The January organic conference at Guelph has consolidated its hold as the biggest in Canada, attracting more than 2,000 people, more than 160 exhibitors and more than 45 program speakers over the four days.
“In these so-called recession times, the organic crowds are still pretty inspiring,” said conference manager Tom Nimmo.
“We call it Organic Central . . . (because of ) the hundreds who travelled from all over Canada to attend.
As awareness around “society’s carbon footprint” widens, the terms “local” and “organic” are becoming synonymous, as pointed out by keynote presenter and author, Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council, the conference team said in a news release.
One new feature this year was a Farmers’ Markets Forum with a panel made up of market organizers, a farmer and an educated consumer.
Hermann Bruns, a certified, production-scale organic market gardener from British Columbia’s North Okanagan where he started the Revelstoke Farmers’ Market, had some valuable tips to add to the discussion dynamics, Nimmo said.
“This event was well attended and surprisingly upbeat, given the mood of the overall economy,” said Karen Burson who moderated the forum. “There were many success stories and interesting insights.”
The event began in 1982 as a student effort and as an afternoon seminar.