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EcoFarm Conference touts sustainable agriculture

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Organic farmer Phil Foster (left) and horticulturist Eric Brennan inspect leaves of red chard on Foster's diverse organic farm in San Juan Bautista, Calif.
42nd annual event to be held in person Jan. 19-22.

One of the West's most influential events promoting sustainable agriculture will return to an in-person format next month, as the 42nd EcoFarm Conference is set to be held Jan. 19-22 in Pacific Grove, Calif.

The Ecological Farming Association's annual gathering at the Asilomar State Beach & Conference Center will feature speakers, skill-building workshops, a farming business expo, seed swaps, networking events including Women in Ag, and farm tours.

With the theme, "Rooted in Resilience," the conference will bring together armers, ranchers, distributors, retailers, activists, researchers, and educators focused on the future of food and farming. The conference will enact strict COVID-19 precautions, including a vaccination requirement, after the 2021 event was held virtually because of coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

"As individuals and as EcoFarm, if we want to be resilient, we must be rooted – in place, in community, and in our values," EFA Executive Director Andy Fisher writes on the conference's website. "For EcoFarm, this translates into our commitment to our mission of fostering healthy, just, safe and ecologically sustainable farms and communities.

"It means staying true to our values and standing up for what is right," he adds. "And it means prioritizing bringing the EcoFarm community together in person after a year’s absence. We’re beyond excited at the thought of old and new friends gathering at Asilomar once again in January."

Speakers and tours

The EFA is also bringing back its pre-conference events, which begin Jan. 14 and include farm tours in the Bay Area and Central Coast, an Indigenous Land Rematriation and Regenerative Food Production at Pie Ranch in Pescadero, Calif., and a no-till systems workshop.

Keynote speakers during the main conference include:

  • Elizabeth Hoover; associate professor at University of California, Berkeley, whose work centers on food sovereignty and environmental justice for Native American communities.
  • Mark Arax; bestselling author and journalist on California agriculture and history.
  • Mario Sifuentez; a UC Merced history professor focusing on water wars and equity in California's Central Valley.
  • Ricardo Salvador; director and senior scientist of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, who promotes a food system that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices.

Registration is being taken through Jan. 17. To register, click here.

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