COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a planting season plagued by extreme weather, Ohio farmers now have an opportunity to better explore the concept of agricultural resiliency at an upcoming event. Registration is open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's 2020 Conference, a three-day event in Dayton that kicks off Feb. 13.
This year's theme is "A Climate for Change," which OEFFA Comunications Director Lauren Ketcham explained was coincidentally selected before farmers faced an unforgivably wet spring, followed by a bone-dry summer.
"A lot of grain farmers didn't get their crops in the ground; we've been hearing from farmers who have been experiencing a lot of stress related to financial instability as a result of the weather," Ketcham said. "We hope they'll be able to leave our conference with some practical information that they can put to use."
Ketcham said the event features speakers and sessions focused on creating a sustainable agricultural system that can mitigate climate risks, as well as a look at how addressing social justice can reform the food system. To learn more and to register for the conference, visit oeffa.org.
Along with sessions related to agricultural production and business management, Ketcham said workshops are also available on urban farming, food justice, beekeeping and composting. She added there will be a full-day session dedicated to hemp farming.
"We've been getting a lot of questions from farmers interested in hemp production, who are trying to understand the new rules and the lay of the land, and are also trying to gain information about how to farm hemp, because we've had decades where there's been very little research and very little information available," she said. "So it's really a new frontier."
Ketchum said the conference is not just for farmers. Gardeners, chefs, teachers, foodies and anyone who wants to learn more about sustainable agriculture are encouraged to attend. Special OEFFA membership pricing is available through this Thursday, December 12, and scholarship opportunities are available for beginning farmers, farmers of color and farmers who live in the Columbus area.
A version of this article was first published by Cleveland Scene.