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EcoFarm Conference: Regenerating our Lands and Water

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 9:00am to Saturday, January 23, 2016 - 5:00pm

The EcoFarm Conference: Regenerating our Lands and Water will be held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, January 20th - 23rd. From technical discussions on biological methods, to sessions and office hours dealing with the business of farming, the conference is a roll-up-your sleeves affair that supports our individual and organizational efforts. This year the conference continues and expands its emphasis on discussion groups and peer-to-peer sharing forums, recognizing the value of all of our combined efforts and knowledge. It features working meetings and strategy sessions, providing an opportunity to reflect on achievements and plot the course of action for the coming year. It also includes topics to inspire and frame our shared project: overgrowing the conventional agricultural system, replacing it with a healthier, safer, more just food and farming system.

OTA will be presenting at several sessions: 

"Scaling up Organic: Into the Mainstream or Around the Margins

Friday January 22, from 3:30-5:00pm.
Presenters include Laura Batcha, OTA's CEO/ Executive Director

One of the few areas that people in the organic movement agree on is that they want organics to keep growing in order to counteract the use of toxic materials in our environment and food. However, positions vary widely regarding how a lot more organic production can and ought to come about. These conflicts result in arguments over scale, speed, standards, media messaging, and grower recruitment without creating a successful model for growth. Leaders representing industry and activist groups will consider ways to achieve a more organic future and a common strategic ground. How should the organic message be presented to consumers, and by whom? Which is the better strategy to strengthen the organic industry: targeting the chemical farming establishment or in-fighting over organic standards?

"Organic Textiles from Field to Tee"
Thursday January 21, from 3:30-5:00pm
Presenters include Gwendolyn Wyard, OTA's Senior Director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs

The market for organic textiles is the most rapidly growing non-food organic category in the U.S., achieving $1.1 billion in sales in 2014! The sector grew 18% that year, its strongest growth since 2009. What’s an “organic textile?” What are the challenges and opportunities for growers, processors and retailers? What are U.S. labeling requirements and certification options? A diverse panel including a farmer, a manufacturer, a policy wonk, and a retailer will discuss organic cotton farming, trends in the organic fiber sector, why it is a critical next frontier, and how the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) ensures truth behind the label.

OTA's Senior Crop and Livestock Specialist Nate Lewis will also be presenting on policy efforts and public/private initiatives to attract new growers to organic production and support existing producers during their transition to organic.

To connect with OTA at the conference, please contact Laura, Gwendolyn or Nate.