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Serving: IA

Iowa Organic Conference to be held virtually

Courtesy of ISU Cornfield with barn in background.
TIMELY TOPICS: Surviving the pandemic and keeping soil organisms active and productive are key themes of the Nov. 23 Iowa Organic Conference.
The 20th annual conference will be Nov. 23, with a half-day of online presentations.

The 2020 edition of the annual Iowa Organic Conference will be held virtually this year on Nov. 23 in keeping with COVID-19 regulations. A half-day of presentations and interactions with industry experts will take the place of the normal in-person meeting.

The conference, now in its 20th year, is a joint activity sponsored by the Iowa State University Organic Ag Program and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The usual trade show of vendors will be replaced with a virtual show of exhibitors and sponsors, including organic grain buyers, organic seed purveyors, local food system nonprofits, and government offices working with transitioning and certified organic farmers.

Organic market growing

“The U.S. market for organic products reached $55.1 billion in 2019, and even with 5 million certified organic acres in the U.S., the demand for organic grains and produce continues to exceed supply,” says Kathleen Delate, professor and Extension organic specialist in horticulture with Iowa State University Extension. “Growers everywhere are encouraged to consider the potential for organic production to reap premium prices and environmental benefits.”

Keynote speaker of the virtual conference is Tom Harding, an international expert in organic marketing and trade. Harding brings a message of hope for surviving the pandemic through organic practices and will discuss how the general public is purchasing more organic products than ever.

Other speakers include Joseph Heckman, soil scientist from Rutgers University and an organic farmer, talking about ways to keep your soil active and productive to support bountiful organic crops and livestock.

Special presentations

This session will be a tribute to a longtime Iowa organic soil science researcher and favorite conference speaker, Cindy Cambardella, who recently passed away.

Also speaking will be Jordan and Whitney Clasen of Grade A Gardens, a certified organic farm in Johnston, Iowa, famous for its vegetables and COVID-conscious farmers market in Des Moines this year.

A well-anticipated tradition of past organic conferences was the conference meals prepared by UI award-winning executive chef, Barry Greenberg, and his team. This year, Greenberg and Anne Watson will present a virtual cooking demonstration, using local and organic produce, meats and dairy products assembled into a gourmet meal.

Anyone who is interested can register for the event and be provided log-in instructions for participating that day.

Learn from industry innovators

“The Iowa Organic Conference has been the largest university-sponsored organic conference in the country,” says ISU’s Delate. “We are hopeful that viewers will see the benefit of logging on and learning about innovators in the industry and celebrate the goodness of the organic harvest this year, despite the tremendous challenges from COVID-19, the drought and the derecho.”

For additional information, visit the conference webpage or contact Delate at kdelate@iastate.edu or 515-294-5116.

Source: ISU, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

 

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