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EcoFarm Conference

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 8:00am to Saturday, January 25, 2020 - 5:00pm

The Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) will present the 40th annual EcoFarm Conference, January 22 - 25, 2020 in Pacific Grove, CA. This Conference will feature 70+ groundbreaking workshops, keynote speakers, farm tours, exhibitors, seed swaps, live music, organic culinary fare, and an annual awards banquet. As the oldest and largest organic farming conference in the West, EcoFarm Conference is a prime networking and educational hub for farmers, ranchers, and all who work to support their success as stewards of the earth.

The Organic Trade Association's CEO/Executive Director, Laura Batcha, will be speaking at the following Workshop at the Conference: 

Safeguarding Organic from Fraud Workshop | January 23, 2020 | 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
The global organic market is now almost $90 billion annually, with the U.S. organic market alone accounting for $50 billion. Fraud is a huge threat to the organic market, and cannot be tolerated. In this session participants will learn about actions being taken at the local, national, and global level to prevent organic fraud. Panelists will discuss compliance monitoring; improving import oversight, certification and inspection protocols; and solidifying specific sections of the USDA organic regulations to protect organic integrity and bolster trust in the USDA Organic label. Participants will also learn what to do when they detect fraud, and how to file an actionable complaint to USDA’s National Organic Program.

The Organic Center's Director of Science Programs, Dr. Jessica Shade, will be speaking at the following sessions at the Conference: 

Farmer-Inspired Research | January 23, 2020 | 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Whole-farm organic systems are hard to study scientifically, but some farmers and researchers are up to the challenge. This session will highlight one particular project at Phil Foster’s ranch, where after 30 or more years of farming, most vegetable diseases have disappeared or declined substantially. A unique research method, using big data sets of multi-sourced evidence, reveals the links between organic farming and disease suppression. Other farmer-driven projects will also be discussed, involving participatory research on subjects such as manure safety, biodiversity tracking, and organic control for citrus greening disease. When farmers are involved in planning and implementing research, the outcomes are more relevant and informative! 

Citrus Greening Listening Session | January, 23, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. | Sanderling 
Come be a part of developing a research project focused on providing much-needed knowledge and relief to organic citrus growers! This discussion group will address the challenges associated with growing organic citrus in the face of citrus greening. We will discuss concerns around citrus greening, experiences with materials and non-chemical methods of preventing or controlling the Asian citrus psyllid and the HLB bacterial infection, and research that is most needed for growers across citrus growing regions in the United States. This project is part of an OREI planning grant that was recently awarded from the USDA to a team including non-profits, academic researchers, and governmental agencies.  The information from this listening session will be used to develop a large-scale holistic project proposal targeted toward protecting organic citrus growers from citrus greening, slowing the spread, and reducing damage to currently infected groves.

Organic Trade Association Representative, Melody Meyer, will be moderating the following session at the Conference: 

Reducing Plastics in the Produce Department | January 24, 2020 | 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
While organic is the baseline for doing good, there is a growing demand to do more about the packaging used to grow, wrap and protect the products we consume. In this session, panelists will showcase innovative actions and programs aimed at reducing and/or eliminating the waste and toxicity of plastic packaging. We’ll look at the amount of plastic used to grow and ship organic produce and the emerging issue of “clean packaging.” Growers, handlers and retailers will hear examples of programs and opportunities to help start or further a program of their own. Consumers will leave with a call to action and a greater awareness of what to look for.

Conference Information: 

January 22-25, 2020

Pacific Grove, CA