The Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (OEFFA) is hosting its 37th Annual Conference: Growing Right by Nature this weekend. Starting on Friday, Feb. 12 and running through Sunday, Feb. 14, the conference features approximately 100 workshops, local and organic meals, full-day pre-conference events, a kids’ conference, childcare, a trade show, Saturday evening entertainment, and more.
Several faculty and staff will be presenting or in attendance at this year's conference.
Steve Culman, assistant professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), will lead a workshop on Sunday, “The Active Organic Matter in Your Soil.” Culman will share information on what active organic matter is, why it’s important in your soils and how it is measured in soil tests. He’ll also highlight some of the research he is leading and ways farmer can become engaged. His presentation is in Room 7 starting at 9:30 a.m.
Researchers from the SENR are in the process of building a decision-making tool to help organic farmers evaluate different weed-management strategies. One of the most important objectives of this process is to ensure that the tool speaks to actual farmers, their values and concerns, the practices they use (and might consider using), as well as how they make decisions and measure success. Doug Bessette, a senior research associate, and Olivia Carros, an undergraduate researcher, both in the SENR will be at the OEFFA conference to speak with organic farmers and recruit farmers to engage with the tool and advise on its development. Bessette and Carros will be interacting with farmers in the Exhibit Hall (at the Organic Food and Farming Education and Research exhibit) from 11:30 to 12:30 on both Saturday and Sunday.
Ryan Hottle, a lecturer and graduate of the SENR, will also present at the conference. “Carbon Farming: Climate Change Impacts and Opportunities for Regenerative Agriculture” starts at 1:30 p.m. in Room B.
The SENR Career Development team, including Trish Raridan Preston, will be in attendance sharing information with Ohio’s agricultural community on the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs, providing information on connecting with our students to offer internship experiences, and promoting the Environmental Professionals Network events. Also participating is Gina Hnytka, who will be bringing a group of students representing the Students Understanding Sustainability and Taking Action to Improve Nature and Society (SUSTAINS) Learning Community.
The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is a sponsor of this year’s conference.