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Ohioans Can Rub Elbows with Sustainable Farming Experts

PHOTO: Have some greens with that! Ohio's largest sustainable agriculture conference is expected to draw nearly 1200 people, for its lineup of expert advice about farming, growing, cooking and other ag-related topics. Photo credit: George Remington.
PHOTO: Have some greens with that! Ohio's largest sustainable agriculture conference is expected to draw nearly 1200 people, for its lineup of expert advice about farming, growing, cooking and other ag-related topics. Photo credit: George Remington.
December 17, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's a chance to rub elbows with sustainable farmers, growers and experts in Ohio. Registration is open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's 36th annual conference, to be held in February.

This year's theme is "Sustainable Agriculture: Renewing Ohio's Heart and Soil," said Lauren Ketchum, communications manager for OEFFA. How people care for the soil, she said, is connected to the quality of their food and water, how future generations are fed and who will be raising that food.

"Soil health is at the very core of sustainable agriculture," Ketchum said, "but by building the connections between eaters and farmers, we're also renewing the heart of our community-based food systems."

More than 1,200 people from Ohio and beyond are expected to attend the event, including experienced growers, backyard gardeners and local food enthusiasts. The conference will be held Friday through Sunday, Feb. 13-15, in Granville.

The event features close to 100 workshops on a range of topics - from sustainable farming and gardening, to cooking and business management. Ketchum said the presenters include farmers sharing their practical wisdom, as well as researchers, business and community leaders.

"We really bring the best and brightest from Ohio and around the country," she said, "and try to offer a nice balance between academic and research perspectives and tried-and-true research techniques direct from the mouths of farmers."

With word of mouth, Ketchum said, the conference has grown each year. Many people leave feeling inspired and energized to start a new season or project, she said, "whether that's because they've attended a workshop that's really enlightened them on something, or they've made a personal connection with a presenter or fellow attendee that's built a bridge for them and their business."

Ketchum said they also will have children's activities, a teen conference and musical entertainment, so families are encouraged to attend.

More information is online at oeffa.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH