40th annual event promotes organic and sustainable farming
MONTEREY BAY—More than 70 food and farming workshops and events await ecologically-minded farmers, ranchers, and all who support their success at the 40th EcoFarm Conference, which runs Jan. 22-25 in Pacific Grove.
Attendees will learn from leading experts on topics addressing both micro and macro issues critical to the prosperity of small and mid-scale farmers, as well as and organic agriculture at large. Topics will cover healthy soils and pest management, livestock and ranching, equity and labor, policy, marketing and more.
Several workshops will be presented exclusively in Spanish.
“EcoFarm manages to maintain a balance between cool and innovative content and more thoughtful deep dives, with engaging conversations on timely topics that resonate for all growers, such as the broad and yet very critical umbrella topic of soil health,” said avid EcoFarm attendee Amy Wu.
Keynote speakers Jonathan Lundgren and Leah Penniman will kick-off EcoFarm’s opening keynote session, presenting their perspectives on the future of agriculture that is based on both scientific research and traditional knowledge.
Bob Quinn, author of the book “Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs and Healthy Food,” will share his journey over the last several decades to turn his dryland Montana farm into a powerhouse of organic and regenerative agriculture.
The Successful Organic Farmers keynote session features three leading farms whose founders will share their stories and what they’ve learned along the way, including Emigdio Ballon, Scott Park and Ward and Rosie Burroughs.
The final keynote will be given by renowned author and scientist Dr. Vandana Shiva, who will address two paths to the future of food and farming and why ecological agriculture is ethical and imperative to survival.
The event starts with all-day pre-conference intensives on Jan. 21 and 22, including regenerative agriculture field day at Swanton Pacific Ranch, titled A Permaculture Collaborative: City Repair Meets Social Forestry, Organic Survival: Practical Strategies for Resistance, Resilience, and Regeneration, and Women/Womxn in Food & Agriculture: A Force With Nature.
All-day farm and bus tour, titled Organic Farming on the Central Coast, will visit Lakeside Organic Gardens, JSM Organics and Coastal Sun Cannabis & Coastal Moon Berry Farm, with an organic lunch prepared by acclaimed chef Jim Denevan of Outstanding in the Field.
The conference also offers an exhibitor marketplace, artisanal tastings, seed swaps, live music, an annual awards banquet and opportunities for farmers and ranchers to develop mentorships with industry experts. Attendees can choose single or multi-day passes with packages that include locally-sourced meals and on-site lodging at Asilomar State Beach & Conference Grounds.
The non-profit organizer EcoFarm provides scholarships for new and beginning farmers who seek to attend EcoFarm Conference at a reduced cost.
“I don’t think there’s a gathering that has inspired me more to stay the course as a farmer than this one right here,” said organic grower Thomas Broz of Live Earth Farm in Watsonville. “It’s so intoxicating to come to EcoFarm…there should be a sign that says, if you attend EcoFarm, you may get addicted to farming.”
To learn more about EcoFarm Conference and to register visit eco-farm.org/conference.