Advance registration for the 34th Annual EcoFarm Conference, Jan. 22 through Jan. 25, is still available. Act now and reserve day attendance and meals at the Asilomar State Park Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. Online registration at www.ecofarm2014.org will remain open until 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17. Walk-on, on site registration will be available throughout the duration of the conference.
Ranchers who attend this year’s EcoFarm pre-conference will benefit from the “Stockmanship: Low Stress Livestock Handling Seminar” organized by speakers from the leading edge of livestock production including Kent Reeves of The Whole Picture Consulting and Whit Hibbard, Editor/Publisher of the Stockmanship Journal.
Dr. Temple Grandin, famous autistic advocate, scientist and writer, will present at EcoFarm’s Thursday Plenary. Honored in Time Magazine as one of the “The 100 Most Influential People in the World,” half of the cattle in the United States and Canada are handled with equipment designed by Grandin. EcoFarm is a unique opportunity to gain insights on animal behavior from individuals who have paved the way for animal welfare in food production.
EcoFarm’s “Holistic Orchard Health Intensive” will highlight renowned orchardist and author, Michael Phillips who will share knowledge gained from years of leadership in orchard research and the community orchard movement. Phillips serves as coordinator for the Holistic Orchard Network and will discuss points from his most recent book, The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way.
Learn how to “Create a Sustainable Flock of Heritage Poultry” from Jim Adkins who will share the tools and know-how for developing sustainable poultry production from egg to table. Adkins established the International Center for Poultry in 1992 and has taught field days and workshops throughout the United States and abroad. He continues to serve as a sustainable poultry specialist.
The Biodynamic Association is organizing “The Farm as a Living Organism”, providing a special opportunity to hear from respected national biodynamic practitioners such as Lloyd Nelson and Paul Dolan. Nelson is a builder, artist, biodynamic educator, and farmer who studied extensively at the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics (JPI) and has worked on biodynamic projects throughout the United States. Paul Dolan, a fourth generation winemaker and the president of Fetzer Vineyards, is recognized for creating an environmentally and socially conscious winery that now distributes wine across the globe. Dolan continues to advocate for organic farming, serving on the boards of the Wine Institute and the Business for Social Responsibility.
The conclusion of the pre-conferences segues into the start of the full EcoFarm Conference with Wednesday’s evening Plenary presentation by Kathleen Merrigan, former USDA Deputy Secretary who will offer her insights on “Gains and Goals for the Good Food Movement.” Dr. Merrigan was instrumental in starting the “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, highlighting the critical connection between farmers and consumers, and supporting local and regional food systems that increase economic opportunity in rural America. Wednesday’s Plenary will also feature a panel of sustainable business leaders; David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Grant Lundberg of Lundberg Family Farms, and Jyoti Stephens of Nature’s Path Organic Foods, who will discuss how they have succeeded in business while maintaining their companies’ unwavering commitment to triple-bottom line principles: protecting people, planet, and profits.
Friday’s Plenary highlights the annual wisdom from successful organic farmers, this year featuring Craig McNamara, Irene and Evan Engber, and Michael Phillips. Craig McNamara is the owner and farmer of Sierra Orchards, and is the co-founder and president of the Center for Land-Based Learning, an innovative program that reaches thousands of high school students annually. He is president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and a board member of American Farmland Trust. Evan Engber is one of the most respected river restoration specialists, having improved water conditions for fish and wildlife while protecting farmland from erosion. He and Irene were original members of the Hog Farm, and Irene grew organic vegetables 25 years ago for Wavy Gravy’s Camp Winnarainbow, a circus performance camp for teens.
Maria Rodale will speak at EcoFarm’s Closing Plenary on Saturday morning. Maria is the author of Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe, and will illustrate how our own health is intimately connected to the health of the environment. She will talk about The Rodale Institute’s 30-year Farming System Trials – America’s longest running, side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical agriculture. Maria Rodale is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc., engaging with more than 70 million people around the world across multiple distribution channels, including magazines, books, online, mobile, e-commerce, direct-to-consumer, and video.
These speakers are just a few of the highlights of the 34th Annual EcoFarm Conference, the oldest and largest ecological agricultural gathering in the West. EcoFarm offers more than 70 educational and technical workshops for farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students, and educators as well as an exhibitor marketplace, live entertainment, discussion groups, mixers, and organic meals sourced from local producers.
Visit www.eco-farm.org for more info and to register.