The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) will host a full-day preconference workshop, "Eco-Farming, Biodiversity and Soil Health: A Systems Approach to Enhancing Productivity," on Friday, February 14, as part of its 35th annual conference, Affirming Our Roots, Breaking New Ground.
"This in-depth event is designed to help ecological growers improve their productivity and profitability by learning how to enhance their use of natural soil amendments, cover crops, plasticulture and other methods to maximize their land's agroecosystem services," said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.
The preconference workshop will be offered as part of the state's largest sustainable food and farm conference, an event that draws more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest.
In addition to the soil health intensive preconference workshop, the 2014 conference on Saturday, February 15, and Sunday, February 16, will feature keynote speakers Atina Diffley and Kathleen Merrigan; more than 100 educational workshops; a trade show; activities for children and teens; locally sourced and organic homemade meals; and Saturday evening entertainment. A second preconference workshop on wholesale marketing will also be offered on Friday, February 14.
Rafiq Islam of Ohio State University's South Centers, along with OSU extension educators Randall Reeder, Jim Hoorman, Brad Bergefurd, Harit Kaur Bal, Alan Sundermeier, and Vinayak Shedekar, will lead the workshop, which will focus on the eco-farming systems approach, plasticulture production of organic fruits and vegetables, organic agroecosystems and biocontrol services, soil amendment and nutrient recycling, soil organic matter calculators, and soil health tests.
The preconference workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cherry Valley Lodge in Newark, Ohio. Preregistration is required and costs $60 for OEFFA members and $70 for nonmembers. For more information or to register, go to www.oeffa.org/conference2014
On Saturday and Sunday, the OEFFA conference will be held at the middle and high schools in Granville, Ohio. Separate registration is required for all conference events.