeffa.org.

The terms “GMO” and “genetic engineering” (GE) refers to a set of technologies used to change the genetic make-up of cells to produce novel organisms that exhibit a desired trait, such as pesticide resistance.

Promised higher yields, labor savings, and lower weed pressure, GE seeds have been widely adopted by U.S. farmers. Today, more than 80 percent of the soybeans, corn, cotton, sugar beets, and canola grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered.

“The new reality of the world is that giant chemical companies are feeding us…and our children,” said GMO OMG film director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert.

In this documentary, Seifert sets out on a journey across the globe to uncover the truth about GMOs. Seifert explores how GMOs affect our children and the health of our planet and whether it’s possible for consumers to make informed choices in the absence of labels identifying GMO foods. Along the way, he helps to reveal our current industrial food system and answer a question that is of growing concern to consumers everywhere: What’s really on our plate?

GMO OMG sheds light on the complexity of today’s food production system,” said Perry Clutts, the owner and operator of Pleasantview Farm, a dairy farm that supplies Horizon Organic. “As an organic dairy producer, I see the benefits of farming without the use of synthetic chemicals or genetically engineered feed. It’s important that farmers, like me, are offering Ohio families an alternative. The organic sector is growing and I believe it will keep on growing as consumers learn more about where their food is coming from.”

Following the film, there will be a question and answer session with the director and Horizon Organic’s Kelly Shea.
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Go to www.gmofilm.com to learn more about the documentary or to watch the trailer.

Seifert and Sara Loveday of Horizon Organic, along with local farmers, food advocates, and business leaders, are available for interviews with the media. To schedule an interview, contact MacKenzie Bailey at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208 or policy@oeffa.org.

This film screening is sponsored by Horizon Organic and Chipotle Mexican Grill with support from Pleasantview Farm, Shagbark Seed & Mill, Snowville Creamery, Northstar Cafe, Green Edge Organic Gardens, and Rich Gardens Organic Farm.

Former U.S. Deputy Agriculture Secretary to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Food and Farming Conference: Kathleen Merrigan to Discuss Federal Agricultural Policy and Programs

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

2/4/14

Granville, OH—Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan will be the featured keynote speaker at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground, on Sunday, February 16 in Granville (Licking County).

“We are pleased to welcome Kathleen Merrigan to this year’s conference as we look back over the past 35 years,” said Renee Hunt, OEFFA’s program director and the event’s lead organizer. “As one of the nation’s foremost organic agriculture advocates, she has played a significant role in the achievements the organic food movement has realized.”
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Merrigan will speak as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest. In addition to Merrigan, this year’s conference will feature organic farmer and author Atina Diffley as keynote speaker on Saturday, February 15; 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.
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Merrigan served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013. Before joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Merrigan spent six years as a top aide to Senator Patrick Leahy, former chair of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. There, she helped write the original law that created the National Organic Program to establish organic standards and a certification process for organic farms and processors. From 1999 to 2001, she helped to implement the new organic rules as head of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency which oversees the organic program.
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As Deputy Secretary, Merrigan oversaw the day-to-day operations of the USDA, along with its $149 billion budget. She played a vital role in developing the department’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, championed a national farm-to-school program and funding for farmers to build hoop houses, increased crop insurance and conservation support for organic producers, and served as a strong advocate for the organic program, organic farmers, and local food systems.
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Merrigan holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent eight years as an assistant professor and director of the Agriculture, Food, and Environment graduate program at Tufts University in Boston. She has also been engaged in agricultural policy through positions at the Henry A. Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the Massachusetts State Senate. In November 2009, Merrigan made history by becoming the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations. In 2010, Time magazine named her as one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” She is currently a consultant and professional speaker at Merrigan Consulting.
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“It has been an honor to play a small part in history. I hope that during my tenure I was able to help open USDA’s doors a little wider, inviting new and discouraged constituencies to participate in USDA programs,” Merrigan told the National Journal.
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Her keynote address, presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill, is titled “Dysfunctional DC Matters: Ten Reasons to Stay Engaged in Federal Agricultural Policy,” and will take place on Sunday, February 16 at 2:45 p.m. Between government shutdowns, endless multi-year Farm Bill negotiations, and other political gridlock, it can be hard for consumers and farmers to believe in the federal government anymore. Merrigan will explore why federal agricultural policy still matters, identify targets for policy reform, and explain why producers and conscientious eaters can achieve real social change by getting involved.
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On Sunday, February 16 at 10:35 a.m., Merrigan will also lead a one hour workshop, “Show Me the Money: Farming Federal Programs.” Using the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass, Merrigan will explore what federal programs are available to farms, nonprofits, and businesses seeking assistance to build local and regional food systems.
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The OEFFA conference will be held at Granville Middle and High schools, 248 New Burg St. in Granville. For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014.
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Our Sponsors
Chipotle Mexican Grill, 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, Around the World Gourmet, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Casa Nueva, Earth Tools, Eban’s Bakehouse, 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 Contemporary Cuisine, Whole Hog BBQ, Bad Dog Acres, Bexley Natural Market, Bluebird Farm, CaJohns Fiery Foods, Carriage House Farm, Charlie’s Apples at Windy Hill Farm, Fedco Seeds, Flying J Farm, Hartzler Dairy Farm, The Hills Market, Lucky’s Market, Marshy Meadows Farm, Middlefield Original Cheese, Nourse Farms, Pâtisserie Lallier, Schmidt Family Farms, Stonyfield Farm, Stutzman Farms, 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.

Conference Registration Update
Saturday meals are now SOLD OUT; a very limited number of Sunday meals are still available. Online registration for the conference and pre-conference will remain open until Tuesday, February 11 or until sold out. Past conferences have sold out in advance, so early registration is encouraged to avoid disappointment.

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.

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.

Bipartisan Deal Reached on Farm Bill: Includes Important Investments in Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, But Much-Needed Reforms Missing

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2014

Contact:

MacKenzie Bailey, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator—(203) 545-3909, mackenzie@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
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Washington, D.C.—The Farm Bill agreement announced yesterday by the conference committee renews funding for a number of important programs that were left stranded by last year’s Farm Bill extension, but fails to make much-needed reforms in the structure of farm policy.

The bill renews critical investments in important programs for beginning farmers, local food systems, organic agriculture, and healthy food access. The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program (NOCCSP), which has been without funding for more than a year, will receive $11.5 million in mandatory annual funding. The program, which is utilized by more than 40 percent of Ohio organic growers, reimburses farmers for up to 75 percent of their certification fees.

In addition to NOCCSP, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative will receive $20 million annually in mandatory funding, and the Organic Data Initiative and the National Organic Program will each receive $5 million in one-time mandatory funding. The bill also links conservation requirements to the receipt of crop insurance premium subsidies and rejects a series of extreme proposals to eliminate market and contract protections for livestock and poultry farmers.

“Although this bill is a mixed bag, innovative programs that invest in beginning farmers, organic agriculture, local food systems, and rural communities—which have been stranded without funding for more than a year—can now be revived,” said MacKenzie Bailey, Policy Program Coordinator with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “We applaud Senator Sherrod Brown, who served on the conference committee, for his vital role in advocating for sustainable agriculture programs.”

Unfortunately, the bill jettisons long-overdue payment limitation reforms included in both the House and Senate bills passed last year that target farm subsidy payments to working farmers. It also drops a provision passed twice by the Senate that would have modestly reduced insurance subsidies to millionaires. Additionally, the bill cuts billions from conservation programs that help farmers address production challenges and protect natural resources and the environment. The final bill also reduces benefits for a portion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants.

“At a time of fiscal restraint, growing income inequality, and economic distress in rural communities, it is appalling for the new Farm Bill to continue uncapped, unlimited commodity and crop insurance subsidies for mega-farms,” said Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). NSAC is an alliance of grassroots sustainable agriculture organizations, including OEFFA, that advocates for federal policy reform.

“This Farm Bill falls short of achieving the changes needed to support a sustainable food and farm system, and the secretive process used to achieve this agreement which reverses reforms backed in previous Senate and House versions of the bill is very disappointing,” Bailey added. “However, given that our farming communities have been without a full Farm Bill for so long and the importance of the organic and conservation programs at stake, we support the bill, but will continue to work for reform.”

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Farm Bill as soon as tomorrow, and the Senate vote is anticipated shortly after, before going to the President for his signature.

Ohio’s Largest Food and Farming Conference to Feature Intensive Pre-Conference Workshop on Soil Health

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 16, 2014
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Contact:
Renee Hunt, OEFFA Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,
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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will host a full day pre-conference workshop, Eco-Farming, Biodiversity, and Soil Health: A Systems Approach to Enhancing Productivity, on Friday, February 14 as part of its 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground.
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“This in-depth event is designed to help ecological growers improve their productivity and profitability by learning how to enhance their use of natural soil amendments, cover crops, plasticulture and other methods to maximize their land’s agroecosystem services,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
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The pre-conference workshop will be offered as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest.
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In addition to the soil health intensive pre-conference workshop, the 2014 conference on Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16 will feature keynote speakers Atina Diffley and Kathleen Merrigan; more than 100 educational workshops; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment. A second pre-conference workshop on wholesale marketing will also be offered on Friday, February 14.
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Rafiq Islam of Ohio State University’s South Centers, along with OSU extension educators Randall Reeder, Jim Hoorman, Brad Bergefurd, Harit Kaur Bal, Alan Sundermeier, and Vinayak Shedekar, will lead the workshop, which will focus on the eco-farming systems approach, plasticulture production of organic fruits and vegetables, organic agroecosystems and biocontrol services, soil amendment and nutrient recycling, soil organic matter calculators, and soil health tests.
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The pre-conference workshop will be held from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Cherry Valley Lodge, 2299 Cherry Valley Rd. SE, Newark, Ohio. Pre-registration is required and costs $60 for OEFFA members and $70 for non-members. For more information, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014.
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On Saturday and Sunday, the OEFFA conference will be held at Granville Middle and High schools, 248 New Burg St., Granville, Ohio. Separate registration is required for all conference events. For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014.
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Our Sponsors
Chipotle Mexican Grill, 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, Around the World Gourmet, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Casa Nueva, Earth Tools, Eban’s Bakehouse, 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 Contemporary Cuisine, Whole Hog BBQ, Bad Dog Acres, Bexley Natural Market, Bluebird Farm, Carriage House Farm, Charlie’s Apples at Windy Hill Farm, Fedco Seeds, Flying J Farm, Hartzler Dairy Farm, The Hills Market, Lucky’s 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
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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.

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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.
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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.

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

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
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Granville, OH—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.
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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.
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“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.”
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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.
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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.
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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 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.
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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.
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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.

Organic Farmer, Activist, and Author to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Food and Farming Conference

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 7, 2014

Contact:
Renee Hunt, OEFFA Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203, lauren@oeffa.org
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Granville, OH– Organic farmer, consultant, activist, and author Atina Diffley will be the featured keynote speaker at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground, on Saturday, February 15 in Granville (Licking County). She will also lead a pre-conference about wholesale marketing for produce growers on Friday, February 14.
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“We are excited to bring Atina to the conference,” said Renee Hunt, OEFFA’s program director and the event’s lead organizer. “Her years of organic produce farming and marketing, and her experience dealing with sprawl and land ownership issues will inspire and deliver a wealth of information.”
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Diffley will speak as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest. In addition to Diffley, this year’s conference will feature former Deputy Secretary of the USDA Kathleen Merrigan as keynote speaker on Sunday, February 16; 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.
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Diffley 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.
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She is a co-editor of Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safety, Post-Harvest Handling, Packing, and Selling Produce, a publication of Familyfarmed.org, and is their lead trainer on food safety, post-harvest handling, and wholesale marketing issues.
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Diffley’s autobiographical memoir, Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works, which received the Minnesota Book Award in 2013, has been described as a “master class in farming, a lesson in entrepreneurship, a love story, and a legal thriller.” The book explores the Diffleys’ unbreakable commitment to their land, the impacts of suburban sprawl and pipeline development in their community, and the struggles and triumphs that farmers face every day.
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Diffley was named Successful Farmer of the Year in 2008 by EcoFarm and Organic Farmer of the Year in 2004 by the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). She currently serves on the board for the Organic Seed Alliance and the Minnesota Institute of Sustainable Agriculture.
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Her keynote address, “Farmers as Role Models and Leaders: Protecting Nature and Creating Social Change,” will take place on Saturday, February 15 at 4 p.m. She will explore how farmers are the crucial link between the land and the people who take their nourishment from the land. Diffley will argue that as stewards of the soil and water, farmers can be powerful advocates for the environment. She will discuss how farmers can help role model, educate, and lead in order to protect nature and create social change.
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On Saturday, February 15 at 9:30 a.m., Diffley will lead a one hour workshop, “Engaging in Policy to Protect Organic Farms.” She will describe how she led a successful legal and citizen campaign against Koch Industries to reroute a crude oil pipeline to protect organic farmland and create an Organic Mitigation Plan.
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Of that experience, Diffley told The Mix, “Courage came from the responsibility to protect the land and nature. After all it has given us, it was the least we could do. Nature should have legal rights of its own, but it doesn’t—to protect nature in our courts of law we’re required to show a loss to humans, so humans have to stand up and speak for it.” She continued, “We accomplish so much more when we stand together. It is crucial that citizens engage in policy and politics, talk to legislators, speak up, and reclaim their power… Eat, educate and engage in policy—as if the Earth matters—because it does.”
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The OEFFA conference will be held at Granville Middle and High schools, 248 New Burg St. in Granville.  For more information about the conference, or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014.
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On Friday, Diffley will lead a pre-conference workshop, “Wholesale Marketing for Fresh Produce Growers,” designed to help farmers take their business to the next level by selling to retailers, wholesalers, and institutions.  The workshop will cover the advantages and disadvantages of wholesale marketing; the characteristics and needs of different wholesale markets; good practices for satisfying buyers; grading, pricing, and packaging products; brand name marketing; establishing contracts; shipping options; sequential crop planning skills; food safety, and more.
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The pre-conference workshop will be held from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Granville Inn, 314 E. Broadway in Granville, Ohio. Pre-registration is required and costs $60 for members and $70 for non-members.
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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 Columbus, 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2013
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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
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Press Release
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Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground. Pre-conference events will be held on Friday, February 14 and the conference will take place Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16, 2014 at the Granville Middle and High schools in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).
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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.
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Keynote Speakers
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.
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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.
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Workshops
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.
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“Whether you’re a full-time farmer, backyard gardener, or local food enthusiast, this conference has workshops to offer you,” said Hunt.
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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.
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Pre-Conference Events
The conference will also feature two full-day pre-conference events on Friday, February 14.
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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.
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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.
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Additional Features
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.
“Over the past couple years, we’ve worked to expand the conference to provide more space, more workshops, and more meals so we can accommodate more people. Given the growing popularity of the conference and local food issues, we still encourage people to register early to avoid disappointment,” concluded Hunt.For more information about the conference, or to register, click here.
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Our Sponsors
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Congress Fails Farmers Again

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Today’s Farm Bill Expiration Leaves Critical Conservation, Organic, and Beginning Farmer Programs Stranded without Funding

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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Contact: MacKenzie Bailey, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, mackenzie@oeffa.org
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Columbus, OH—While farmers wait to see if the U.S. House of Representatives will enter conference committee with the Senate to work out the details of a new Farm Bill, the current Farm Bill extension expired today.

Congress’ failure to pass a new Farm Bill will have a disproportionately negative impact on beginning, sustainable, and organic farmers. Unlike crop insurance subsidies which have continued funding, many organic, local food, and conservation programs are not permanently authorized and funded.

“As consumer demand for organics continues to grow, Congress needs to help organic farmers succeed,” said MacKenzie Bailey, Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “Although organic programs are a very small part of the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be invested through this Farm Bill, they are critical programs that address unique needs. The failure to fund organic programs is counter-intuitive when consumers are demanding more sustainably grown food.”

Farmers have been without a full Farm Bill since October 1, 2012. In January 2013, Congress passed a partial one year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill that excluded funding for nearly three dozen Farm Bill programs. The Senate has passed a Farm Bill twice, but disagreements about funding and eligibility for nutrition programs in the House have created roadblocks to passing a full Farm Bill reauthorization.

Dozens of programs that create jobs, invest in the next generation of farmers, and protect the environment are without funding. Some key programs without funding until Congress passes a full Farm Bill include:

  • The Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) provides funding to community supported agriculture programs, farmers’ markets, and farm markets to develop marketing information and business plans; support innovative market ideas, and educate consumers. For example, the Toledo Farmers’ Market used FMPP funding to recruit new vendors, help establish and promote an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system for SNAP recipients, and build relationships with community partners to leverage additional funding and support. As a result, SNAP sales increased from $500 in 2008 to $50,000 in 2011, the market added 1,000 new EBT customers, overall market sales increased by 20 percent, and the number of vendors at the market grew by 38 percent.
  • The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program invests in the next generation of farmers and food entrepreneurs by helping them access land, credit, and crop insurance; launch and expand new farms and businesses, and receive training, mentoring, and education.
  • The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program reimburses participating organic producers and handlers for 75 percent (up to $750) of their certification fees. This program helps make organic certification affordable, enabling farmers and processors to meet the growing demand for organic food. In 2011, 251 Ohioans utilized cost-share funds, or about 40 percent of the state’s organic operations.
  • The Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative is a competitive grants program dedicated to the growing needs of the organic community.
  • The Organic Production Market and Data Initiative is a multi-agency organic data collection initiative that collects information vital to maintaining stable markets and tracking production trends.
  • Value-Added Producer Grants provide funding for feasibility studies and business plans, marketing value-added products, and farm-based renewable energy projects.

“Enough is enough. Farmers have been without a Farm Bill for a year. Congress needs to act now to pass a full and fair five year Farm Bill that will invest in the future, create economic opportunities for family farmers, protect precious natural resources, reform farm subsidies, and ultimately align farm policy with the good health of our families, friends, and neighbors,” said Bailey.

For more information about the Farm Bill or OEFFA’s work, go to http://policy.oeffa.org/farmbill.

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) was founded in 1979 and is a grassroots coalition of farmers, backyard gardeners, consumers, retailers, educators, researchers, and others who share a desire to build healthy food systems. For more than 30 years, OEFFA has used education, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to promote local and organic food systems, helping farmers and consumers reconnect and together build a sustainable food system, one meal at a time. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

OH So Fresh Locally Grown Produce Initiative Launched

Thursday, July 25th, 2013
 
For Immediate Release: July 25, 2013
 
Contact:
Milo Petruziello, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 206, milo@oeffa.org
Tonya Woodruff, Ohio Grocers Foundation—(614) 448-1631, foundation@ohiogrocers.org

Columbus, Ohio—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Ohio Grocers Foundation, Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association, and Ohio Department of Agriculture have partnered to launch a new initiative called OH So Fresh. The retail marketing campaign is designed to raise consumer awareness about Ohio grown specialty crops by giving Ohioans expanded opportunities to sample and purchase locally grown, farm fresh produce from their local grocers.

Nearly 100 independently owned grocery retailers are participating in the OH So Fresh initiative in 2013. A full list of participating grocers is available here.

Ohio has more than 2,000 specialty crop growers providing everything from asparagus to zucchini.

“Although Ohio grown produce is abundant at farmers’ markets, farm stands, and through community supported agriculture programs, the majority of Ohioans turn to their local grocery stores for the bulk of their grocery purchases. That’s why it’s critical that growers and grocers are working together to offer locally grown food at these stores,” said Milo Petruziello, OEFFA Program Associate. “Shoppers increasingly want to support local farmers, and this marketing campaign will help to let them know what Ohio grown foods are available at their local grocery store.”

The campaign provides promotional materials to grocers, so customers will easily identify locally grown produce by the OH So Fresh label. Sampling and demonstration events will also take place at some stores; event announcements will be made on the campaign’s Facebook page throughout the summer and fall. 

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go towww.oeffa.org. 

Appeals Court Binds Monsanto to Promise Not to Sue Organic Farmers

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Court of Appeals Issues Decision in Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v Monsanto

Washington, D.C.— Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought against Monsanto by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) and 82 other plaintiffs after the biotech giant made binding assurances that it will not sue organic farmers if the company’s genetically engineered (GE) seeds contaminate their fields.

The case, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al. v. Monsanto, was originally in March 2011 by organic farmers, seed growers, and agricultural organizations representing more than 300,000 farmers. The lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs to seek protection for farmers whose fields can become contaminated by Monsanto’s GE seed and then be sued by the company for patent infringement.

In the ruling issued yesterday the Court of Appeals judges affirmed the Southern District of New York’s previous decision. The lower Court ruled that the plaintiffs did not present a sufficient controversy to warrant adjudication, given that throughout the lawsuit Monsanto “made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Dan Ravicher of the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), views the decision as a partial victory. “The decision means that the farmers did have the right to bring the suit to protect themselves, but now that Monsanto has bound itself to not suing the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeals believes the suit should not move forward,” said Ravicher. “The decision also allows farmers who are contaminated to sue Monsanto and Monsanto’s customers for the harm caused by that contamination without fear of a retaliation patent infringement claim.”

The plaintiffs’ complaint detailed Monsanto’s history of aggressive patent enforcement and detailed the societal harms caused by Monsanto’s GE seed, including the proliferation of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” and the increased use of pesticides which are applied to “Roundup-ready” crops. The plaintiffs also argued the legality of Monsanto’s patents.

“OEFFA members and farmers across the United States undertook this action because of legitimate concerns about Monsanto’s overreaching protection of their patents. We’re encouraged by the Court’s determination that Monsanto does not have the right to sue farmers for trace contamination,” said Carol Goland, OEFFA’s Executive Director. “However, we are disappointed that the courts have not taken action to protect our food supply from the continued proliferation of Monsanto’s GE technology.”

Despite the Court of Appeals’ decision, plaintiffs still have the option to ask the Supreme Court to review the decision and reinstate the case. Plaintiffs have 90 days to request a Supreme Court review.

For more information about the lawsuit, click here. For more information about OEFFA’s work on GE food, click here.

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The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 by farmers, gardeners, and conscientious eaters who committed to work together to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org.

Contact: Carol Goland, OEFFA, Executive Director, (740) 398-9099, cgoland@oeffa.org; Daniel Ravicher, PUBPAT, (212) 461-1902, ravicher@pubpat.org