Public News Service

COLUMBUS, Ohio – From conscientious eaters to backyard growers to large-scale farmers, hundreds are expected to come together at an Ohio event aimed at celebrating and expanding the local food movement. Registration is open for the 32nd annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, the largest sustainable food and farm event of its kind in the state, coming up in February.

Spokeswoman Renee Hunt says participation has grown each year, as more and more people turn to local, sustainable, and organic food.

“50 years ago agriculture was on this trend toward industrialization, and a group of farmers and food activists said, ‘We really don’t want to be a part of that’; 32 years later this idea has become more mainstream.”

Hunt, who is education director for the Association, says the move away from industrial practices to local growers is good for consumers, the environment and the economy.

Hunt says the title of this year’s conference: “Inspiring Farms, Sustaining Communities,” says a lot about what they hope to accomplish.

“The idea behind inspiring farms is to learn what other farms are doing and about their leadership in growing organic and local foods and generating a food movement in Ohio.”

Hunt says the conference builds on the work already in place to continue the state’s sustainable food economy.

“We can point to any community in Ohio and see that there is a community garden or a local food council, and so what we are doing at the conference is just a reflection of the growing food movement out in Ohio and beyond.”

This year’s event will feature more than 70 workshops, including topics such as weed control, farm-to-school, eating seasonally, and Internet marketing, as well as various programs for children.

The conference takes place February 19-20 in Granville.

More information is available at oeffa.org

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service – OH

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