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Make sure you get your tickets early to get the best pricing and because many events, meals, and convenient hotel rooms are sure to sell out again! We look forward to celebrating 40 years of OEFFA when the annual conference returns to Dayton this February!
Prices increase January 18
|Adult 1 Day||$90||$125|
|Food and Farm School*||$80||$100|
Let Us Know What You Need!
We want the conference to be a welcome and positive space for everyone. If you have concerns about enjoying the conference due to physical limitations or accessibility issues, please let us know and we'll work with you to try to find a solution.
In February, prior to conference, a downloadable pdf version of the full program will be available on this page. If you need our materials in a different format or if parking in the garage presents a challenge for you, we may have ideas that can help!
If you have other concerns, or ideas for how we can make the conference a more inclusive space for everyone, please contact Milo Petruziello at email@example.com or (614) 421-2022.
Friday Keynote Speaker
Creating a Food System Worth Sustaining
Elizabeth Henderson is a pioneer of the community supported agriculture (CSA) model and outspoken advocate working to address the many injustices of a cheap food system.
She co-founded the Genesee Valley Organic CSA in Rochester, NY in 1989, and later Peacework Farm in Newark, NY in 1998, where she's farmed for more than 30 years.
She's the author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture and her writings on organic agriculture appear in Grist, The Natural Farmer, and other publications.
She is a core leader behind the Agricultural Justice Project and its Food Justice Certification label, working to create fairness for farmers and farmworkers. She helped to shape the National Organic Foods Production Act, is a member of the board of Directors of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, and is honorary president of the international CSA network, Urgenci.
Saturday Keynote Speaker
Unearthing Our Roots
Onika Abraham is a farmer and educator with more than 15 years of experience in teaching, nonprofit management, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
She was a teacher at Farm School NYC, before becoming its Executive Director in 2014, where she works to recruit students that reflect the diversity of New York City and help cultivate future leaders in the food justice movement. The organization trains local residents in urban agriculture to help them achieve their professional farming goals.
She has completed the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Brooklyn Urban Gardener certification program and the 1,000 hour Farm and Garden Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) in Santa Cruz.
She served on CASFS's Social Justice Action Committee, helping expand the curriculum, diversify staff and faculty, and create more support systems for apprentices of color.
Onika is one of the co-founders of Black Urban Growers and has helped organize three national Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conferences.
She has previously served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Safe Horizon, which empowers victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
Schedule is subject to change. Events will be held at the Dayton Convention Center, unless otherwise noted.
Food and Farm School, The Contrary Farmers' Social, and The Cream of the Crop Banquet registrations and lunches must be purchased separately; They are not included in general registration.
*OEFFA members are invited to attend the member meeting at no cost. The Exhibit Hall is open to the public on Thursday from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and Friday from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Thursday's Soil Health Workshop and Farm Land and Labor Mixer are also free and open to the public. All other conference events require paid registration.
10:00 a.m. -4:30 p.m.
Agroforestry is an intensive farming system that intentionally combines trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock on the land to optimize biological interactions to maximize farm output and environmental services. John Munsell, Catherine Bukowski, John Fike, and Katie Trozzo of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will provide a comprehensive primer on agroforestry and practical applications in urban, suburban, and rural areas and the techniques underpinning highly productive operations. This session is ideal for beginning forest farmers, early career farmers, or experienced farmers looking to enhance their management with agroforestry principles. Topics include: agroforestry principles and concepts; silvopasture and alley cropping; multi-functional riparian buffers and forest farming; windbreaks, multi-story cropping, and community food forests. The session will include a mixture of slide shows, discussion, and planning and design exercises using virtual reality and pen and paper.
8:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m.
Join author Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin and Tony Wells of the Main Street Project for a full-day workshop, which will cover regenerative poultry production and system-level design, farm-level production, and local, regional, and national implementation strategies. It will also help you align farm enterprise and system-level enterprise management based on five core areas. Reginaldo and Tony will describe the process for organizing and deploying fully integrated regional farm clusters designed to solve some of the most critical aspects of launching a regenerative poultry industry such as feed, poultry processing, steps to achieving scale, manure management, grain growing, and game-changing innovations that are revolutionizing the labor and cost of producing top quality poultry at a larger scale.
Get an A-to-Z exploration of this innovative system design, learn about enterprise stacking and integration and its value as a foundation for building a regenerative poultry industry sector, and discover how you can integrate more than 14 enterprise sectors capable of generating large-scale results.
10:00 a.m. -4:30 p.m.
"Lean" is a Japanese work method designed to increase the flow of value in a workplace with less labor. Toyota, in particular, is looked to as a model of this lean approach. In this workshop, Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables, and co-owner of Clay Bottom Farm in Indiana, will explain how he and his wife, Rachel, use concepts borrowed from lean to earn a comfortable living working about 35 hours per week each on less than an acre of land.
The workshop will cover management strategies like heijunka (load-leveling), 5S organizing, and kaizen (continuous improvement), as well as production techniques like single-piece flow. He will also cover Clay Bottom Farm's specific techniques for growing a range of vegetables with lean thinking. He will explain how they use lean to reach their sales goals while ensuring they have time to spend with family and friends and on hobbies they enjoy.
10:00 a.m. -4:30 p.m.
Spend a day with leading organic grain farmer, educator, and consultant, Gary McDonald of Organic Resources as he discusses the nuances of his holistic approach to healthy soil and clean crops. Gary will draw on his decades of experience in organic farming to provide practical strategies with proven results. Learn Gary's bio-"logical" system for biological proliferation and nitrogen fixation, including crop rotations, tillage, and cover crops. He will also review the finer points of mechanical weed control.
Food and Farm School pre-registration is required. Check-in opens at 8:00 a.m.
Lunch is included.
Catherine Bukowski—Catherine Bukowski is a researcher, author, educator, and PhD candidate at Virginia Tech. She is also a consultant with Kindred Roots Design focusing on creating abundant landscapes and growing connected communities. She is the co-author of The Community Food Forest Handbook: How to Plan, Organize, and Nurture Edible Gathering Places.
Ben Hartman—Ben Hartman is the author of The Lean Farm, and winner of the Shingo Institute's Prestigious Research and Professional Publication Award. He and his wife, Rachel Hershberger, own and operate Clay Bottom Farm in Indiana, where they make their living on less than one acre growing and selling specialty produce to restaurants, at a farmers' market, and through their community supported agriculture program.
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin—Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin, of the Main Street Project, is a native Guatemalan who began working on economic development in indigenous communities in 1988. He is a founder of Regeneration International and Regeneration Agriculture Alliance, and an advisory board member for the Savanna Institute. He is co-owner of Regeneration Farms and Tree-Range Chicken in Minnesota and is the author of In the Shadow of Green Man.
Ed Maltby—Ed Maltby has more than 45 years of experience managing conventional and organic dairy, beef, sheep, and vegetable enterprises. Since 2005, Ed has worked as Executive Director of the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, an organic family farm member organization. He has served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dairy Industry Advisory Committee and on the Executive Committee of the National Organic Coalition.
Gary McDonald—Gary McDonald was raised on an Illinois grain and livestock farm. An early leader in organic farming, he rented his first farm in 1979 and transitioned more than 800 acres to organic production and served as the first president of the Illinois Organic Crop Improvement Association. Today, Gary manages an organic grain farm and provides consultation services to those transitioning their land to certified organic.
Abby Youngblood—Since 2015, Abby Youngblood has served as the Executive Director of the National Organic Coalition, an alliance of farmers, nonprofits, and companies dedicated to organic integrity. Abby lives in Massachusetts and has been a passionate participant in the organic farming and food justice movement for nearly two decades.
Thursday, February 14—7:00-9:00 p.m.
2nd Street Market, 600 E. 2nd St., Dayton, Ohio
Kick off the weekend and help us celebrate our 40th anniversary by joining us at Dayton's 2nd Street Market for an evening celebration of our community named in memory of Ohio's beloved Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon. Guests will sample fine small plates prepared by 2nd Street Market vendors and local beer as they walk the historic market building enjoying live music and good company.
Tickets are $30 and include food and drinks. Registration to the social must be purchased separately. Conference registration is not required in order to attend. Cash bar available.
NETWORKING AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Join other food and farm enthusiasts to share information and make connections during these free events. Although there is no cost to attend, please pre-register, where indicated.
Thursday, February 14—1:00-4:30 p.m.
This interactive workshop will help strip away some of the complexity of soil testing and soil health, providing practical advice for improving soils. Bring your own soil test results and receive help interpreting what the numbers mean. Participants will walk away with a better understanding of soils, soil testing, and soil health; be able to successfully navigate soil test reports; and learn concrete steps to improve soil health in their fields. The Ohio State University, as part of their work to build bridges between the knowledge base held by farmers and the agricultural research community, is offering this training at no cost. Reserve your spot at www.oeffa.org/q/osusoilhealth.
Thursday, February 14—5:00-6:30 p.m.
If you need a farm, or need a farmer, attend this informal networking reception designed to connect farm hands and aspiring farmers with established farmers looking for employees, retiring farmers interested in a transition plan, and landowners with land to lease. For more details, and to reserve your spot, visit www.oeffa.org/q/getland.
THE CREAM OF THE CROP BANQUET
Friday, February 15—6:30-8:30 p.m.
After a day of learning and networking, OEFFA welcomes you to treat yourself to a refined dinner with friends. The Cream of the Crop Banquet will feature a special menu of locally-sourced fare created by Chef Aaron Watson. This is a full service, seated meal so you can sit back and savor the evening as we celebrate OEFFA's 40th anniversary.
Tickets are $35 and include your choice of non-alcoholic or adult beverage. Banquet registration must be purchased separately. Conference registration is not required in order to attend. Cash bar available.
We incorporate organic and/or local meats, dairy products, vegetables, and grains into our meal offerings. Given this sourcing work, a limited number of meals are available for sale. If you plan to eat a conference lunch, we recommend buying it in advance. Vegan and gluten-free meals cannot be guaranteed.
Conference registration is required for lunch purchases. Lunch is not included in Friday and Saturday registration. Thursday lunch is included in Food and Farm School registration. Children 5 and under eat free.
Diversity is key to resilience in agriculture, important not only in what farmers grow, but in the farmers themselves. The pathway to a healthier food system includes diverse people working together. Thanks to generous funds from the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) and others, OEFFA is able to offer a limited number of scholarships to welcome people of color, particularly Ohio-based growers or producers who have not attended an OEFFA conference before, would not likely be in a position to attend without the scholarship, and whose attendance would bring new and diverse thought and experience to the conference.
To apply, fill out an application or call Renee Hunt at (614) 947-1642. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. Scholarships will be awarded beginning the week of January 7, so don't wait to apply.
OEFFA's Begin Farming workshops will be devoted exclusively to helping farmers start or improve their operations, with sessions on developing a backyard community supported agriculture (CSA) program, raising and direct marketing your multi-species livestock products, drip irrigation demonstrations, developing effective cattle fencing systems, funding innovative farm projects, managing employees, and more.
To help budding farmers access these educational opportunities, OEFFA is offering a limited number of full scholarships for early career farmers.
To see if you're eligible or to apply, fill out an application. Applications are due by January 11 and selected recipients will be notified before Early Bird registration ends.
These workshops and scholarships are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. For more information, go to www.oeffa.org/q/beginfarming.
Scholarships are awarded on a first come-first served basis, so don't delay!
You can save $80 or more off registration if you help us at the conference. In exchange for four hours of on-site work, pre-approved volunteers may pre-register for both days of the conference for only $60. No further discount applies and meals are not included. Limited opportunities are available, so don't wait to sign up. For more information or to sign up, contact Renee Hunt at (614) 947-1642 or firstname.lastname@example.org before January 7.
If you'd like to volunteer just to volunteer, we also need help in the office during the weeks leading up to conference and help with set up on Thursday, February 14. Let us know if you can pitch in.
We encourage parents and caregivers to bring the family! Kathleen "Kat" Christen of Smaller Footprint Farm and Antioch College Farm is organizing this year's Kids' Conference, which offers 6-12 year olds educational and fun hands-on activities. Kat previously worked for Five Rivers MetroParks and has developed and taught programs in urban gardens in Dayton.
Child care is available for younger children. Megan DeLaurentis will again organize and offer age-appropriate activities and time to take a nap.
Private space for nursing will be available. Children must be with parents during meal times.
With almost 80 workshops offered, how do you choose? You don't have to! Dove Audio Visual will give you the choice of purchasing individual workshop and keynote presentation MP3 recordings, or the complete set for one low price. Order on-site or after the event at www.dovecds.com/oeffa.
Friday, February 15—5:15 p.m.
Since this is OEFFA's 40th conference, our plan is to hold a quick annual meeting to elect our Board of Trustees, share important information, and check in with our members. We'll then adjourn to the Exhibit Hall for a social gathering. Please join us!
All are welcome here. OEFFA values diversity within our organization and at our annual conference. Like in ecological agriculture, diversity plays an important role in cultivating symbiotic and sustainable relationships between both plants and humans. A community that embraces everyone regardless of race, nationality, creed, political belief, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or ability braves the harshest season and bears the sweetest fruit.
If you have concerns about enjoying the conference due to physical limitations or accessibility issues, please let us know and we'll try to work with you to find a solution.
Workshops are subject to change. With almost 80 workshops, covering everything from commercial production, livestock, food and farm policy, urban agriculture, research, sustainable living, and more, OEFFA's conference has something to offer everyone! Workshop descriptions will be available soon.
Enjoy an expanded Exhibit Hall which now has space for larger equipment displays, live demonstrations, and congregation areas! As always, the trade show will be packed with a diversity of vendors, offering you a one-stop shopping experience. You'll find businesses that can help you find your market, products that you can use on your farm or in your backyard, services that will help your farm or homestead succeed, quality locally-produced merchandise for your pantry and home, and useful information from knowledgeable nonprofit and educational institutions. Be sure to check out all that the Exhibit Hall has to offer, including OEFFAstead—home to all things OEFFA in the trade show.
Try your luck for a chance to win a variety of wonderful products and services, courtesy of many of our exhibitors, sponsors, and other conference supporters. Funds raised support OEFFA’s educational work.
Don't forget your OEFFA swag! Aluminum "No Spray" and other signs and organic logo stickers will be for sale.
Are you certified organic or considering certification? Bring your questions and paperwork! OEFFA Certification staff will be on hand to provide one-on-one assistance and to answer questions about the organic certification process, organic standards, and certification guidelines.
Here's your chance to get great deals on scads of food and farming book titles! We also encourage you to donate your gently used farm and food books at conference, or before the event. Book sales support OEFFA's work.
This year's author table will feature:
Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell (The Community Food Forest Handbook)
Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin (In the Shadow of Green Man)
Ben Hartman (The Lean Farm)
Te'Lario Watkins II (Te'Lario's Amazing Mushroom Farm)
John Wiley (An Inconvenient Herd)
Wondering about the nuances of compost? Curious which fertility inputs yield the most beneficial return? Our Exhibit Hall vendors are glad you asked!
New this year, there will be a demonstration space for vendors to showcase and discuss their products, services, and resources. Rotating demonstrations scheduled during the Exhibit Hall break periods will feature innovative technologies, time-tested products, and valuable supportive services available to you and your farm. Come with questions and leave with ideas.
With an expanded Exhibit Hall space, there will also be seating areas within the trade show for attendees and exhibitors to relax, reflect, and engage with fellow conference-goers.
$105.00 per night
(ask for the OEFFA group rate; do not call the general 1-800 number)
The Crowne Plaza is attached to the Dayton Convention Center by a convenient enclosed walking bridge. Complimentary parking in the Transportation Center garage attached to the hotel is included (for vehicles under 6’8”).
$82.00 per night
(ask for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association room block; Deadline for reservations: February 1.)
Complimentary shuttle services will be provided to the Dayton Convention Center if room block goals are achieved.
For a list of other nearby hotel options, click here.
Parking is available in the Transportation Center parking garage () for $6 per day maximum ($2 per hour, $1 per partial hour), or at no cost for Crowne Plaza Dayton guests.
The garage is located one block east of the Dayton Convention Center on 5th St. at Jefferson St. The garage offers a covered skywalk on Level 1 that connects to the third floor of the convention center.
Please pay for your parking before you get in your car to leave the facility by using the pay stations located on Level 1 (the skywalk level) at the parking garage.
The pay stations are located directly across from the elevators on the right as you are walking across the skywalk to the garage. They are located immediately on the right before you get to the elevators, which will be straight ahead.
Please note, there are no cashiers stationed at the exits. Credit/debit cards are the only form of payment that are accepted at the exits and are subject to additional charges if used at the exit. To use cash, you must use a pay station that is located on Level 1 of the parking garage. The pay station will also accept credit and debit cards.
For more information and directions, visit the Dayton Convention Center website.
In the event that the Transportation Center parking garage is full, overflow parking is available at the Montgomery County Reibold Building parking garage () on E. 5th St. between Main St. and Ludlow St.
There's lots to see and do in Dayton when you join us for the conference! Dayton offers the best of both worlds: the dining, nightlife, and buzz of the city, at a size and scale that makes it easy to get around and enjoy. Check out some of these nearby attractions:
Conference artwork created by Kevin Morgan Studio. Conference photography provided by Ed Chen.