Category Archives: OEFFA Press Releases

Press Conference to Celebrate 25 Years of Certified Organic Standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 17, 2015

Amalie Lipstreu, OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,
Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

What:     The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is holding a virtual press conference to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), which was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on November 28, 1990.

A moderated panel of expert speakers will provide statements about the history of the organic movement and standards and the growth of the organic sector. A question and answer session will follow to allow members of the media the opportunity to explore the issues further.

Prior to OFPA, there were no consistent standards or regulations to define organic agriculture. The first certification programs were developed by states and agencies resulting in a patchwork of standards. A grassroots movement grew to develop a national organic standard to help facilitate interstate marketing, which eventually resulted in the passage of OFPA and the creation of the National Organic Program, which established federal regulations defining uniform standards for organic farming practices and labeling and a third-party verification process to ensure compliance, uniformity, and transparency. After years of work and public involvement, final rules were written and implemented in 2002.

Today, there are more than 730 certified organic operations in Ohio and nearly 19,500 in the U.S. Consumer demand for organic food and fiber continues to grow. Organic food sales have increased by an average of 10 percent per year since 2010 and sales of organic products soared to $39.1 billion in 2014.

When:        Monday, November 30, 10 am ET

Please RSVP to Include your name and the name of the outlet you represent.

Where:    Members of the media can join this virtual press conference by phone from the convenience of their home or office. Call (712) 432-0390 and then enter access code: 805354.

Who:    Carol Goland, OEFFA Executive Director and event moderator—OEFFA is one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country. OEFFA certified to state standards prior to OFPA and worked toward the development of a national program.

Liana Hoodes, National Organic Coalition Advisor—Liana is the Co-Chair of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, former director of the National Organic Coalition, and previous Organic Policy Coordinator for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture.

Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of Sustainability, George Washington University—From 2009-2013, Dr. Merrigan was U.S. Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she created and led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems. She previously worked as senior staff to the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry where she wrote the law establishing national standards for organic food.

Mike Laughlin, certified organic specialty crop farmer—Northridge Organic Farm in Johnstown, Ohio was one of Ohio’s first certified organic farms under the federal standards.

Abby Youngblood, National Organic Coalition Executive Director—Abby previously served as the Food and Environment Program Officer at the North Star Fund, co-owned and operated a vegetable farm in New York, and advocated for a strong organic standard in 2001.


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. OEFFA operates one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country, and offers educational programming and support to organic farmers and businesses, and those looking to transition to organic. For more information, go to

New Study Highlights Opportunities for Organic Agriculture

For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2015
Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,
Columbus, OH—A government survey of U.S. organic farms shows Ohio’s growth in organic sales follow the national trend,  and while the number of organic farms in Ohio fell slightly over the past five years, Ohio farmland in organic production has increased by more than 10,000 acres since 2008.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (USDA NASS) released results from the 2014 Organic Production Survey this week, revealing a 72 percent increase in organic sales since 2008, as well as a slight decrease in the number of organic farmers and total organic acreage in the U.S.
“While the decrease in the number of organic farms nationally and in Ohio is a concern, Ohio remains in the top 10 of states in the number of organic farms in operation,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) Policy Program Coordinator.
More than 40 percent of Ohio organic farmers earn between 75 and 100 percent of their income from organic farming. “The data show that organic farming provides a full time occupation for many farmers and there is a future in organic production as demand outpaces supply for organic food in the U.S.,” said Lipstreu.
These results also show a strong commitment to the organic market as more than 40 percent of Ohio’s organic farmers plan to increase organic production. In 2015, OEFFA has also seen an increase in the number of farmers seeking certification for the first time.
While 78 percent of organic sales are to wholesale markets, the first point of sale for 80 percent of all U.S. organic products was less than 500 miles from the farm. “The growth of local and regional food systems as well as access to large wholesale markets provide huge growth opportunities for organic farmers,” said Lipstreu.
This study represents the second comprehensive survey of organic agriculture in the U.S. “The ability to have trend data and analysis of organic agriculture in Ohio and the U.S. provides information critical to the organic industry and the farming community,” said Lipstreu. “Continuing to collect and analyze this information will help current producers as well as those considering a transition to organic agriculture understand the growing demand, price premiums, and production challenges.”
OEFFA is one of the oldest and largest organic certification agencies in the country, and offers educational programming and support to organic farmers and businesses, and those looking to transition to organic. For more information, click here.
The complete report can be accessed at the USDA Census of Agriculture website.

Farm to Table Dinner Comes to Northeast Ohio: The Farmers’ Table Celebrates Ohio Farms and Flavors

For Immediate Release:
July 14, 2015

Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,
Milo Petruziello, Program Associate, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206,

Fresh, local, summer ingredients from northeast Ohio will be the inspiration for a unique farm to table culinary experience this August that celebrates Ohio farms and flavors.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is partnering with Maplestar Farm and The Driftwood Group for The Farmers’ Table on Sunday, August 30 at 4 p.m. The event will take place in western Geauga County at Maplestar Farm in Auburn Township.

“OEFFA’s mission is to help farmers and consumers reconnect and together build a sustainable food system, one meal at time,” said OEFFA Program Associate Milo Petruziello, who is organizing the event. “This dinner is a natural extension of that work, designed to showcase the amazing farmers and chefs of northeast Ohio and the fresh, seasonal ingredients of Ohio’s farms. It also gives us all a chance to celebrate our farmers, our food, and the local flavors which will be thoughtfully woven into every aspect of this event.”

Guests will take a guided tour of Maplestar Farm’s organic fields, sample carefully crafted hors d’oeuvres, and enjoy beer, wine, and tea before sitting down to an exciting four course meal prepared by Erik Martinez, Executive Chef at Cibréo Italian Kitchen, featuring wine pairings.

The event will also feature special guest Alan Guebert, award-winning syndicated agricultural journalist and OEFFA 2015 conference keynote speaker, who will offer a hearty toast to local food. Following the dinner, he’ll be signing his new book, The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey, and sharing stories. The book was recently included on Bon Appetit Magazine‘s 20 Food Books to Read This Summer, LA Magazine‘s Top 10 Summer Books for Foodies, and Food Tank’s Summer Reading List.

“We’re pleased and honored to be hosting the Farmers’ Table,” said organic farmer Jake Trethewey who owns and operates Maplestar Farm with his wife Dawn. “Holding an event where people can share a meal on the farm, from the farm, reminds me of growing up here. Quite often on the weekend, people would drop by to visit or help out and my grandmother and great grandmother would cook dinner for 12 or more folks on short notice and, of course, a lot of what was on the table was grown here. As small farms and farming communities have disappeared over the last 50 years, fewer people today have the opportunity to experience the friendship and community of sharing a meal on the farm.”

The Tretheweys have been certified organic for seven years and sell their organic produce at the farm’s roadside stand, at the Geauga Fresh Farmers’ Market, through a small community supported agriculture (CSA) program, and to restaurants.

The dinner will be rooted in certified organic vegetables from Maplestar Farm, and include an heirloom tomato salad, a modern take on a traditional fish fry featuring fresh Lake Erie perch, and a main course pork trio showcasing a pastured Berkshire/Chester White cross hog from Tea Hills Farms. Dessert will feature an Auburn sweet corn custard tart.

“We have a great relationship with Maplestar Farms. What’s important to the farm is important to us, and OEFFA and this event are very important to Jake and Dawn. This is a way we can help the farm bring OEFFA and a farm to table experience to their backyard and show all of Ohio what Geauga County and northeast Ohio have to offer,” said Chris Johnson, Corporate Chef for The Driftwood Group, one of Ohio’s premier restaurant and catering companies.

Erik Martinez is the Executive Chef of downtown Cleveland’s Cibreo Italian Kitchen, which is part of The Driftwood Group, and will be overseeing the dinner. He has been a part of Cleveland’s culinary landscape for more than 20 years.

Tickets are $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of 8. All proceeds support OEFFA’s work to grow Ohio’s sustainable and organic agriculture movement.

The Farmers’ Table is sponsored by The Driftwood Group, Maplestar Farm, Edible Cleveland, Kevin Morgan Studio, Organic Valley, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Storehouse Tea, and Tea Hills Farms.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to, call (614) 421-Ext. 206, or email


The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is a statewide, grassroots, nonprofit organization working to create and promote a sustainable and healthful food and farming system. OEFFA operates one of the country’s largest and most respected USDA-accredited organic certification agencies. For more information, go to

Organic is Non-GMO and More: New Product Logo Helps Consumers Understand the Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic Food

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2015

Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208,
Kate Blake, Certification Program Manager, (614) 262-2022 Ext. 223,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Columbus, OH—While a growing number of consumers are seeking foods made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs), they may be getting less than they think from non-GMO labeled products.

According to Michelle Ajamian, owner of Shagbark Seed & Mill in Athens, “Non-GMO labels don’t guarantee crops are grown without chemicals. In fact, unless the food is certified organic, it may be grown with even more chemicals than GMO crops.”

To help consumers find food that is both non-GMO and environmentally friendly, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has released a new label that OEFFA-certified organic farmers and processors can use on their products, in addition to the standard USDA organic seal. This label reminds consumers that choosing organic foods allows them to avoid GMOs and protect public health and the environment.

To use the organic label, foods must not only be non-GMO but they must also be grown without synthetic pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemical fertilizers.

“Shagbark Seed & Mill chose organic certification over non-GMO verification to support the farmers that go beyond non-GMO by working with nature, instead of against it. That means cover crops, crop rotations, and healthy soil. That means no GMO seed, ever. The result is a product we’re confident will protect water and soil resources and feed us the best quality food on all fronts,” stated Ajamian, whose certified organic mill sells beans, flour, pasta, chips, and other products.

Organic farmers undergo a rigorous annual third party verification process that includes an organic system plan, multiple reviews of that plan, and an inspection of the farm.

“As a result, the organic seal is the gold standard in ecological labeling and consumers can have confidence that farmers are adhering to the standards of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program,” said OEFFA Policy Program Coordinator Amalie Lipstreu. “Regardless of which version of the organic label a farmer or processor chooses, the organic seal guarantees that the product was made without GMOs. Organic is also the clear choice for shoppers who are concerned about the health and sustainability of their food.”

Annual Public Tour and Workshop Series Features Ohio’s Organic and Sustainable Farms: 2015 Guide Now Available

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2015

Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,
Eric Pawlowski, Sustainable Agriculture Educator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209,
Do you want to experience life as a shepherd? Learn how to effectively combat weeds in the garden without chemicals? See draft horses make sorghum cane into sweet syrup? Sample local meats, cheeses, and artisan jams and preserves? Or learn how to butcher your own poultry or install your own solar photovoltaic system?
The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) is sponsoring 15 tours, nine workshops, a one-day Women Grow Ohio event, and a farm to table dinner as part of the 2015 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series. The series, which features these and other topics, will allow Ohioans to see, taste, and experience life on the farm while gaining practical new skills.
“This is a great chance for everyone interested in local foods to turn over a new leaf, learn how sustainably produced food is grown, and to connect with others who share a passion for sustainable agriculture,” said Lauren Ketcham, OEFFA’s Communications Coordinator. “Whether you want to gain a greater understanding of how food gets from the field to the dinner table, or pick up production or marketing pointers for your own farm, this series offers something for everyone.”
Meet local farmers and experience sustainable farming up close and personal during these OEFFA’s farm tours:
Develop your farm and do-it-yourself skills, during these workshops which allow participants to delve deeper into specific topics:
Celebrate Ohio farms and flavors, during this unique farm to table dinner:
OEFFA has offered annual farm tours for more than 35 years, providing unique opportunities for growers, educators, and conscientious eaters to learn about sustainable agriculture and local foods on the farm from growers and producers with years of practical experience.
The 2015 farm tour and workshop series is promoted in cooperation with the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team and the Clintonville Farmers’ Market, who are sponsoring additional tours. In total, the series features 29 farms tours, one university research center tour, 10 educational workshops, a one-day Women Grow Ohio event, and a benefit dinner.
For additional information and a complete list of all farm tours, including dates, times, farm descriptions, and driving directions, click here.

Solar Electric Workshop Scheduled for June: Farmers and Others Can Learn How to Design and Install Photovoltaic Systems

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2015

Contact: Milo Petruziello, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206,

Press Release

Columbus, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and Jay and Annie Warmke of Blue Rock Station will be offering a five-day solar electric workshop designed for people who want to make their farm, home, or business energy independent, or who are looking to start their own business installing photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The workshop will be held Monday, June 15 through Friday, June 19 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at OEFFA’s offices in the Ohio Lumbermen’s Building at 41 Croswell Rd. in Columbus, OH.

“During previous courses, we’ve helped many people to enter a new career field or gain the skills necessary to design and install their own PV system,” said instructor Jay Warmke.

Jay is the author of numerous textbooks on the subject, teaches renewable energy classes at Central Ohio Technical College, and serves as vice president of Green Energy Ohio. He and his wife Annie put this knowledge into practice at Blue Rock Station, a 38 acre educational center which is home to Ohio’s first Earthship and a 6kW solar array.

During this training course, participants will learn how to design and install photovoltaic systems through lectures and hands-on labs. They will learn with a working PV system, dismantling and reinstalling it, troubleshooting, and testing its proper operation. The class will also learn how to construct a working solar generator to run pumps, freezers, lights, and more when the grid goes down.

As part of the class, registrants can nominate a site to serve as a “real world” model; one site will be selected and together the class will evaluate, size, and design a system for that site.

At the end of the week, participants will have the opportunity to sit for an internationally recognized certification Level 1 examination offered by the Electronic Technicians Association (ETA).

“Many farmers and homesteaders are looking for a way to be energy independent and reduce their reliance on polluting fossil fuels. With prices for PV systems falling and demand on the rise, systems are becoming economical for nearly every home or farm,” said OEFFA Program Assistant Milo Petruziello. “Finding qualified personnel to install and maintain systems remains a challenge, however. We hope this course will give people the tools they need to harness the power of the sun.”

The cost of the workshop is $930 for OEFFA members and $970 for non-members. The cost includes ETA fees, an installation toolkit, and a course workbook. Lunch is provided on each class day.

Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. Register at by June 10. To register by mail, send a check made out to OEFFA along with the names of all attendees, addresses, phone numbers, and emails to OEFFA Solar Workshop, 41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, OH 43214.

For more information, or to register by phone, please contact Milo Petruziello at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 206 or For more information about Blue Rock Station, call (740) 674-4300 or go to

OEFFA Joins Groups to Challenge Major USDA Change to Organic Rule

Washington, DC, April 8, 2015 – Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. A coalition of 15 organic food producers and farmer, consumer, environmental, and certification groups asked the court to require USDA to reconsider its decision on the rule change and reinstitute the agency’s customary public hearing and comment process.

When it comes to organic food production, consumers and producers expect a high level of scrutiny and are willing to pay a premium with the knowledge that a third-party certifier is evaluating compliance with organic standards. The burgeoning $35+ billion organic market relies heavily on a system of public review and input regarding decisions that affect organic production systems and the organic label. The multi-stakeholder National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)[1], appointed to a 5-year term by the Secretary of Agriculture, holds semi-annual meetings to solicit public input and to write recommendations to the Secretary on organic policy matters, including the allowance of synthetic and non-organic agricultural materials and ingredients.

The unilateral agency action taken to adopt major policy change without a public process, the plaintiffs maintain, violates one of the foundational principles and practices of OFPA —public participation in organic policy-making. In adopting the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), Congress created standards for organic certification and established the NOSB to oversee the allowance of synthetic materials based on a determination that they do not cause harm to human health and the environment and are necessary in organic food production and processing, given a lack of alternatives. Under the law, a review of these materials takes place on a five year cycle, with a procedure for relisting if consistent with OFPA criteria. Plaintiffs in this case maintain that the USDA organic rule establishes a public process that creates public trust in the USDA organic label, which has resulted in exponential growth in organic sales over the last two decades.

At issue in the lawsuit is a rule that implements the organic law’s “sunset provision,” which since its origins has been interpreted to require all listed materials to cycle off the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years unless the NOSB votes by a two-thirds majority to relist them. In making its decision, the NOSB is charged with considering public input, new science, and new information on available alternatives.

In September, 2013, in a complete reversal of accepted process, USDA announced a definitive change in the rule it had been operating under since the inception of the organic program without any public input. Now, materials can remain on the National List in perpetuity unless the NOSB takes initiative to vote it off the List.

In a joint statement, the plaintiffs, representing a broad cross-section of interests in organic, said:

We are filing this lawsuit today because we are deeply concerned that the organic decision making process is being undermined by USDA. The complaint challenges the unilateral agency action on the sunset procedure for synthetic materials review, which represents a dramatic departure from the organic community’s commitment to an open and fair decision making process, subject to public input. Legally, the agency’s decision represents a rule change and therefore must be subject to public comment. But equally important, it is a departure from the public process that we have built as a community. This process has created a unique opportunity within government for a community of stakeholders to come together, hear all points of view, and chart a course for the future of organic. It is a process that continually strengthens organic, supports its rapid growth, and builds the integrity of the USDA certified label in the marketplace.

The plaintiffs in the case, represented by counsel from Center for Food Safety, include: Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Equal Exchange, Food and Water Watch, Frey Vineyards, La Montanita Co-op, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, New Natives, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farmers Association Massachusetts, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Organic Consumers Association, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association, PCC Natural Markets, and The Cornucopia Institute.

[1] The NOSB is a 15 member Board comprised of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, retailers, certifiers and food producers who advise the Secretary of Agriculture and the National Organic Program on all matters related to organic food and agriculture policy.

Poll Shows Bi-Partisan Support for GE Labeling in Ohio

For Immediate Release: March 12, 2015

Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208, 
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

Columbus, Ohio- A poll of Ohio voters conducted this February illustrates overwhelming support for labeling food that contains genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

“There can be no doubt that Ohio voters want the right to know what they eat and feed their families,” said Amalie Lipstreu, Policy Program Coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). “The results clearly show voters—regardless of political party—support GE labeling and disapprove of GE food.

OEFFA contracted with Public Policy Polling for an independent poll of 520 registered Ohio voters on February 4-5, 2015. Key findings include:

  • 87% of Ohio voters want GE foods labeled and 61% disapprove of GE food;
  • 70% of women—the primary food purchaser in most households—disapprove of GE food and 92% of the women polled want those products labeled;
  • Support for GE labeling is a non-partisan issue: 89% of Republicans, 88% of Democrats, and 85% of Independents support GE labeling.
According to OEFFA member and clinical nurse Lynne Genter, “This poll clearly illustrates that Ohioans are knowledgeable about genetically engineered foods and want to know when foods contain GE ingredients. Ohioans have raised their concerns in a unified voice and our legislators should pass a GE labeling bill.”

Despite widespread use, consumers and non-GE farmers have expressed serious concerns about the technology, including drift of GE pollen contaminating other plants, the patenting of seed and ownership of nature, the increased use of synthetic chemicals that has led to herbicide resistant “superweeds,” and other potential environmental and human health impacts.

These concerns are often the subject of much debate, particularly given the lack of independent scientific review and oversight. “It’s clear from this survey that Ohioans want the right to choose,” said Lipstreu. “Just as consumers can choose whether to buy juice from concentrate, labeling foods produced with GE ingredients can provide them with information they are asking for in a clear and cost effective way.”

A two page issue brief and infographic summarizing the poll results can be found at

OEFFA Announces 2015 Stewardship and Service Awards

Bill Dix and Stacy Hall of Athens County and John Sowder of Franklin County Recognized

COLUMBUS, OH—The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has named the 2015 recipients for the Stewardship Award and Service Award.Bill Dix and Stacy Hall of The Brick Dairy Farm received the Stewardship Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sustainable agriculture community, and John Sowder received the Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to OEFFA.

The announcements were made on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15 as part of OEFFA’s 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil.

2015 Stewardship Award Winners—Bill Dix and Stacy Hall, Athens County

In 1992, Bill Dix and Stacy Hall started Big Rumen Farm, a 300 acre pasture-based dairy farm in Athens County with a small herd of Jersey heifers and a milking parlor. In the years that followed, they joined a regional network of dairy farmers known as “Prograsstinators,” which in conjunction with Cornell University, helps producers compare financial information to improve the management and profitability of grass-based dairy operations.

Bill and Stacy also purchased a second farm outside of Albany, called The Brick Dairy Farm, named for its red, clay soil which had been degraded after years of conventional production. By focusing on grazing rather than confinement, the couple has been able to build top soil and make the land productive.

Smart business people committed to creating change in their local community and in the dairy industry, they worked with Warren and Victoria Taylor to create Snowville Creamery in 2007, a small-scale dairy processing plant located on The Brick Dairy Farm. Fresh, grass-fed milk from Bill and Stacy’s 250 cross-bred dairy cows is minimally processed and packaged on-site. Today, Snowville’s milk, yogurt, and other products are available in more than 125 retail locations.

Early supporters of OEFFA, Bill and Stacy have been members for more than 25 years.

“The partnership between Bill and Stacy and Snowville Creamery is a great story that shows what’s possible when farmers, food processors, and the community team up to support sustainable agriculture and local producers. Bill and Stacy took a gamble, and made their vision a reality,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland.

2015 Service Award Winner—John Sowder, Franklin County

Long-time OEFFA member John Sowder of Columbus served on OEFFA’s Board of Trustees from 1992 until 2015, including multiple terms as board treasurer. John helped to grow OEFFA, develop new administrative systems, and provided dependability and financial guidance during lean years in the organization’s history.

He regularly lends his catering and event management skills to OEFFA, helping to organize farm-to-table events and OEFFA’s conference meals, which are locally sourced and made from scratch. He can be found each year in the kitchen at the OEFFA conference, where he helps to serve more than 2,000 meals to attendees. He has also helped encourage his peers within Ohio’s catering and food industry to serve more local food from Ohio producers.

“John’s commitment to OEFFA and central Ohio’s local food movement is unquestionable. Always quick to smile and laugh, John has played a leading role in OEFFA’s growth and success, though, in John’s modest way, it’s often behind the scenes and out of sight to most people” said Goland.

For a full list of past award winners, click here.

“All of our award winners—Bill, Stacy, and John—have shown an unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture over the course of decades.  These awards are a small way that we, as a community, can recognize their contributions and express our gratitude for their work, from which we all have benefited,” said Goland.

Ohio’s Largest Food and Farm Conference Features Three Pre-Conference Workshops: Regenerative Agriculture, Poultry, and Dairy Herd Health Sessions Will Provide In-Depth Knowledge to Farmers and Veterinarians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2015Contact:
Renee Hunt, Program Director—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 205,
Lauren Ketcham, Communications Coordinator—(614) 421-2022 Ext. 203,

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will host three full-day pre-conference workshops in Granville, Ohio on Friday, February 13 as part of its 36th annual conference, Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio’s Heart and Soil.

“These events feature some of the country’s top experts, and are designed to provide ecological growers a deeper education than short workshops or webinars can,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “This year, we’re also offering a session geared toward livestock veterinarians so they are better positioned to serve organic dairy clients. These practices can be used in non-organic dairy systems as well.”During this pre-conference workshop, John Kempf, founder of Advancing Eco-Agriculture, will help farmers learn regenerative farming principles which allow soil and plant health to improve, not degrade, over time. Using these techniques, growers will discover how they can produce disease- and pest-resistant crops, which are healthier and more nutritious.

An Amish grower from Middlefield, Ohio, Kempf is an internationally recognized lecturer on biological agriculture, plant immunity, mineral nutrition, and soil microbiology.
Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network will discuss effective and profitable strategies for sustainable poultry production during this pre-conference workshop. For the past 30 years, Adkins has raised more than 50 breeds and varieties of chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. A licensed poultry judge, he established the International Center for Poultry in 1992 and has taught at field days, workshops, and conferences.Designed for poultry producers of any scale, this session will explore the unique advantages of sustainable production systems while exploring the history of traditional heritage breeds and the transition to hybrid breeds and industrial production models. Growers will walk away with an understanding of the breeding, feed, forage, facilities, and care required for different size production models, and how to make their poultry businesses profitable through effective financial planning, marketing, and consumer education.

During this pre-conference workshop, veterinarians Dr. Päivi Rajala-Schultz and Dr. Luciana da Costa from the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Organic Valley staff veterinarian Dr. Guy Jodarski will help dairy producers and veterinarians serving organic dairy farmers learn how practical management and mastitis control practices can improve milk quality and farm profitability. Attendees will learn the basic requirements for good udder health, strategies for managing clinical mastitis, and more.
Thanks to funding from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program, a limited number of scholarships are available for veterinarians to attend the dairy herd health pre-conference event at no cost. To request a scholarship, or to nominate a veterinarian who would benefit from this opportunity, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 209 or
All pre-conference workshops will be held from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, February 13 at Granville High School, 248 New Burg St, Granville, Ohio. Pre-registration is required and costs $75 for OEFFA members and $90 for non-members.
The pre-conference workshops will be offered as part of the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, an event which draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the U.S.
In addition to pre-conference events, this year’s conference will feature keynote speakers Alan Guebert and Doug Gurian-Sherman; nearly 100 educational workshops; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment. Separate registration is required for all conference events.
For more information about the conference, or to register, go to