Archive for January, 2011

Comments to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board

Saturday, January 29th, 2011
Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board
8995 E. Main St.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068

January 28, 2011

Dear Director Zehringer and members of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit comments on behalf of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) for your consideration at the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 1. Our comments pertain to the general considerations, swine, and poultry sections of the standards which the board will consider at this meeting.

General Considerations

While food safety and Salmonella reduction are vitally important, we would recommend the removal of the new language dealing with “Quality Assurance,” which reads “If food is produced for the human food chain, the responsible party must consider quality assurance” (901:12-3-03)(Management) with quality assurance defined as “steps taken to ensure safe, wholesome, and high quality products” (901:12-3-01)(Definitions). Although this language is relatively innocuous since it simply requires the responsible party to “consider” quality assurance, we believe this vague reference to quality assurance is out of place in a document designed to regulate humane animal care and that federal, state, and local food safety laws already exist, with more being developed, to regulate on-farm quality assurance.

Swine Standards

In section 901:12-8-02 (Management) (G) and (H), there is no mention of outdoor housing systems for post-weaning, breeding, gestating sows, or gilt housing. As a result, for example, if one reads section (G), “Post weaning housing system must meet the following conditions,” the two conditions are “In mechanically ventilated facilities…” and “Indoor systems that have no mechanical heating…,” leaving a producer with an outdoor system out of compliance with the standards, since they fall into neither category. Is this simply an omission, or is this saying that outdoor, pastured housing for these production stages is not permitted? In order to clarify, we would recommend changing (G) to read: “Post weaning indoor housing systems must meet the following conditions” and changing (H) to read: “Indoor breeding, gestating sow, and gilt housing must meet the following conditions.”

Layer, Broiler, and Turkey Standards

In sections 901:12-9-02, 901:12-10-02, and 901:12-11-02 (Feed and Water), language appears which allows water to be restricted based on “specific management practices, according to the farm’s operating procedures.” Does this imply that there must be documented, written protocols in place? A farmer may regularly restrict access to water at night, for example, but not have formal operating procedures. We would recommend removing the words, “according to the farm’s operating procedures.”

In sections 901:12-9-03, 901:12-10-02, and 901:12-11-02 (General Housing and Housing), we have concerns about the language that reads, “Must provide a clean and safe environment” (this language appears as, “clean, safe, and comfortable environment” in other species). All three terms are highly subjective and not defined within the document. What is clean or comfortable to one person, may not be to someone else. To give one example, if a fox or hawk predates a hen in an outdoor housing system, is that housing considered unsafe? Despite electrified poultry netting and shelter, birds are lost to predation from time to time, but these housing methods should not be considered “unsafe.” We believe that the issues of cleanliness, safety, and comfort are addressed more specifically elsewhere in the standards, that this sentence is therefore redundant, and that removing this language does not weaken the document.

In these same sections, we are also concerned about the language that reads, “Environmental moisture must be managed, whether birds are housed indoors or out of doors, to promote flock health and welfare.” Humidity and rain are natural phenomenon and cannot be controlled in outdoor systems. If the intent is to ensure that poultry are kept dry, we would recommend the language be changed to: “Housing and bedding moisture must be managed to promote flock health and welfare.”

Next, in sections 901:12-9-03, 901:12-10-03, and 901:12-11-03 (Management), we have concerns about the language that reads, “Environmental management must be designed to control parasite infestation, rodents, and non-beneficial insects.” We would recommend this language be changed to, “Environmental management must seek to minimize parasite infestation, rodents, and non-beneficial insects, as it applies to the flock’s housing system.” Parasite, rodent, and insect management are important, but the way these issues are controlled vary greatly by housing system. Some would argue that the best way to fully control these three issues is in a system without access to the outdoors. By adding the words, “as it applies to the flock’s housing system,” it is clear that all housing systems are acceptable and that within each system, steps should be taken to minimize these issues. Otherwise, one could argue that outdoor systems to not control exposure to insects, rodents, and parasites. Essentially, we want to avoid comparing one housing system to another.

Finally, although OEFFA’s primary goal throughout this process has been to represent the interests of small-scale, diversified, and organic producers and ensure that animal care standards protect and encourage all forms of animal agriculture in Ohio, we also represent consumers who are growing increasingly concerned about controversial confinement practices in animal agriculture.

In light of this, we have concerns about the house/barn averaging language which appears in section 901:12-9-03 (Conventional Battery Cage Systems), which reads, “For systems installed prior to the implementation date of these standards, house/barn averaging must result in a minimum average of 67 square inches per layer five years after the implementation date of these standards.”

The problem as we see it is that averages, of course, are mere statistical abstractions.  This means that an existing facility could expand its battery cage system after the implementation date and give 10,000 birds 89.33 square inches while doing nothing to address the space provided to another 10,000 birds at the same facility who may be occupying existing battery cages which provide them 44.67 square inches of space.  The house/barn would average 67 square inches per layer, but yet 10,000 birds would not be afforded the space requirements specified in the standards. Sixty seven square inches, itself, is only equivalent to two-thirds the size of a standard sheet of notebook paper.

We would also like to repeat our concern related to allowing existing farms continued expansion using current conventional caged housing systems. The rationale for this allowance is unclear, and this would result in a competitive disadvantage for new facilities, while paving the way for expansion of those “grandfathered” facilities. If “enriched cage systems” represent Ohio’s humane care of livestock, then giving permission for an unlimited expansion of those current systems which fall below this standard is not appropriate.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide more information, answer any questions, or if we can provide assistance in addressing these concerns.

Sincerely,

Renee Hunt, Program Director
41 Croswell Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 421-2022, renee@oeffa.org

WOUB Newswatch: Christina Wieg on Meat Goat Production

Friday, January 28th, 2011

OEFFA member Christina Wieg of Sandy Rock Acres was featured Thursday 1/27 on WOUB’s Newswatch. Christina and Rick Perkins will be presenting a workshop at OEFFA’s annual conference (February 19-20), titled “Our Journey into Meat Goat Production: Been There, Done That, and What We Learned Along the Way.” To view the interview, go to http://woub.org/tv/index.php?section=5&page=89 and forward to 13:10.

Food safety bill promises major change

Friday, January 28th, 2011
by Chris Kick
Farm & Dairy
Originally appeared at http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/food-safety-bill-promises-major-change/17886.html
WOOSTER, Ohio — A major food safety bill that will increase and combine regulatory powers of the Department of Health and Human Services,U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration appears to be on its way to becoming law.

The Food Safety Modernization Act, or S.B. 510, has cleared the house and was opened for senate discussion on Nov. 17, with a vote of 74-25.

The bill, which includes extensive changes to how food is handled and processed in the United States, had not reached a final vote by presstime.

Key points

The bill is more than 60 pages. Here are a few of the major points:

— Allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services increased authority to inspect food records, including parties who manufacture, process, pack, distribute, receive, hold or import foods.

— Authorizes the secretary to suspend registration of a food facility if the facility manufactured, processed, packed, or held food by a facility that has a reasonable probability of causing serious health consequences or death.

— Requires owners and operators of food facilities to evaluate hazards that could effect food, implement and monitor preventive controls and keep records.

— Directs the secretary to review and evaluate health data to determine the most significant foodborne contaminants and issue contaminant-specific and science-based guidance documents.

— Directs the secretary to assess and collect fees related to food facility reinspection, food recalls, the voluntary qualified importer program and importer reinspection.

Good timing

The bill has received strong support, coming on the heals of nationwide food safety concerns, including contaminated eggs, which are believed to have sickened thousands of Americans this year alone.

An Ohio State University study in March put the total cost of foodborne illnesses in the United States at $152 billion. The researcher, Robert Scharff, factored in the cost of medical expenses, and unemployment related to illness.

“Foodborne illness is a serious public-health problem in the United States,” he said.

More importantly, Scharff’s report, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows more than 5,000 deaths a year from food-related illnesses.

Supporters and opponents

The food safety act has won the support of United Fresh Produce Association and many other marketing agencies. But despite the bill’s good intentions, its critics say they fear small farmers and family-run businesses will be at a disadvantage.

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association — a major organic certifier in the Buckeye state, is among a host of organizations who support what is being called the Tester Amendment — an amendment named after Senator Jon Tester, D-Mont., which, according to information on OEFFA’s website, would “exempt small farm and small farm food processing facilities, as well as mid-sized farmers who primarily direct market their products to consumers, stores, or restaurants.”

The Tester Amendment is backed by OEFFA and many other sustainable agriculture interests, including National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Both organizations have pledged to oppose the bill if the Tester Amendment is not included.

On the flipside, large marketing organizations like United Fresh Produce have pledged their own opposition if small farmers are granted an exclusion.

Real battle

United Fresh is calling the exclusion of small farms an “ideological” concern based on speculation, rather than sound science.

“The consequences of inadequate food safety precautions have no boundaries as to size of operation, geography, nor whether the product is sold at a farm stand or grocery store,” United Fresh stated in a release. “The consumer has a right to know that all food that they purchase has been produced, transported and offered for sale under the same food safety requirements.”

But growers who market on a small scale, including the thousands of Amish growers who produce a large portion of produce in Ohio and Pennsylvania, want to know their own markets will be preserved.

Ohio plan

OEFFA has joined hands with the Ohio Produce Growers Marketing Association to help form a set of standards specific for Ohio — a three tier system that would classify producers by size of operation, but subject all to similar quality inspections and standards.

The Ohio plan — called Ohio Fresh Produce Marketing Agreement — would seek to empower producers at all levels. Moreover, it would be seen as an effective alternative to food safety plans like California’s Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, which OEFFA and OPGMA both say had “devastating effects” on small farmers in California, because it instituted “overly-restrictive, one-size-fits-all regulations.”

OEFFA’s Executive Director Carol Goland said she feels the bill, with the Tester Amendment included, is “moving in the right direction” toward an integrated national food safety system.

Preserving local foods

She views the amendment as providing alternatives for small growers, not exemptions. Small growers still would be required to follow state and national food safety laws, but with a different set of expectations than a nationwide or multi-state grower.

“Given the interest in the locally sourced food and given how much economical activity is happening around local foods in Ohio, I think this bill, in the absence of Tester’s language, would essentially quash all of that important innovation that’s happening,” she said.

The bill does include some provisions for small operations and scale-specific considerations, but leaves many of its terms undefined, and to be determined by “reasonable” assessments of the secretary.

For more on the bill, visit the U.S. Senate’s website, www.senate.gov, and search legislative records for S.B. 510.

Off Her Cork: OEFFA Winter Warmer Review

Friday, January 28th, 2011

OEFFA Winter Warmer Fundraiser

Andrea, Off Her Cork
1/25/11
Columbus, Ohio
This article originally appeared at Off Her Cork at http://offhercork.com/2011/01/oeffa-winter-warmer-fundraiser/.

Last Saturday night Scott and I had the wonderful chance to attend our first OEFFA event! As you know, I’m a big supporter of the Eat Local movement.  About becoming more involved in being aware of where exactly your food comes from, who’s providing, and how they are getting it to you.  I’m still extremely new and am constantly trying to learn more about Ohio and what all we have available to us.

It turns out that we have a lot! Being a Midwest state and having a varying climate along with a decent landscape means that not only is Ohio able to support multiple kinds of livestock, it can support agriculture as well.  This means that we have access to some of the very best meat and produce in the country.

Not to mention, wine, fruits, and maple syrup.

Ohio has it all and I’m determined to learn as much as I can and pass along that information to you.  This way we can all make better informed choices about what we eat and where we get it.

Because I want to learn, I decided that attending an OEFFA event would be a great step in finding out information.

OEFFA stands for, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. From the website, this blurb describes them perfectly:

The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) was formed in 1979 and is a membership-based, grassroots organization, dedicated to promoting and supporting sustainable, ecological, and healthful food systems.

The best way to learn more about the local food scene is to talk to those that provide it, right?

Saturday Night’s Event, called Winter Warmer, provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.

The event was held at Wild Goose Creative, which is a lovely space that can be rented out and used for events such as this, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Their website has a list of events that you can check out!  If you have never been to an event at Wild Goose, I suggest you attend one that strikes your fancy.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Scott wrote out our nametags while I walked around snapping some pictures.

Along with mingling and making new contacts, this event also featured a silent auction filled with lots of fun local services and a small buffet of appetizer items.  This wasn’t just any old buffet though, all the food featured were from local resources.  Everything from the cheese to mushrooms.

Being served up was:

  • Ricotta on toast with honey.  The Ricotta was made from Snowville Creamery Milk.
  • Beef Cheeks in Ancho Chili Sauce.
  • Oxtail alla Pancetta
  • Black bean and Chipotle Hummus on Potato Foccacia Rounds
  • Lamb Meatballs

My favorite?

Goat empanadas!

That’s right, goat! What is really interesting is that just the day before I realized I had never tried goat before and was wondering what that would taste like. I thought it might be like lamb which I do not like.  Lamb is a very strong meat and it’s not something I can handle.  I tried the goat with an open mind and was very surprised by it’s taste, texture, and appearance.  It’s a darker meat and it honestly looks like roast beef.  It tastes like beef as well.  It’s a very mild flavor with a soft texture.  Had I not known this was goat, I would have sworn it was some sort of beef or possibly bison.

We sipped on wine samples and also mead samples from a local producer, Brothers Drake Mead.

We chatted with Pete from Flying J Farms and also with some lovely ladies who I now realize I did not get their names.  Please say hello ladies!

Scott and I had a great time learning more about OEFFA, speaking with local farmers, and trying some new to us dishes all made with Ohio grown ingredients.

Please check out OEFFA’s website to learn more about the association along with how to become a member.  Be sure to check out their upcoming events as well and maybe we’ll see you at the next one!

Organic Grain Farmers to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Leading Experts in Organic Production, Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, to Speak Saturday, February 19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:January 19, 2011

Contact: Renee Hunt, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205, renee@oeffa.org

Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens

Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens

Press Release

Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens made the transition from conventional farming to being one of the leading experts in organic production. They will share their knowledge as keynote speakers at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 32nd annual conference, Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities, February 19-20, 2011 in Granville, Ohio.

“We’re excited to able to bring Klaas and Mary-Howell to this year’s conference. They are a perfect illustration of this year’s theme—Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities. The Martens’ are a great example of how two people can make a huge impact, as they reach out to farmers across the country in an effort to build local and organic food systems,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.

Farming organically since 1993, Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens raise about 1400 acres of corn, soybeans, small grains, and other crops as well as heifers, pigs, and chickens. The Martens’ venture into organic farming led them to start an organic grain business in 1996. Lakeview Organic Grain has expanded to supply more than 300 organic farmers in central New York and is the state’s only dedicated organic feed mill and organic seed operation.

“We truly believe that we were like many conventional farmers, using the chemical fertilizers and pesticides simply because we saw no other alternatives, but hating what it might be doing to us, our family, our land, and our environment,” wrote Mary-Howell in a New Farm Magazine article. “We farmed conventionally because we had been told so often that it was the only way to survive in agriculture today.”

The Martens are the Northeast Region winners of the 2008 Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture. They helped found New York Certified Organic, and the Northeast Organic Network, an innovative consortium of farmers, researchers, extension educators, and grassroots nonprofits working together to improve organic farmers’ access to research and technical support.

The Martens’ keynote address, titled “Living Upstream: Decision-Making on an Organic Farm” will take place Saturday, February 19 at 4 p.m. They will share their philosophy on soil health management, crop rotation, weed control, and marketing.

The Martens will also be presenting two workshops earlier that day. The first, “Weed Management in Organic Grain Crops,” will take place from 9:30-10:25 a.m. Klaas and Mary-Howell will describe how they incorporate management strategies such as soil health, variety selection, nutrient management, crop rotations, and mechanical cultivation in organic weed management, and how their approach has evolved over time.

Their second workshop, “From Amber Waves to Market: Successfully Selling Your Organic Grain,” will take place from 1:45-2:40 p.m. The Martens will discuss how successful marketing of organic grains relies on attention to detail throughout the entire crop production process, from growing, harvesting, storing, and handling grains, to being attentive to both new and existing customers.

Workshops

The conference will also feature more than 70 other educational workshops and cooking demonstrations with topics including: season extension, growing brambles, grazing, dairy farming, pastured livestock and poultry, maple syruping, hiring and managing farm employees, cover crops, renewable energy, farm insurance, agriculture policy and activism, weed control, growing mushrooms, growing and marketing grains, school gardens, farm recordkeeping, growing garlic, meat goats, homemade dyes, farm to school, eating seasonally, green building, pest management, business branding, pricing for profitability, organic apple growing, beekeeping, ecological parenting, flower production, internet marketing, soil fertility, and food co-ops.

The conference workshops will also feature a grazing track. Designed for producers and resource managers, this grazing workshop track follows the long established Ohio Grazing School Program, and will be presented by Jeff McCutcheon, OSU Extension; Bob Hendershot, USDA NRCS; and Paul Dutter, OEFFA Organic Certification Program. The workshops will include topics such as planning and getting started; evaluating resources; environmental considerations; plant growth physiology; plant selection; soil fertility; the organic pasture rule; meeting nutritional requirements; designing and laying out paddocks; fencing; and livestock pasture watering systems. A certificate will be given to those that attend the entire track, which will be honored by USDA-NRCS for points in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Additional Conference Features

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, this year’s event will also feature keynote speaker Joan Dye Gussow; a kid’s conference offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom for children under 6; a book signing by Joan Dye Gussow and The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon; an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of information, products, services, and resources that relate to sustainable agriculture; a non-denominational Sunday service; and Saturday evening entertainment provided by the Back Porch Swing Band.

Pre-Conference

This year’s event will also feature a one-day pre-conference titled The ABCs of CSAs. This workshop will provide guidance for farmers interested in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) including information on the challenges and benefits of CSAs, planning, record-keeping, membership recruitment and management, and more. The pre-conference will take place on Friday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Granville, Ohio.

The workshop will be led by Beth Knorr, who spent nine years co-managing one of Northeast Ohio’s most successful CSA operations at Crown Point Ecology Center with her husband Tim, and currently manages farmers’ markets and provides educational workshops for the Countryside Conservancy. Beth will be joined by CSA growers, who will share their experiences.

Our Sponsors

OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference is being sponsored by Edible Ohio Valley, Edible Columbus, Northstar Café, Chipotle, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Lucky Cat Bakery, Mustard Seed Market and Cafe, Organic Valley/CROPP, Snowville Creamery, Whole Foods Market Columbus, Ben and Jerry’s, Blue Jacket Dairy, C-TEC, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Casa Nueva, Curly Tail Organic Farm, Eden Foods, Luna Burger, Northridge Organic Farm, OEFFA Grain Growers Chapter, SARE-USDA, Whole Hog BBQ, Equine Veterinary Dental Services, Fox Hollow Farm, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, King Family Farm, Marshy Meadows Farm, Sassafras Bakery, Bexley Natural Market, Bluebird Farm, Carriage House Farm, Charlie’s Apples, Crumbs Bakery, Flying J Farm, Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, Green Field Farms, The Greener Grocer, Hartzler Family Dairy, The Hills Market, Kitchen Basics, Phoenix Organics, OSU Social Responsibility Initiative, Schacht Family Farm, Schmidt Family Farms, Stan Evans Bakery, The Wayward Seed Farm, and Wild Goose Creative.

###

About OEFFA

The Ohio Ecological Food & 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.

Conference Registration

Conference registration is now open. To register or for more information about the conference, including maps, directions, workshops, speakers, and a schedule, go to http://www.oeffa.org/conference2011.php or contact Renee Hunt at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205 or renee@oeffa.org. Last year’s conference sold out, so early registration is encouraged to guarantee a spot.

Press Passes and Interviews with Keynote Speakers

OEFFA offers a limited number of press passes to members of the media who would like to attend one or both days of the conference. We can also help members of the press schedule pre-conference interviews with our keynote speakers. To arrange an interview or request a press pass, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or lauren@oeffa.org

Artwork and Images

For the conference art image or pictures of keynote speakers, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or lauren@oeffa.org. For photographs of the 2010 conference, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/oeffa/sets/72157624745486406/

Event Calendar Announcement

Food and Farming Conference: The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 32nd annual conference, Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities, will take place February 19-20, 2011 in Granville, Ohio. OEFFA’s annual conference is Ohio’s largest organic/sustainable agriculture gathering. This event will feature nationally recognized keynote speakers Joan Dye Gussow and Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, over 70 workshops, a trade show, organic and locally-sourced meals, a kids’ conference, on-site childcare, and Saturday evening entertainment. For more information visit www.oeffa.org or contact Renee Hunt at renee@oeffa.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205.

Local Food Movement Matriarch to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference

Monday, January 10th, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 10, 2011

Contact: Renee Hunt, (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205

Local Food Movement Matriarch to Keynote Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference:

Nutritionist, Author, and Gardener Joan Dye Gussow to Speak Sunday, February 20

Press Release

As part of her work to transform America’s food system, Joan Dye Gussow will share her thoughts on where the local foods movement has been and where it’s going, along with practical ideas for eating locally and in-season, at the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 32nd annual conference, “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities” February 19-20, 2011 in Granville, Ohio.

“We’re excited to able to bring Dr. Gussow to this year’s conference. She is a pioneer of the organic and local foods movement. Her books continue to inspire and challenge all of us to be part of the creation of local, sustainable food systems that nourish our farmers, our bodies, and our communities,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.

Joan Dye Gussow was one of the first persons to envision, teach, and write about a local, organic, whole food system, earning her the title “matriarch of the modern day food movement.” As one of the foremost critics of industrial agriculture, Joan has been a mentor to leaders in the local foods movement, including Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan.

Joan is a highly acclaimed nutrition educator, author, gardener, Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emerita, and former chair of the Columbia University Teachers College Nutrition Department.  She is the author of This Organic Life; The Feeding Web, and Chicken Little, Tomato Sauce and Agriculture: Who Will Produce Tomorrow’s Food?

On top of all these accomplishments, Joan views herself first and foremost as a gardener. Four decades ago, Joan began eating seasonally by turning her front yard into a vegetable garden. Today, we see Joan’s ideas bearing fruit with the boom of backyard and community gardens cropping up throughout the U.S.

Her latest book, Growing, Older is a memoir beginning with the loss of her husband of 40 years.  Lacking a partner’s assistance, Joan continued the hard labor of growing her own year-round diet.  But hers is not a  message of gloom. Rather it is an affirmation of a life’s work—and work in general. The book challenges readers to think about  what growing older on a changing planet will call on all of us to do: learn self-reliance and self-restraint, yield graciously if not always happily to necessity, and—since there is no other choice—come to terms with the insistence of the natural world.

Joan’s keynote address, titled “Where have we been? Where are we going?” will take place Sunday, February 20 at 2:45 p.m. She’ll share what it was like in the early days of the organic and local food movement, and talk about its connection to current issues, such as climate change. She also explore some of today’s challenges to establishing an ecologically sound food system.

Joan will also be presenting a workshop earlier that day from 9:30-11:30 a.m., titled “Just Do It!” She’ll talk about what it would require of farmers and eaters if Ohioans were to eat locally and seasonally throughout the year.

Workshops

The conference will also feature more than 70 other educational workshops and cooking demonstrations with topics including: season extension, growing brambles, grazing, dairy farming, pastured livestock and poultry, maple syruping, hiring and managing farm employees, cover crops, renewable energy, farm insurance, agriculture policy and activism, weed control, growing mushrooms, growing and marketing grains, school gardens, farm recordkeeping, growing garlic, meat goats, homemade dyes, farm to school, eating seasonally, green building, pest management, business branding, pricing for profitability, organic apple growing, beekeeping, ecological parenting, flower production, internet marketing, soil fertility, and food co-ops.

Additional Conference Features

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, this year’s event will also feature keynote speakers Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens; a kid’s conference offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom for children under 6; a book signing by Joan Dye Gussow and The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon; an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of information, products, services, and resources that relate to sustainable agriculture; a non-denominational Sunday service; and Saturday evening entertainment provided by the Back Porch Swing Band.

Pre-Conference

This year’s event will also feature a one-day pre-conference titled The ABCs of CSAs. This workshop will provide guidance for farmers interested in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) including information on the challenges and benefits of CSAs, planning, record-keeping, membership recruitment and management, and more. The pre-conference will take place on Friday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Granville, Ohio.

The workshop will be led by Beth Knorr, who spent nine years co-managing one of Northeast Ohio’s most successful CSA operations at Crown Point Ecology Center with her husband Tim, and currently manages farmers’ markets and provides educational workshops for the Countryside Conservancy. Beth will be joined by CSA growers, who will share their experiences.

Our Sponsors

OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference is being sponsored by Edible Ohio Valley, Edible Columbus, Northstar Café, Chipotle, Granville Exempted Village Schools, Lucky Cat Bakery, Mustard Seed Market and Cafe, Organic Valley/CROPP, Snowville Creamery, Whole Foods Market Columbus, Ben and Jerry’s, Blue Jacket Dairy, C-TEC, Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Casa Nueva, Curly Tail Organic Farm, Eden Foods, Luna Burger, Northridge Organic Farm, OEFFA Grain Growers Chapter, SARE-USDA, Whole Hog BBQ, Equine Veterinary Dental Services, Fox Hollow Farm, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, King Family Farm, Marshy Meadows Farm, Sassafras Bakery, Bexley Natural Market, Bluebird Farm, Carriage House Farm, Charlie’s Apples, Crumbs Bakery, Flying J Farm, Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, Green Field Farms, The Greener Grocer, Hartzler Family Dairy, The Hills Market, Kitchen Basics, Phoenix Organics, OSU Social Responsibility Initiative, Schacht Family Farm, Schmidt Family Farms, Stan Evans Bakery, The Wayward Seed Farm, and Wild Goose Creative.

###

About OEFFA

The Ohio Ecological Food & 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.

Conference Registration

Conference registration is now open. To register or for more information about the conference, including maps, directions, workshops, speakers, and a schedule, go to http://www.oeffa.org/conference2011.php or contact Renee Hunt at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205 or renee@oeffa.org. Last year’s conference sold out, so early registration is encouraged to guarantee a spot.

Press Passes and Interviews with Keynote Speakers

OEFFA offers a limited number of press passes to members of the media who would like to attend one or both days of the conference. We can also help members of the press schedule pre-conference interviews with our keynote speakers. To arrange an interview or request a press pass, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or lauren@oeffa.org

Artwork and Images

For the conference art image or pictures of keynote speakers, contact Lauren Ketcham at (614) 421-2022 Ext. 203 or lauren@oeffa.org. For photographs of the 2010 conference, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/oeffa/sets/72157624745486406/

Event Calendar Announcement

Food and Farming Conference: The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 32nd annual conference, Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities, will take place February 19-20, 2011 in Granville, Ohio. OEFFA’s annual conference is Ohio’s largest organic/sustainable agriculture gathering. This event will feature nationally recognized keynote speakers Joan Dye Gussow and Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens, over 70 workshops, a trade show, organic and locally-sourced meals, a kids’ conference, on-site childcare, and Saturday evening entertainment. For more information visit www.oeffa.org or contact Renee Hunt at renee@oeffa.org or (614) 421-2022 Ext. 205.