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  Eco-Farm Day adds Friday to format
Annual event boasts new features

By Catherine Thompson - AgriNews Staff Writer

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  • CORNWALL– Eco-Farm Day 2009 will emphasize the "Business of Farming - from Field to Fork" throughout two days of informative sessions on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall.

    "There are two major differences this year," conference president Tom Manley said. "We added a second day, Friday, in partnership with the Organic Council of Ontario, which is host for the day. They've put together a program on issues like certification standards and marketing that affect the organic sector and its develpment."

    The second major difference is the addition of bilingual content "because we wanted to reach out to Quebec and French producers," Manley continued.

    On Friday's agenda, the subject of direct market opportunities will be addressed by Dorene Collins, OMAFRA, Philip Powell, Farmers Markets of Ontario, Tom Waller, Elm Tree Farm, and Christina Anderman, Ottawa Valley Food Co-op.

    Also on Friday, Ted Zettel will speak about the new Canadian Regulatory Regime, referring to the organic sector's future and answering the question of control by big business and government.

    Ron McCoy of Sunny Crest Farm who is a member of Organic Meadow will discuss the challenges of transition to organic agriculture. One roundtable discussion deals with producer needs and issues and another with growing the organic sector in Ontario.

    Participants can enjoy a gala dinner on Friday evening at 6 p.m., featuring an organic high-quality buffet, possibly including lamb and pork with vegetarian options.

    "We go to growers for meats and salads and to wholesalers for what is not locally available. Volunteers take care of the menu and the meal is served by the Ramada Inn staff," Manley said.

    As guest speaker for the event, Eliot Coleman will provide some food for thought in an entertaining way.

    The next morning from 9-10 a.m., Coleman will address the business theme during the Saturday morning plenary session, which will be translated into French via headsets. Three English workshops will also be translated into French and three French workshops will be offered through the University of Guelph, Alfred Campus.

    Robert Berthiaume, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, will speak about "Plus de fourrages et moins de concentrés: une formule durable?"

    Simon Jacques, with Ecocert Canada will offer a workshop on "La certification biologique" and Simon Lachance at Alfred Campus will discuss "Modifier l'environnement agricole pour controller les insectes nuisibles".

    Instead of the traditional four streams, six streams will be offered on Saturday. In addition to the new French series, a business series hosted by the Cornwall Business Centre includes Coleman's topic, "Making a difference in your local food market", translated into French. Bob Peters, Cornwall Economic Development officer will talk about "Marketing in the Digital Age" while Theresa Taylor will speak about "Target Markets and Branding".

    The conference is partly funded by the Agricultural Adaptation Council of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

    To register for the event, call 613-932-7925 or register on-line at www.ecofarmday-8.ca, where a complete schedule of speakers and topics is available.

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