Auburn University to co-sponsor November conference on organic vegetable production

AUBURN – The sixth annual Alabama Organic Vegetable Production Conference and Trade Fair will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11 and 12, at the Solon Dixon Conference Center in Andalusia. The conference is sponsored by Auburn University, the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network.

Farmers, home gardeners, Extension agents and others interested in producing and marketing organic products are invited to attend the conference, titled “Meeting the Challenges of Organic Farming in Alabama.”

Registration begins at 10 a.m. Nov. 11, and the conference kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with a presentation by Albert Bates, a lawyer, author, teacher and influential figure in the ecovillage movement. He is director of the Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm, a community near Summertown, Tenn., that is based on principles of nonviolence, sustainable living and respect for the earth.

The Keynote speaker at Tuesday evening’s banquet will be Melissa Boutwell of Boutwell Farms, a certified organic livestock and grain family farming operation in the Wiregrass region of Alabama. Her topic will be “Season for Sustainability: The Changing Environment of Food.”

Some of the topics that will be covered are mushroom production, soil building, seed saving, marketing strategies, soil health, pest and disease protection, permaculture techniques, greenhouse plant production and farming with horses.

The conference trade fair will feature exhibits by various regional food and agricultural organizations and organic farm supply companies, as well as by Alabama farms, wineries and ranches. There will be live acoustic music by the Gold Hill Clothesliners.

The deadline for pre-registering isOct. 24. Space is limited and pre-registration is suggested. The $75 registration fee covers the conference sessions, resource materials, the trade fair social event and three meals featuring organically grown vegetables, meats and cheeses produced by Alabama producers. Tickets for the Tuesday night banquet featuring organic beef from Boutwell Farms can be purchased separately upon registration. Lodging is available on site. Scholarships are available.

The conference program and registration form can be found online at http://www.ag.auburn.edu/aaes/organicveg. For more information, call (334) 844-2124.

Immediately following the conference, the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network will host its annual Community Food Leaders Forum at the Solon Dixon Conference Center. The Nov. 12-13 forum’s theme will be “Seed to Table: Shaping Our Local Food Systems.” Registration information for the forum can be found online at http://www.asanonline.org/forum.htm.

(Contributed by Mecca Lowe.)

Contact: Jamie Creamer, (334) 844-2783 (creamjs@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)