The Organicology conference in Portland, Oregon the first week of February offered education, workshops, and networking opportunities for thousands of organic enthusiasts and stakeholders. The conference included discussions on a broad array of topics, from business and marketing issues to the transition and growth of organic farmland. Much of the talk revolved around the opportunity for increasing organic production in the U.S. in order to fulfill growing demand currently being met with imported product. Opportunity abounds, but not without serious challenges. Hearing directly from farmers and everyone along the supply chain at this conference, the message was clear. We all need to work together on solutions that will move us toward a significant increase in organic agriculture in the U.S.
Brise Tencer, OFRF’s Executive Director, was one of four speakers participating in the listening session, Looking to the Future: Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Policy in the Next Farm Bill. The roundtable discussion focused on how to defend and strengthen key programs and policies that benefit organic producers. The session also provided the opportunity for attendees to give feedback regarding policy needs and options.
In another presentation from OFRF, Research Program Associate, Joanna Ory, provided an overview of future research needs based on OFRF’s review of USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) OREI and ORG organic program funding between 2002-2014, OFRF’s national survey of organic farmers and ranchers, and a review of OFRF funded projects between 2006-2014. Ory also presented a poster on OFRF’s 2016 National Organic Research Agenda during the conference poster session.
Mas Masumoto, an organic peach, nectarine, and raisin farmer on 80 acres south of Fresno, California, provided an an inspiring keynote address Thursday evening, reading passages from some of the ten books he’s published. Friday morning’s keynote speaker, Eric Holt-Giménez, Executive Director of Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, talked about the need for activism to create a global sustainable food system.
Thanks to everyone involved for another great conference.