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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio State Experts in Lineup for Ohio Organic Farming Conference: 'Sowing the Seeds of Food Sovereignty'

January 5, 2012

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Experts from Ohio State University will give a dozen of the 70-plus workshops at this year’s Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association annual conference, whose theme is “Sowing the Seeds of Our Food Sovereignty.”

Billed as the state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, the program takes place Feb. 18-19 in Granville in central Ohio. More than 1,000 people are expected. The past two years have sold out.

Get full details -- the schedule, all the speakers and how to register -- at, or contact OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt, 614-421-2022, ext. 205, or

“Farmers, businesses, chefs and consumers are working together to reclaim our food sovereignty,” Hunt said in a press release.

“(They are) rebuilding local food systems and Ohio’s rural farming communities, demanding access to healthy organic food and information about how that food is produced, and relearning sustainable agriculture practices that nourish our bodies, our communities and the environment.”

The conference’s keynote speakers are Woody Tasch, chairman of the Slow Money Alliance, on “Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Matter,” and Andrew Kimbrell, a leading environmental attorney and the founder and executive director of the Center for Food Safety and the International Center for Technology Assessment, on “The Future of Food.”

The workshops cover such topics as mulches, cover crops, composting, food safety, growing berries, growing field crops, grower co-ops, aquaculture, livestock production, season extension, social investing, small-space gardening, companion planting, edible landscaping, renewable energy and organic certification.

Most of the Ohio State speakers are with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and  its research and outreach arms, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension:

  • “Brix Levels as an Indicator of Vegetable Quality” by Natalie Bumgarner, Matt Kleinhenz and Joe Scheerens, all of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Feb. 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • “Identifying and Managing Beneficial Insects in Vegetable Crops” by Jim Jasinski, an OSU Extension educator, and Celeste Welty, Mary Gardiner and Parwinder Grewal, all of the Department of Entomology, Feb. 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • “Producing Grass-fed Beef and Lamb” by Jeff McCutcheon of OSU Extension’s Forage Team and Bob Hendershot, grassland conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Feb. 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • “Sow It, Grow It, Sell It … Safely!” by Troy Cooper, an OSU Extension educator and certified food safety instructor; part 1, Feb. 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m.; part 2, Feb. 18, 1:45-2:40 p.m.
  • “Nutritional Nuances of Pastured Poultry” by Mike Lilburn of the Department of Animal Sciences, Feb. 18, 10:35-11:30 a.m.
  • “OFFERings: Charting Future Directions for Organic Research in Ohio” by Brian McSpadden Gardener, new director of Ohio State’s Organic Food and Farming Education and Research Program, Feb. 18, 1:45-2:40 p.m.
  • “Plant Residues in Organic Vegetable Production: A Look Back and Ahead on the Pros and Cons” by Kleinhenz, McSpadden Gardener, Mark Bennett of the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, and Sally Miller of the Department of Plant Pathology, Feb. 18, 2:50-3:45 p.m.
  • “Managing Organic Soil Fertility to Improve Spelt Bread Quality” by Larry Phelan of the Department of Entomology, Feb. 18, 2:50-3:45 p.m.
  • “The Role of Cooperatives in Marketing” by Bob Cohen, an Ohio State instructor and program coordinator at Kent State University’s Cooperative Development Center, Feb. 18, 2:50-3:45 p.m.
  • “Pumpkins, Squash and Bugs -- Oh My!” by Welty and Melinda O’Briant of Turner Organic Farm, Feb. 19, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • “Are You Market-Ready?” (selling directly to restaurants, supermarkets, and other wholesale and retail outlets) by OSU Extension educators Mike Hogan and Julie Fox, Feb. 19, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

The workshop times and topics are subject to change. Check OEFFA’s website for the latest details.

In addition to the workshops, there will be an exhibit hall; book signings; a kids’ conference; Feb. 17 pre-conference programs on slow money and no-till; and talks by Jeff Moyer of the Rodale Institute, Gary Zimmer of Midwestern Bio-Ag, and Dan Ravicher, a patent law professor and executive director of the Public Patent Foundation.

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Reporters: To request a press pass or for help arranging a pre-conference interview with a speaker, contact OEFFA’s Lauren Ketcham, 614-421-2022, ext. 203, or

Kurt Knebusch
Lauren Ketcham