IOWA CITY, Iowa – The annual Iowa Organic Conference begins this weekend, and will feature a special movie at the University of Iowa Memorial Union: “Dreaming of a Vetter World.”
The movie will be shown Sunday, Nov. 24, at 3 p.m., and highlights the Vetter family, who have a diverse organic rotation and run Grain Place Foods, in Marquette, Nebraska. The farm employs 30 people who clean, pack and ship more than 80 organic grains around the world.
On the Vetter farm, the most important “crop” is the soil, which is supported by long rotations that include small grains like barley, and integrating crops and livestock. This movie comes at a time when interest in farming organically and regenerating soil has grown exponentially worldwide. The filmmaker, Bonnie Hawthorne, will be speaking via Zoom, and the farmer entrepreneur, David Vetter, will talk in person.
The movie follows the theme of the Organic Conference of “Diversity and Profitability.” The conference is a joint effort between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. Producers and experts from across the country will share tips for transitioning into organic production and methods to enhance organic operations.
The keynote speaker is Alex Heilman, of Mercaris, speaking on “Profitability of Organic Ag: Now and Into the Future.”
On Monday, Nov. 25, breakout sessions start at 8 a.m. and include information on transitioning into organic farming, weed management, organic livestock production, and alternative crops such as hops and hemp. Sessions on improving soil quality, pest management and water quality will round out the day.
The lunch on Monday afternoon will highlight local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal by Barry Greenberg, executive chef, and his University of Iowa dining team.
Exhibitors range from organic seed sales, to local food system nonprofits, to government offices working with transitioning and certified organic farmers.
Conference registration is available online: https://register.extension.iastate.edu/iowaorganic.
Registration is $100, which includes lunch and the vendor show. Hotel rooms are available at the Iowa House Hotel for Sunday, Nov. 24. Guests can access room reservations by going to the hotel website and entering group #1280, or calling the hotel at 319-335-3513 and mentioning the Iowa Organic Conference.