Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 17, 2006

Organic Conference Celebrates 25 Years

What began as a one-time event organized by two University of Guelph students to highlight alternative agricultural methods and international agricultural issues has grown into an annual conference that draws more than 1,000 people to the University of Guelph. The 25th annual Guelph Organic Conference, titled “Living Organic: The Next 25 Years,” runs Jan. 26 to 29 and will feature speakers, workshops and a free two-day trade show and sampling fair.

“The conference was pretty humble in the early days, but you could see it was growing year after year,” said conference manager Tomás Nimmo. “Today, organic agriculture seems to be increasing both in market size and in its importance as a sustainable enterprise and this conference has had a big effect on the emergence of the Canadian organic market.”

Keynote speaker David Pimentel will discuss “Organic Farming and the Energy Equation” Jan. 28 at 9:20 a.m. in Room 104 of Rozanski Hall. Pimentel is a professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University. He has served on several national and government committees and written 23 books and more than 590 scientific papers on topics that include land and water conservation, biotechnology, environmental policy, and ecological and economic aspects of pest control.

David Orchard, an author, politician and co-founder of Citizens Concerned About Free Trade, will participate in a public forum on “Organic Food and Energy Challenges: The Next 25 Years” Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in Room 1200 of the Thornbrough Building. The discussion will also include Pimentel, Helge Hellberg and Judith Plant and will be moderated by Tomás Nimmo. Tickets are $10.

The conference will feature more than 30 speakers and professional facilitators, including U of G plant agriculture professor Ann Clark who will discuss “Transitioning to an Organic Dairy Farm: Consultation and Case Study,” and soil biology and biochemistry professor Paul Voroney, who will participate in a lecture on the status of soil fertility on Canadian organic farms.

The Organic Expo Canada Sampling Fair is free and open to the public Jan. 28 from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Jan. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the University Centre. More than 130 companies, groups and publishers will have materials, products and equipment on display, along with 25 vendors sampling organic food and drink.

Complete list of events

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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