Eco Farm Day Poster, created by Stephanie Pelot

Eco Farm Days 2018 theme “Adaptation” tries to address the fast-changing world of organic agriculture

 

Cornwall, ON, January 23, 2018 – Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa – St Lawrence – Outaouais Chapter (COG OSO) is ready to announce the program for Eco Farm Days 2018, coming to Cornwall, ON this February 24 and 25, 2018. The theme this year is one simple word – Adaptation. In the context of agriculture, however, that single word conjures up a great many different issues facing farmers. Some ideas to be explored at Eco Farm Days are: How can farmers adapt to a changing climate; how do plant nutrient needs change over time; breeding new plant varieties for your farm; exploring better ways to feed your animals; and more.

Keynote presenters this year are Mary-Howell and Klaas Martens, who farm about 1400 acres of organic grains and vegetables, and own Lakeview Organic Grains seed and feed mill in the Finger Lakes region of New York (www.lakevieworganicgrain.com). “The Martens long-term vision for an agriculture that can adapt to future challenges is grounded in decades of practical experience running a farm and meeting the daily needs of their feed mill customers,” says Rob Wallbridge, Organic Specialist at Thompsons Ltd. “There are few people with the depth of knowledge and breadth of experience they possess.”

Apart from their keynote presentation, Mary-Howell will give a presentation on Feed Quality, while Klaas will present on Crop Fertility and Reduced Tillage. Other Eco Farm Days presentations will cover topics such as Climate Change, supporting native pollinators and honey bees, soil nutrient management, plant breeding systems, garlic production, moveable greenhouse management, fodder production, alternative healthcare for livestock, multi-species grazing, and more. There will also be an extensive trade show with a range of exhibitors with goods and services relevant to organic and organic curious farmers.

Another way in which Eco Farm Days is adapting is to continue to add more content to the conference spread over two days instead of just one. “We receive so many great workshop ideas from past participants that one day just isn’t enough,” says one of the volunteer organizers, Colin Lundy. “The other suggestion often made is to provide more in-depth material. So, we are allowing more time for certain sessions on Saturday as well as offering two separate, full-day workshops on Sunday.” One of these will be a “polyculture livestock” workshop delivered by Suzanne Nelson Karreman and veterinarian Dr. Hubert Karreman of Reverence Farms. The Karremans run 7 species of livestock, including dairy, on 400 acres, plus a farm-to-plate café, in North Carolina (www.reverencefarmscafe.com). The other workshop features local talent, Zach Loeks of Kula Permaculture Farm, giving a course based on his new book, The Permaculture Market Garden: A Visual Guide to a Profitable Whole-Systems Farm Business. (on Instagram and Facebook @zachloeks).

To bridge the two days of conference material, and to add a social element to Eco Farm Days, there will be a dinner reception on Feb 24 at the popular Cornwall restaurant, Schnitzel’s, and in partnership with Transition Cornwall+ and All Things Food. This will include a screening of the just-released documentary, Modified, by award-winning food blogger and cooking show host, Aube Giroux, about how our relationship to food is changing as genetic engineering becomes more prevalent in our food system (www.modifiedthefilm.com). Aube will be present at the screening and will lead a discussion about issues raised in the film.

There is separate registration for Saturday and Sunday sessions, with a discount for those registering for both days. Eco Farm Days 2018 will take place at the Ramada Inn, 805 Brookdale Ave, Cornwall, ON where overnight rooms can be booked by conference attendees (www.cornwallramada.com). As usual, an organic and mostly locally-sourced lunch is included in the registration fees for both days.  The dinner and film screening for Saturday night also has separate registration and is limited to 50 people due to limited space at Schnitzel’s.

Details and additional information, as well as registration is available at www.ecofarmday.ca, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 613-487-2257. Developments can also be followed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cogosochapter and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ecofarmday.

 

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