Hope & Main to Host Northeast Organic Farmers Association of Rhode Island’s Winter Conference on March 29

WARREN, RI – The organic food industry has been one of the fastest growing segments of the business, as consumers seek to know more about where and how their food is grown.

On Sunday, March 29, farmers, gardeners and food producers alike are invited to join the annual Northeast Organic Farming Association of Rhode Island (NOFA-RI) Winter Conference hosted by Hope & Main. The conference serves as a platform where devotees of organic agriculture can share practices and experiences, and help drive more attention to the movement to create healthy soils, nourishing food and viable ecosystems through organic growing.

Keynote speaker Jeff Lowenfels, an award-winning author and lecturer, will kick off the conference with “Teaming with Microbes: The Soil Food Web,” a presentation about gardening in a way that strengthens the soil food web and allows gardeners to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals. Lowenfels is founder of Plant a Row for the Hungry, a national program that encourages gardeners to plant one extra row of food in their gardens dedicated to feeding the hungry. An international proponent of organics, Lowenfels was host of the garden radio show “The Garden Party” and was editor of the Harvard Lampoon, a humor magazine. A former president of the Garden Writers Association, Fellow and Hall of Fame Member, he is known for his humorous and insightful talks on organic gardening across the country.

Elizabeth Henderson, an experienced organic farmer and advocate of Peacework Farm, will also be featured as a speaker at the conference with “Five Steps to a Food Justice Farm.” Henderson represents NOFA at national discussions on organic standards and is on the Board of the Agricultural Justice Project. She has been honored by the organic industry with one of the first “Spirit of Organic” awards and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in from NOFA-NY. Henderson co-authored The Real Dirt: Farmers Tell about Organic and Low-Input Practices in the Northeast and Whole Farm Planning and was the lead author of Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture.

Other conference sessions include “Farming with Nature: Improving Soil Health on Vegetable Farms,” “Woodlot and Forest Management Opportunities,” “Welcoming Pollinators to Your Farm and Garden,” and “Managing for Soil Health Begins with a Soil Health Assessment.”

The NOFA-RI Winter Conference will take place at Hope & Main, 691 Main Street in Warren. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 4:30 p.m. Exhibitor tables are available to vendors or nonprofit organizations. A potluck luncheon will be served.

The event is open to the public; attendees must register in advance. Early-bird registration ends on February 15. For additional information and registration, please visit: http://nofari.org/events/winter-conference/.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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