Canada’s Largest Organic Event. Something for Everyone!

Saturday, January 28th, 2023

Crop production, soil quality, and economic analysis:
Organic legume cover crop farming in Southern Ontario

For the past 9 years, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada Researchers and Harrow Research and Development Centre have been evaluating the efficacy of using legume cover crops in organically managed soybean-winter wheat/cover crop-corn rotation in Harrow, Ontario.
They looked at cover crop biomass and biomass N accumulation; grain yields; impacts on selected soil health parameters; and an economic analysis was conducted for grain production under cover crop involved organically managed and no-cover crop conventional rotations.
Dr. Xueming Yang will share their results of this 5 year study.

SPEAKER: Dr. Xueming Yang

NFUO series –  A Modern Spin on Traditional Craft: Exploring Value-Added Livestock Operations

Want to add more value to your livestock operation? Are you seeking inspiration on how to put a modern spin on traditional value-added craftmanship? Whether you are a small or large livestock operation, join this panel to learn how others have expanded their operation to include valued added products, beyond food.

SPEAKER: Jennifer Osborne and Brenda Hsueh

Organic magic with worms – Turn your food scraps in black gold

Discover how worms convert organic matter (food scraps and paper) into nature’s finest soil amendment known as castings. Worms are going to play an ever-increasing role in waste management, soil production and therefore food security. Taking care of food scraps is one way we can all help mitigate climate change. Feed the soil, not the plant. This simple solution is suitable for everywhere. Cities with small living space, cottage country where wildlife may be attracted to outdoor composting and business looking to save money and enhance their grounds naturally.

It’s the 20th anniversary of Cathy’s Crawly Composters. Over 75,000 have seen my presentation. As a Laughter Yoga Teacher, my sessions more engaging than ever.

SPEAKER: Cathy Nesbitt

Livestock Grazing Planning & Management

Along with air and water quality, high quality, species-appropriate nutrition is the foundation of health. Join esteemed veterinarian Dr. Susan Beal in this ninety minute session focused on the next steps that farmers and ranchers can do to improve and fine-tune their grazing planning and management. This session will be appropriate for all classes and types of stock, poultry included. Attendees will leave the session with an understanding of everything from starting out making a making a farm map and grazing plan, all the way to finessing their already-in-place rotational grazing plan.

SPEAKER: Susan Beal, DVM
SPONSOR: Bio Ag consultants and Distributers

The Best Perennial Crops for Northern Food Forests

Using his three priorities for selecting perennial plants and crops: productivity, ease of cultivation, and palatability, Ben Ceasar will highlight fundamental features in a properly designed and maintained food forest – from crops, nut trees, fruit trees to berry bushes, perennial vegetables and salad greens. He will cover cultivation details, site location, sun/shade preferences, and how to use the produce in the kitchen.

These perennials will not only provide healthy, organic food without much work, but also help you cultivate a deep relationship with the land that resides just outside the kitchen door.

SPEAKER: Ben Ceasar

OMRI Canada Lunch Meet & Greet
Join us to find out about OMRI Canada’s
Review Program!
Light Lunch will be served

Ignatius Farm Lunch Meet and Greet
Join us to learn more about our
Immersion internships and New Farmer Training!
Bring your lunch.

Information coming soon!

NFUO Series: Farm Labour Unity: Empowering Farmworkers

Farmworkers are making moves! Until recently, the corporate agricultural industry has dominated the narrative of the so-called “farm labour crisis” and glossed over the in-the-dirt realities of migrant and domestic farmworkers in Canada. Similarly, the often-innovative labour performed by both farm operators and their aspiring farmer staff on organic and agroecological farms has escaped public attention. A 2020 NFU-O Farm Labour Report, a 2022 OCO labour market research project, a brand new NFU farmworker membership category, and a November/December 2022 Briarpatch article written by progressive farmworkers are placing the challenges, realities, and opportunities of farm labour on agroecological farms in an age of unprecedented agricultural crises in perspective. Join the Briarpatch writers and an OCO representative to understand the “farm labour crisis” in a new light and learn how together we can empower each other to raise the value and profile of farm labour.


Vertical organic aquaponics system for food, education, and community benefits

This workshop is a practical introduction to Vertical Organic Aquaponic System for home and community-oriented growers. They will relay the principles, challenges and opportunities of co-culturing fish and plants in urban settings. Principles discussed will include choice of inputs and practices for organic compliance. Possible solutions to challenges will also be discussed ranging from water quality to plant health and economic feasibility. Finally, we will present on the opportunities of aquaponics in various settings and scales (e.g., large off-grid farms, small in-home and multi-residential building systems) as well as different uses. Uses go beyond food production and include (1) providing education centred on sustainable urban agriculture, ecology and organic food, and (2) attendant health benefits of bringing natural elements into buildings. Workshop participants will come away with enhanced understanding of how aquaponics can be done effectively and organically.

SPEAKERS: Phil Fung, P.Eng., President and Founder of HiGarden and Dr. Matt Hammond, ecologist and urban agriculture specialist

Major Issues To be Aware of In Organic

Join us for this critical discussion of the facts, how to get involved, and an overview of where the world is headed with new biotechnology.

SPEAKER: Heather Lee + panel

Exploring No-Till Strategies For Larger Scale Organic Vegetable Growers

Ken Laing brings to this workshop a lifelong passion for soil dynamics, cover crops, organic crop production and machinery construction and modification. Funding from AAFC and guidance from EFAO has allowed Ken to explore diverse techniques for no-till organic vegetables at mid-large scale. At this scale it means finding or modifying machinery that will plant into large quantities of residue that are necessary for weed control. In this workshop Ken will share the challenges and his experience with many different strategies and crops.

SPEAKER: Ken Laing

Organic Science Impact: Uptake and Success Stories

This panel discussion focusing on success stories about how organic science has led to adoption and impact. OACC is evaluating the impact of the organic science research that has been happening across Canada over the past 10 years. The goal is to demonstrate and communicate how research has translated into impacts. There will be presentations by;

  • Dr. Andrew Hammermeister on research work happening in the Organic Science Cluster
  • Dr. Emmanuella Ellis on research impact assessment process and factors influencing impact
  • Invited speakers (3 to 4) who will share success stories about new organic practices being developed and adopted.

The invited guests will be made up of stakeholders in the organic industry specifically, producers, researchers and industry representatives. The audience will then be given some time to ask questions and provide comments.

SPEAKERS: Dr. Andrew Hammermeister is the Director of the OACC and Science Director of Canada’s Organic Science Cluster.

Dr. Emmanuella Ellis is a research Associate with the OACC.

Integrated weed management panel and discussion

More information coming soon!

SPEAKER: Dave Cohlmeyer + panel

Sunday, January 29th, 2023

Introduction to Organic Beekeeping

During this workshop, Luc will discuss his transition from Industrial to Organic beekeeping practices. You will learn about the role of workers, drones, and queen bees in the honeybee colony. Luc will discuss the tools, time, and costs required for beekeeping, Ontario beekeeping regulations, including the Ontario Bees Act and the Apiary Inspection program, and best practices for Organic beekeeping methods. You’ll also learn about the yearly cycle of a honeybee colony, the responsibilities of a beekeeper over the course of a season, and the major problems facing honeybees in the industry today. In particular, you’ll learn about the major pests, diseases, and problems affecting honeybee health – and how to treat them. Finally, there will be time to ask questions and discuss best practices in beekeeping today.

SPEAKERS: Humble Bee Inc’s Luc Peters

Regenerating your soil

The Glen Road Organics presents a workshop focused on educating all growers on the advantages of growing biologically. We teach how using The Soil Food Web increases your soil health and productivity. With the use of previous success stories with farmers and our own growing experience we aim to show how biological growing increases production and decreases costs in agricultural soils, market gardens and in greenhouse settings. The workshop will include a brief introduction into The Soil Food Web and composting, followed by success stories from clients and how we implement biological strategies in our own farm as well.

SPEAKERS: Nicole Brouwer, John Montague

Building ecological complexity

This presentation will engage the audience in a discussion focused on the WHAT of ecological land management. We will identify ecosystem components and their services using client landscapes to illustrate ‘system thinking’. We will engage the audience by including them in our conversation, asking for their real-life examples, and discussing their ‘next steps’ to greater complexity.

SPEAKERS: Mary Beerman
SPONSOR: Living Outside

Indigenous knowledge for a changing climate – A meditation on remembering what it means to be a human.

How do you interact with the earth? She is listening… In this presentation Mkomose shares his personal experiences utilizing traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) to add richness and beauty to interactions with the natural world. Opening our hearts and minds to the mysteries of creation is a reminder that as human beings we have many responsibilities. Together, with support from our relatives, under the guidance of the Ancestors, our relationship with our mother earth can be renewed, and we can thrive again. Learn ways to immediately apply Indigenous strategies for project developments and a sustainable future.

SPEAKERS: Mkomose (Dr. Andrew Judge)

Towards Resilient Bees in a Time of Climate Emergency

Climate Change, more accurately labelled Climate Emergency, is already having a profound effect world wide on both honey bee and native bee populations. Our reliance on bees as pollinators of many food crops, and their position as keystone species in ecological pyramids, requires that we respond with our best efforts to support them. This presentation does not promise to fix the problem but to identify some of the major, and some of the subtler, ways in which Climate Change is creating havoc for bees and to propose some first steps in mitigation using best practices from organic, ecological, biodynamic and permaculure approaches.

SPEAKERS: Fran Freeman

NFUO Series – Who Will Feed Us: Meet the Podcast Co-hosts

In 2022, a group of young farmers launched “Who Will Feed Us,” a popular podcast exploring the forces that shape Canadian agriculture and the solutions needed to build a more just and ecological food system. Over the course of nine episodes the co-hosts invited guests to delve into such issues as the corporatization of food and policy, land access and the financialization of land, migrant worker solidarity, the climate crisis and farming, the true cost of food and fair wages, rematriating seeds and decolonizing food systems, and embracing agroecological solutions. In this Guelph Organic Conference panel, podcast co-hosts will talk about the core issues underpinning “Who Will Feed Us,” and what farmers can do and are doing to challenge a food system that “serves no one a healthy meal”.


Making the Business Case for Soil Health

The session will present the findings of a new report, “Towards a Business Case for Soil Health: A Synthesis of Current Knowledge on the Economics of Soil Health Practices in Ontario”, produced by the Greenbelt Foundation in collaboration with researchers from the University of Guelph. The presentation mobilizes current knowledge to help build the business case for soil health on farms in Southern Ontario to aid decision making by farmers and their advisors, and is the first comprehensive presentation of the state of soil health economic information for the region. Using data from literature synthesis and financially representative farm-level budgeting techniques, the study determines a range in net returns from the adoption of six different soil health practices, including: tillage intensity, cover crops, diverse crop rotations, nutrient management, organic amendments and rotational grazing.

SPEAKERS: Megan Sipos, Aaron De Laporte, Paul Smith

NFUO Series – Flower Power: Sustainable Floriculture is a Blooming Business

This panel will explore the colourful explosion of local, sustainable flower production, novel co-operative marketing methods, and value-added operations that are disrupting the environmentally-disastrous globalized floral supply chains. If you are thinking about adding colour to our communities, contributing to a green economy, and starting your own blooming business, this panel is for you!

SPEAKERS: Heidi Brautigam + panel

Full-season care for the small orchard

This workshop is for the farmer or homeowner keen to improve their skills in fruit tree care, whether they have one tree or a 1-acre orchard. I’ll discuss the key features of a management plan for the orchard year, highlighting how various organic practices integrate with each other throughout the year. Topics will include Integrated Pest Management (IPM), pruning, branch training, fruit thinning, understory management, and more. A significant portion of the workshop will be determined by the questions attendees have – there are opportunities to address questions of propagation, the best species for our area and their unique needs and challenges, rootstock choices, breeding, and so on.

SPEAKER: Matt Soltys

Master Gardeners – Managing Water in the Garden

Encouraged by many municipalities and regions, Fusion Gardening ® blends LID (rainwater handling) with xeriscaping (drought-tolerant gardening) and folds in plantings to enhance biodiversity. Learn about the backbones of these disciplines to landscape for water management, soil health and beauty.

SPEAKER: Sean James

Growing Edible Organic Beans

Join Ben Cullen, owner of Canada’s only Canadian grown organic canned beans company, Cullen’s foods, and a Panel of Farmers and experts on the challenges, and opportunities of growing organic edible beans. From farmers looking to hone their techniques to farmers looking into diversifying with organic edible beans this panel is informative and educational for all levels of experience with organic edible beans.

SPEAKER: Ben Cullen and Panel
SPONSOR: Cullen’s Foods

Understanding Soil Microbes and their Role in Healthy Soil.

A key role in developing healthy soil is to create strong soil biology by taking advantage of the soil food web. This seminar will look at the life of microbes so you understand the conditions they need to prosper. We’ll look at ways to measure the soil microbes to understand your current soil health and then we’ll look at various methods for increasing their population. We’ll examine some common concepts like the fungal-bacterial ratio, compost tea, commercial microbe products and the effect of tilling.

SPEAKER: Robert Pavlis
SPONSOR: New Society Publishers

Check Back Soon – New Sessions Added Regularly!