The following article was posted with permission by the Ecological Farming Association.
The Ecological Farming Association will present the 33rd Annual EcoFarm Conference, Feed the World You Want to Live In, at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California, from January 24 through 26, 2013. As the oldest and largest ecological agricultural gathering in the West, the EcoFarm Conference offers more than sixty workshops featuring an array of educational sessions for farmers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, consumers, students, and educators.
“EcoFarm’s greatest achievement is in creating a space for us all to celebrate the past year and look forward to and plan for the next as a community,” says one EcoFarm attendee, “Old and young farmers get together and learn from each other. It is an important tool for relationship building, coming up with strategies, gaining new skills, and taking stock of our community.”
EcoFarm - supported in part by Clif Bar & Company, Full Belly Farm, Nutiva, Driscoll’s and Veritable Vegetable - will be four full days of sessions on production, marketing, business, ecological conservation, finance techniques, and much more. Conference-goers will have opportunities to learn from leading experts on topics encompassing current political, ethical, and social issues, such as the Farm Bill, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), biodynamic farming, fermentation, and the fast-growing CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) movement. EcoFarm offers single and multi-day passes with lodging and meal options featuring products from the EcoFarm community’s own food producers.
This year, activist and artist John Trudell will launch the opening plenary session, Cultivating our Capacity to Feed the World. Denise O’Brien, Iowa farmer and organizer will follow with Brian Halweil of the Worldwatch Institute and Edible Magazine. They will examine how we can create a food system where we restore the landscape, bolster rural economies, and actually nourish people. In addition to the plenary speakers, a variety of workshops will be led throughout the weekend by such ecological farming leaders as Dennis Klocek, Sandor Ellix Katz, and Penny Livingston-Stark, among others.
At a pre-conference session on January 22, The Ecological Farming Association (EFA) will be hosting a Butchery Skills Seminar with master butchers Rian Rinn of Wyeth Acres and Loren Ozki of Flea Street Café/CoolEatz. During the daylong event, participants will learn the step-by-step process of butchery for organic hog, lamb and chicken. EFA is also hosting an all-day bus tour on Wednesday the 23rd to visit four organic and sustainable farms near the town of Pescadero. Other pre-conference events will include the Urgenci and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) bus tour and conference, California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) annual meeting and conference, and a groundbreaking daylong course in the latest science-based pollinator methods hosted by the Xerces Society.
With over 1,500 participants, EcoFarm hosts artisanal food tastings, live entertainment, an Exhibitor Marketplace showcasing over fifty organic and ecologically-based businesses and organizations, farmer mixers, an awards ceremony, farmer roundtable discussions, and office hours giving farmers and ranchers the opportunity to discuss their challenges one-on-one with experts and non-profit organizations.
The Ecological Farming Association nurtures healthy and just farms, food systems, communities and environment by bringing people together for education, alliance building, and celebration. Over the past 32 years, the EcoFarm Conference and EFA’s education programs have reached more than 76,000 participants, supporting grassroots leadership and regional solutions to increase and promote healthy, sustainable farms and food systems.