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How Can You Participate in Ohio’s Growing Local Food Movement?

IMAGE: Registration is open for OEFFA's annual conference.
IMAGE: Registration is open for OEFFA's annual conference.
December 10, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - As interest expands in Ohio's local and organic foods, so does the state's largest annual gathering of sustainable growers and farmers. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) 34th annual conference, "Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change," will be held in February, but registration is already under way. The event draws more than 1,100 people from across Ohio and the Midwest and has sold out the past three years.

Spokeswoman Lauren Ketchum says they are offering more workshops to help Ohioans take advantage of increasing opportunities in sustainable agriculture.

"The conference also encourages more people to grow their own food and participate in their local food economy. It helps to build bridges between farmers and consumers so we can keep growing the sustainable agriculture movement in Ohio."

Ketchum says they are featuring more than 90 workshops, a trade show, a kids' conference and Saturday evening entertainment. Keynote speakers this year are George Siemon, one of the nation's foremost organic agriculture advocates, and Nicolette Hahn Niman, an attorney, livestock rancher and author.

Ketchum says the event provides a unique opportunity for networking so that farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs can learn from each other.

"Having that many people that share common interest all under one roof over the course of the weekend, people leave with new connections, with new ideas and really energized to get their garden started for the spring or whatever the project is that they are working on."

Ketchum says whether you are a full-time farmer, backyard gardener or local food enthusiast, there is something for everyone.

"There are workshops on homesteading and green living. There are cooking demonstrations that help consumers learn what to do with the fresh, local ingredients they are getting at farmers markets. There's a workshop on organic lawn care for instance, and backyard gardening topics."

This year's conference will be held on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17, in Granville, Ohio. Online registration is available at

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH