EcoFarm Conference Slated for January

EcoFarm Conference Slated for January

Growers who attend the 2018 EcoFarm Conference in California in January can expect such subject matter as crop planning, plant and soil nutrition, and other production and marketing subjects.

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The conference, which has the theme this year of “Sow Good,” will be held Jan. 24-27 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA. Here are some highlights.

Organic Flower Production will open up a whole new realm for growers looking to diversify from vegetables or who enjoy being surrounded by beautiful blooms. Presenters Joanna Letz of Bluma Farm and Courtney Mellblom from San Luis Obispo, CA, will discuss uses of flowers to heal as well as to help create and preserve diversity in all forms. Everything from choosing varieties to grow, to propagation, pests and diseases, marketing, and postharvest management will be covered. This session will be held on Friday, Jan. 26.

“How Plant Nutrition Affects Diseases and Pests” is a session whose presenter has more than 40 years’ experience working with vineyards and orchards on how to balance nutrition so that plants can fend off diseases and are less prone to pests. Gregg Young, Certified Professional Agronomist, has been a consulting agronomist for Frog Hollow Farm, Apricot Lane Farms, and organic wineries in the Mendocino area and beyond. His inspiration is much of the work done by the soil scientist William Albrecht in the Midwest but applied to western soils and perennial crops. This session will be held on Thursday, Jan. 25.

The approach to the “Growing and Marketing Healing Herbs” workshop this year is to highlight three women herbalists in urban areas who grow, harvest, dry, prepare, and use medicinal plants as well as to teach others to do these activities. Maya Blow, Soul Flower Farm School of Earth Medicine; Kanchan Dawn Hunter and Tatille Jackson work and grow at the Spiral Gardens Community Food Security Project in Berkeley, CA. There they teach herbal subjects and how to grow healing plants. This session will be held on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Apples are a popular crop for organic growers and this year a workshop will focus on “Old and New Varieties of Apples for Organic Orchards.” The presenters each grow or consult with growers on dozens of these varieties and will offer information that is not available in the descriptions of varieties from nurseries. The favorites from these professional growers, Freddy Menge of the Monterey Bay chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers and Zea Sonnabend from Fruitilicious Farm will be discussed. This session will be held on Thursday, Jan. 25.