With winter underway and the 2013 growing season now to bed, preparations for the 2014 year are upon us. For over 1,500 organic producers and consumers, that means it is time to gather inspiration for the new growing season at Vermont’s largest agricultural conference. The 32nd annual Winter Conference from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), will be held February 15-17th at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
“We’re very excited about this year’s lineup of workshops. It’s a really strong showing of consumer and commercial producer interests, many of which echo our theme, Growing Outside the Box,” Enid Wonnacott, Executive Director of NOFA-VT said. “Our workshops and speakers will look at how we grow the organic movement to meet increasing demand, while maintaining its core principles.”
With three decades of experience in marketing small farm products, the co-founder of Equal Exchange and Red Tomato, Michael Rozyne, is this year’s Saturday keynote speaker. His featured speech, “Something Bigger,” will focus on broadening the conception of what the organic movement includes. Attendees will be encouraged to take a critical look at the big picture issues impacting our community, and how organic producers can create partnerships and alliances outside of the organic world to ensure everyone has access to quality, nutritious food.
Other highlights of the conference are Sunday’s “FarmsTED” speakers Dorn Cox, of Tuckaway Farm and founder of Farm Hack; Chris Dutton, the Agricultural Programs Director at Vermont Technical College; Helen Whybrow from Knoll Farm, who recently produced the film Organic Matter; and Darlene Wolnik, community activist and public market consultant. These talks will be moderated by Paul Costello, the Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, and NOFA-VT board member. Inspired by the TEDtalks format, each presenter will focus on “ideas that inspire” within the context of the theme, Growing Outside the Box.
Whether you are a commercial farmer or inspiring homesteader, workshops on Saturday and Sunday cover the gamut of interests and technical knowledge. From soil health to grazing and pasture management, to mushroom foraging and farm to school management, there are over 60 workshops to inspire and help you plan for the 2014 growing season. Four day-long Monday intensives cover beef butchering, medicinal herbs, nutrient-dense soil, and farm resilience in a changing climate.
For a workshop descriptions, more details, and to register for the conference, visit http://nofavt.org/conference. Register by February 4 and save $20 over walk-in rates.