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Highlights from the 2012 EcoFarm Conference

Image 002 600The Ecological Farming Assn. hosted its 32nd annual EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove last week, attracting farmers, food activists, educators, researchers and others to the Asilomar Conference Grounds on the Monterey Peninsula to discuss all things related to sustainable agriculture.

Image 043 600A daylong bus tour Wednesday was sold out. Amigo Bob Cantisano of Organic Ag Advisors, Sam Earnshaw of Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Richard Smith of UC Cooperative Extension each led a tour of farms along the Central Coast. Cantisano, with a megaphone attached to his walking stick, acted as the tour talk-show host, if you will.

Cantisano (pictured top left) introduced and interviewed Johnny Wilson, Jeffrey Caspary and Caleb Barron from Fogline Farm, an integrated operation in the Santa Cruz Mountains that grows vegetables and orchard fruit and raises pastured broiler chickens and Berkshire hogs.

Also on the itinerary was Yellow Wall Farm, owned by Allen and Judy Image 054 600Rose Hasty. The couple incorporated farming into their lives much later than most but now happily sell fruits and veggies to local grocery stores and restaurants.

The conference's exhibitor marketplace buzzed with folks from farms such as Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery in Sebastopol, Calif.; organizations including California Certified Organic Farmers and the International Center for Poultry; and businesses such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Veritable Image 102 600Vegetable.

Sessions at the event touched on a wide range of topics including the CSA movement, organic wine-making, on-farm habitat diversity for bees and beneficials, conservation using cover crops and compost, local meat for local meals, artisanal cheese-making, the 2012 farm bill, edible eco-gardens, farmer-chef relationships and much more.

Enthusiasts traveled to the conference from across the United States as well as other countries such as Japan and France. Ecofarmconference.org.

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-- Caitlin Keller

Photos: Scenes from the EcoFarm Conference. Credit: Caitlin Keller / Los Angeles Times

 
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