The first time I encountered organic was circa 1976 in a little co-op in Iowa. Not only were we happily bagging herbs and cutting the cheese but we were encouraging our local farmers to grow organic food. Fast forward to 2017, and organic sales were $47 billion last year. The number of certified organic farms and businesses has reached 24,650 certified entities. Producers from across the continent supply the raw agricultural products that fuel this tremendous growth. The time has finally come for organic growers to congregate and cultivate relationships with each other along with service experts and supply providers.
It has taken far too long for a networking and educational venue just for the organic community to be born. The Organic Produce Network (OPN) and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) have teamed up to host the first-ever Organic Grower Summit (OGS) in Monterey, California December 13 -14, 2017.
This unique event will bring together producers and handlers from all sectors. Ag technology gurus, equipment providers, and packaging suppliers will all be there. It’s sure to be an innovative experience starting on Wednesday, December 13th. Just when many corners of the North America continent are shivering in pre-winter light, organic stakeholders from across the supply chain can chill out together in Monterey, California.
The registration desk opens at noon, and if you’re not off surfing, you can still sign up for an afternoon of PCA training with the Monterrey County Ag Commissioners. Their number is 831-759-7340.
The opening reception is Wednesday at 5:30 pm. Then the delicious festivities kick off at 7:30 pm that evening when the “We are Organic: CCOF Foundation Dinner” is served. Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food Agriculture, will be there offering up sage words for organic producers. We will also hear from Pascal Brooks and David Robles, two students who received grants from the Future Organic Farmer Grant Fund. Tickets for the event are available at www.ccof.org/weareorganic
Just a word on the CCOF Foundation: Their aim is to advance organic agriculture for a healthy world through programs that educate future organic farmers, help consumers understand organic, assist organic farmers in need, and provide ongoing training for organic professionals.
Thursday, December 14th will be filled with thought-provoking breakout sessions and stimulating keynote addresses. In the morning you have the choice of hearing about “Issues Facing Organic Farmers Today,” “Leveraging Precision Agriculture” or “Tools for Plant and Soil Health.”
Learn more about the “Organic Disruption – Cannabis: The Next Frontier,” the “Essentials of Sustainable Packaging through the Supply Chain” or “Clean and Renewable Technology.”
The keynotes will be especially motivating. Miles McEvoy, Former Deputy Administrator at AMS/USDA, will give a unique account of “A View from the Capitol.”
Don’t miss the invigorating roundtable discussion “From Wall Street to Main Street, Organic Means Good Business.” In it, you will hear the perspectives of Bill Reiman, Managing Director and Farmer at Gladstone Land Corp, Stan Pura, Founder and Organic Farmer at Mission Ranches, along with Jeff Huckaby, President of Grimmway Farms.
Sun Basket COO Don Barnett has been confirmed as the final keynote presenter at the Organic Grower Summit.
Wendell Berry once pondered “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants… They love to work outdoors.”
Come indoors for a few days and join other organic farmers, suppliers, service providers, packaging companies, technology firms, and equipment manufacturers to discuss organic opportunities, share ideas, and build relationships in Monterey.
© 2017, Melody Meyer. All rights reserved.