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The OTA Calendar is full of events that are either organized or attended by OTA. We are pleased to organize and support dozens of events that advance organic agriculture and trade throughout the year. Some of these are signature OTA events hosted for members, while others are regional, national, or international conferences where OTA staff are featured keynotes and panelists. Whether we’re bringing the latest news and trends about the organic industry to diverse audiences, sponsoring business networking gatherings, or hosting listening sessions to gather feedback from the sector, you can count on OTA to be part of the action. 

OTA Hosted Event

January 2020

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Global Organic Produce Expo [GOPEX]

Global Organic Produce Expo [GOPEX]

Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 8:00am to Saturday, January 11, 2020 - 5:00pm

The Global Organic Produce Expo [GOPEX] is taking place January 9-11, 2020 in Miami, FL. 

GOPEX provides the fresh produce industry with the only globally driven show for organic produce. The show creates a forum for unique and specific opportunities for those who grow, distribute, pack and market fresh organic produce, to sell here in the Americas. This international trade show and conference provides the ideal opportunity for organic professionals from around the world to network, exchange ideas, source new products and services, and do business with the industry’s leading growers, distributors, packer and retailers.

The Organic Trade Association will be speaking in the following education sessions at GOPEX:

Retail Panel | Friday, January 10 | 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. | Sparkle West
With organic continuing to drive sales gains in produce departments, a panel of key retail thought leaders examines trends behind organic growth, including supply, consumer demand, merchandising strategy, use of private labels and more.  Organic Trade Assoication's International Trade Manager, Alexis Carey, will be speaking on this panel.

Organic 101 Breakout | Friday, January 10 | 11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. | Sparkle 11/12
New to the organic industry? Join us to learn the basics of what the organic label does (and doesn't) mean, how it is enforced, and why it is the gold standard for food around the world. We'll discuss produce merchandising best practices with an eye toward alignment with organic regulations, as well as those that have been proven most successful with retailers and shoppers. Organic Trade Assoication's Farm Policy Director, Johanna Mirenda, will be speaking in this breakout. 

Organic Consumer Messaging for Maximum Impact | Friday, January 10| 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. | Sparkle 11/12
A major, industry-invested consumer research project has revealed what drives a shopper to choose organic, what messages penetrate deeper than others, and what attributes of organic are the most valued by today's diverse customers. Come for a produce-focused look at the resulting toolkit, designed to help industry speak with unified voice, using the messages proven to be most compelling to our shoppers. Organic Trade Association's Director of Education and Insights, Angela Jagiello, will be speaking in this breakout. 

Organic Policy Panel | Friday, January 10 | 1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. | Sparkle 11/12
Organic is the most highly regulated food system in the world. Come hear the latest from the individuals at the center of regulatory affairs for this $52 billion sector. Topics will include a review of enforcement actions at the National Organic Program. Organic Trade Assoication's Farm Policy Director, Johanna Mirenda, will be speaking on this panel. 

Contact Angela Jagiello for more information. 

Expo Information:

January 9-11, 2020

Fontainebleau Luxury Hotel

Miami Beach, FL

8:00am to 5:00pm
 
 
 
 
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EcoFarm Conference

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 

8:00am to 5:00pm
 
 
 
Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group [SAWG] & Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Organic Agriculture Research Forum

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group [SAWG] & Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) Organic Agriculture Research Forum

Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 8:00am to Saturday, January 25, 2020 - 5:00pm

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group [SAWG] is taking place January 24-25, 2020 in Little Rock, AK. This year's theme is Agricultural Resilence in a Changing Climate!  Beginning in 2020, in addition to the usual wide array of subjects and practical information for farmers, each Southern SAWG conference will offer specially-curated information and activities addressing a timely topic or issue. The special topic weaves through the normal conference agenda. A color code appears in the conference program to allow for easy planning. Follow the blue dot in this year’s program to follow the Climate Change special topic throughout the conference.

On Thursday, January 23rd the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) will be hosting their Organic Agriculture Research Forum in partnership with Southern SAWG. This day-long forum will bring together scientists, organic farmers and ranchers, extension agents, non-profit organizations, and more to explore the latest research and science-based grower education, particularly as it relates to production in the southeast. The Forum is supported by a grant from the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program of USDA.

The Organic Center's Science Program Manager, Amber Sciligo, will be presenting at the OFRF Organic Agriculture Research Forum, and also sticking around to attend SAWG. Contact Amber Sciligo for more information or to connect at the Conference! 

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