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Ohio’s Largest Sustainable Food and Farm Conference Sold Out for Second Consecutive Year

Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens and Joan Dye Gussow to Keynote Event February 19-20

Press Release

Registration for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s 32nd annual conference, “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities” on February 19-20, 2011 in Granville, Ohio has sold out. This is the second consecutive year that the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, which draws nearly 1,000 farmers, gardeners, researchers, and consumers from across the Midwest, has had to close registration early.

“We have been amazed at the response to the conference. The event has grown each year, which is a sign of the growing local and organic food movement here in Ohio and the fact that more and more consumers demand food that is fresh, local, environmentally-responsible, and free from antibiotics and pesticides,” said OEFFA Executive Director Carol Goland. “Our conference is aimed at educating those consumers but also the farmers who are increasing their profitability and using resource-conserving practices in responding to this demand.”

Although weekend registration has closed, there is still space available for this year’s one-day pre-conference event titled “The ABCs of CSAs,” which 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 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.

The pre-conference will take place on Friday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Granville, Ohio.
To register, go to

Keynote Speakers
The conference will feature three recognized leaders in the sustainable agriculture community, Joan Dye Gussow and Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens.

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?

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.

Klaas and Mary-Howell Martens made the transition from conventional farming to being one of the leading experts in organic production. Farming organically since 1993, the Martens raise about 1,400 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.

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.

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
This year’s event will also feature 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 ofinformation, 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.

Our Sponsors
OEFFA’s 32nd annual conference is being sponsored by Edible Ohio Valley, Edible Columbus, Northstar Café, Chipotle Mexican Grill, 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, Hiland Natural, Luna Burger, Northridge Organic Farm, OEFFA Grain Growers Chapter, Ohio Earth Food, SARE-USDA, Stauf’s, Stonyfield Farms, Whole Hog BBQ, Equine Veterinary Dental Services, Fox Hollow Farm, Hellwig 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.