Upcoming Conference Spotlights Organic Agriculture

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Registration is now open for the Twelfth Annual Iowa Organic Conference, to be held on the University of Iowa campus on Nov. 18 and 19. Farmers, extension staff, industry representatives and students are invited to learn about science-based research in organic agriculture and practical applications for Iowa farms.

The conference will open with a reception on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 18 at the UI Memorial Union, and continue with a full-day program of speakers, workshops and exhibits on Monday.

“Iowa State University is very excited to be partnering with the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability and New Pioneer Food Cooperative in Iowa City to bring a new perspective to the conference,” said Kathleen Delate, ISU conference organizer.     

The morning keynote speaker will be Will Allen, who will address the conference theme of “Organic Farming: What You Do Makes a Difference.” The recipient of a McArthur Genius Grant, Allen founded Growing Power LLC, a nonprofit center for urban agriculture training and community food systems.  

“I like nothing better than to get my hands into good, rich soil and sow the seeds of hope,” said Allen, who is involved in organic farming projects and outreach programs throughout the world.

The afternoon keynote speaker will be Fred Kirschenmann, Leopold Center Distinguished Fellow and an organic farmer. Kirschenmann will speak about how organic principles can address a future with peak oil, rising fuel prices and limits on fertilizer supplies.

Both Allen and Kirschenmann received the Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2011, which honors pioneers who have inspired positive action to improve the country’s food systems.

Other speakers at the conference will address strategies for dealing with drought, local food systems, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), certification cost-share programs, alternative grain crops, cover crops, organic food research and more. Farmers will offer tips for best practices during the transition to organic farming, and Delate will discuss data from the 15-year-old Long Term Agroecological Research project, a comparison of organic and conventional crop rotations.

The conference includes an all-organic lunch prepared by UI Dining Services chef Barry Greenberg and his staff, made with local and regional organic products and produce grown by students at UI and ISU.

Register online at http://iowaorganicconference.eventbrite.com or contact Kathleen Delate at (515) 294-7069 or kdelate@iastate.edu. Discounted early registration ends Oct. 28. Details about how to become a sponsor or exhibitor are also available on the event website.


Photo (1.9 MB): Will Allen, of Growing Power, LLC
, will keynote the Iowa Organic Conference in Iowa City, Nov. 19, 2012. Credit: Growing Power, LLC