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Organics, sustainability focus of California conference

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

Registration is being taken for the 2014 EcoFarm Conference, one of the West's largest gatherings for organic and environmentally conscious producers. The Jan. 22-25 event will be held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, Calif.

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — Registration is being taken for one of the West’s largest conferences for organic and environmentally conscious producers, which will take place here next month.

Some 1,500 farmers, marketers, activists, educators and others are expected to attend the 34th annual EcoFarm Conference Jan. 22-25 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds.

Workshops will offer ideas on such topics as water and soil management, processing and distribution systems, habitat restoration, livestock and range management, regional food systems and food safety, according to the conference website.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on this year, a lot of interesting things,” said Sam Earnshaw, a former Santa Cruz, Calif., vegetable and flower grower who now works in conservation plantings.

Earnshaw said the conference isn’t just for small producers.

“We’ve been doing it for a long time and a lot of farmers from all over the country and world come to it,” he said. “Sustainable agriculture and farming are really important. Organic is probably the fastest growing part of agriculture. A lot of the big farms were saying it couldn’t be done, and now we have some of the biggest farms doing it.”

Among the dozens of presenters lined up for this year’s event are Temple Grandin, a nationally known author and consultant to the livestock industry, and former U.S. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

Kicking off the conference will be a Jan. 22 bus tour showcasing organic farming on the Central Coast.

EcoFarm – the Ecological Farming Association – is a nonprofit educational organization formed in 1981. The group gets funding through various activities and projects, donations, grants, memberships and business sponsorships, according to its website.

At the heart of the group’s calendar is the conference, which also features tastings of local wine and beer, live entertainment and an exhibitor marketplace with more than 50 vendors.

For more information, contact info@eco-farm.org or call (831) 763-2111.

Online

EcoFarm Conference: http://ecofarm2014.org



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