Thank you for joining us for COABC’s 2009 – 2010 webinars, which were presented during the Fall Seminar Series, Winter Seminar Series and Annual 2010 conference. If you missed any of these 1 hour webinars and would like to view them, please see below for viewing information.
...which addressed a number of important marketing questions for organic growers...
This presentation by Alida Cantor, a research associate with the California Institute for Rural Studies, is based on recent research by the California Institute for Rural Studies, which addressed a number of important marketing questions for organic growers. Alida discussed how is, that even as consumer demand for organic food soars, farmers are continuing to drop out of organics due to lack of marketing opportunities. More importantly, she explored what we as a community of organizers, policymakers, farmers, businesses, and supporters do to improve the marketing situation for small and mid-sized organic growers.
Alida Cantor: I am a research associate with the California Institute for Rural Studies, a nonprofit research organization focusing on sustainable food systems, farmworker conditions, and rural communities. Some of my current and previous work at CIRS includes working to develop sustainability metrics for the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops and working with university students to promote domestic fair trade food on university campuses, and helping to produce a short documentary on fair labor in agriculture. Before working at CIRS, I studied at the University of California at Davis and got my masters in Community and Regional Development, and prior to that I worked as an apprentice on several small farms in the Northeast.
Breaking Down Market Barriers: Strategies to Improve Markets for Small and Mid-sized Organic Growers. This presentation, based on recent research by the California Institute for Rural Studies, addresses a number of important questions:
How is it that even as consumer demand for organic food soars, farmers are continuing to drop out of organics due to lack of marketing opportunities?
Why does the U.S. import over a tenth of its organics while farmers here still have trouble finding markets?
- Most importantly, what can we as a community of organizers, policymakers, farmers, businesses, and supporters do to improve the marketing situation for small and mid-sized organic growers?
The Transition Initiative is a catalyst for positive responses by communities to the challenges of Peak Oil...
The Transition Initiative is a catalyst for positive responses by communities to the challenges of Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Instability.
David Johnson, a certified Transition Trainer and board member of of Transition US, discussed the origins of the Transition movement and its subsequent viral growth around the world. He described the principles and steps making up the Transition model, looked at Transition PDX (Portland, Oregon) as a case study, and explored how the model is being adopted by different communities.
David Johnson has Bachelors degree in Computer Science, and worked for a short time as a computer programmer in London. He subsequently spent 3 years working and traveling around the world. Out these travels came interests in environmental issues, and Tibetan Buddhism. David lived for six years in a Tibetan Buddhist community in South Wales. Having purchased an adjoining piece of land, he designed and built an award-winning ecological house. David continued exploring the overlap of ecology and spirituality through a Masters Degree program in Transpersonal Psychology with a concentration in Ecopsychology at Naropa University, Boulder. During this time he also trained with Joanna Macy in her body of work, "The Work That Reconnects". His training and work with a number of ecopsychologists informed his thinking around the Heart & Soul aspects of Transition. David was involved in a think tank set up by Rob Hopkins in the early days of Transition Town Totnes and recently moved to Portland, Oregon where he has been in the core group forming Transition PDX (Portland). David is a certified Transition Trainer and on the Board of Transition US, a non-profit looking to help and support the growth of the Transition Initiative through the US.
The Transition Initiative is a catalyst for positive responses by communities to the challenges of Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Instability. This presentation will look at the origins of the Transition movement and its subsequent viral growth around the world. We will look at the principles and steps making up the Transition model, look at Transition PDX (Portland, Oregon) as a case study, and explore how the model is being adopted by different communities.
Colony collapse disorder of bees is a serious and alarming trend that is threatening the livelihood of farmers worldwide...
Colony collapse disorder of bees is a serious and alarming trend that is threatening the livelihood of farmers worldwide. To put the situation into context, Ted Leischner, corresponding CANPOLIN member and conservation volunteer, discussed what is killing our bees as well as the immediate grassroots actions that farmers can take to assure pollination services, food security and ecological health. There is much that can be done that is quick, convenient and economically feasible but, it will require a shift in perspective. Ted shared his insights on how we can employ the 400 species of native bees that are exquisitely adapted to living here and operate as a complete pollination guild for our ecosystem.
Ted Leischner B.Sc., CANPOLIN Corresponding Member and Bee Pollinator Conservation Outreach Volunteer
Ted has kept bees for 30 years, including 10 years as a commercial beekeeper where he operated 500 hives and raised his own queen bees. He also taught beekeeping for 15 years, at an agricultural college in Alberta. Observing the importance of bees to the economy of southern BC, and noting the serious nature of bee decline, he has engaged himself in volunteer bee pollinator conservation outreach, working with CANPOLIN researchers. His conservation activities are guided by extensive literature searches and investigation to keep current on the topic. He actively networks with the CANPOLIN team as required and maintains a bee collecting site for the CANPOLIN bee bar coding project. He also gives presentations to garden clubs and community groups. There he is able to get the bee pollinator decline story out and coach one and all about what can be done to save our 400 plus native bee species in BC, and use them as main pollinators of food crops. He resides in Cawston, BC and can be reached by phone at 250-499-9471 and by email at email@example.com.
By successful lobbying and getting local government policy refocused to support sustainable, local...
By successful lobbying and getting local government policy refocused to support sustainable, local and organic food production, Rob Marqusee, the first Director of Rural Economic Development for Woodbury County, is changing the face of agriculture in Woodbury County, Iowa. The results of developing this regional food system so far have been dramatic and have already brought notable economic benefit to his community. Rob is responsible for the development of Woodbury County's tax rebate policy providing 100% rebate of real property taxes for farmers who convert to organic farming practices. Join us for this inspiring and interesting presentation by the fondly regarded 'Organic Evangelist' (NY Times).
Rob Marqusee is the first Director of Rural Economic Development for Woodbury County, Iowa - Sioux City is the county seat; a position recently created (on March 21, 2005) to reverse economic declines in the rural areas of the county. Rob is responsible for the development of Woodbury County, Iowa's tax rebate policy providing 100% rebate of real property taxes for farmers who convert to organic farming practices. He also developed the first mandatory Local Foods Purchase Policy for Woodbury County.
Rob's work is found at:
Rob has been an attorney since 1979 and is licensed to practice law in the states of California, Colorado, and Iowa. He holds a LL.M. in Taxation (Masters in Tax Law) from the University of Denver, a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Denver (Phi Beta Kappa), and received his law degree from Seattle University. Rob practiced law in Santa Barbara, California for
Born in New York City, he was raised in Boca Raton, Florida where his family was engaged in economic development activities. His father has been a vegetarian and organic/natural food advocates his entire life which has had significant impact on Rob's lifestyle.
Rob has 5 children and presently resides in Sioux City, Iowa.
This presentation looked at key and novel concepts and practices in organic weed management...
This presentation looked at key and novel concepts and practices in organic weed management. By exploring annual weed seed physiology and ecology, especially the concept of the weed seed bank, Charles Merfield, Lincoln, NZ discussed "weed management hierarchy" and its four key weed control techniques - rotations, minimizing weed seed rain, and pre and post crop emergence weeding. Charles is an organic horticultural scientist, consultant, author and designer of weed control equipment, the four wheeled hoe being one of the latest innovative weed control devices he has developed.
Charles Merfield Recommended Reading List (pdf)
- Charles Merfield answers more questions for his COABC Webinar debut (pdf)
Charles Merfield, Ph. D
Charles initially trained in commercial horticulture in the United Kingdom and completed that education by managing organic vegetable farms in England (
www.sunnyfields.co.uk) and New Zealand ( www.epicureansupplies.co.nz). In the late 90s he returned to academia, studying a diverse range of topics including biological control and agroecology as well as more ‘practical’ farming issues such as pest, disease and weed management. He obtained his Ph.D in organic carrot seed production from Lincoln University, New Zealand.
Within agriculture / horticulture Charles’ main interests have been designing improved crop production techniques and systems, especially weed management, including a special interest in thermal (flame and steam) weeding and machinery. His research interests are in organic horticulture, mainly vegetable and herb production systems and business management. At a wider level he is interested in broader topics such as the philosophy and ethics of agriculture and science as well as being an active member of the organic movement. Academically his overarching objectives are to act as a bridge between the scientific and farming ‘worlds’ and to undertake research aiming to solve practical farming problems and to that end he considers it essential to continue to be closely involved in commercial farming. To this end he undertakes a range of consulting, advisory, and education services as well as being director of two start-up companies,
www.physicalweeding.com and www.agro-ecological.com focused on organic agriculture.
Animal welfare is a cornerstone principle for organic farms and using proper livestock handling techniques...
Animal welfare is a cornerstone principle for organic farms and using proper livestock handling techniques can make a big difference in animal health. Jane Morrigan, from Integrity Livestock Services, gave practical guidance on humane handling techniques for dairy and beef cattle, pigs and sheep in organic livestock production. Based on the know-how of Dr. Temple Grandin and on down-to–earth application of sound scientific evidence, this webinar covered relevant natural animal behaviors, the importance of good stockmanship, how to improve livestock handling and how to reduce animal stress. Jane is a sessional lecturer with the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and offers training and consulting on livestock handling.
Jane Morrigan, M.Sc., P.Ag. - Integrity Livestock Services
Born and raised near Montreal, Jane worked on a dairy farm at 16 yrs of age and never looked back. Livestock agriculture has been her life’s work for the last 42 years and will continue to be in the future. She moved to Nova Scotia in 1977, purchased a small farm in Pictou County and milked her own beautiful Jersey cows for 16 years.
After selling the herd in 1995, she returned to university and earned a Master’s degree in animal behaviour from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC). Her research was entitled, “Welfare of Cull Holstein Cows at an Abattoir”, through which she confirmed that training livestock handlers can have a significant impact on reducing stress and suffering of the animals.
Upon graduation, she began work as an instructor in the technical program of the Department of Animal Science at NSAC, and then joined the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada (OACC) in 2002 as Website Coordinator. She has been teaching a third year degree course at NSAC in Animal Welfare since 2006. Recently, she decided to say goodbye to OACC in order to pursue her passion for training livestock handlers.
Over the years she has raised dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs, meat chickens and laying hens. She continues to live on her farm in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, where she makes square-bale hay and keeps a few beef cows, horses and laying hens. In the summertime she also raises a few hogs and meat chickens.
Jane can be reached at Integrity Livestock Services, Animal Welfare Training & Auditing, Scotsburn, Nova Scotia, B0K 1R0, Can., Tel: (902) 351-2714, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nematodes are a very important part of the soil biological system and can be useful indicators of soil quality...
Nematodes are a very important part of the soil biological system and can be useful indicators of soil quality due to their diversity and functions at all trophic levels of the soil food web. Plant parasitic species are major agricultural pathogens found worldwide and cause billions of dollars in crop damage every year. Soil specialist,
Rosy Smit introduced us to the why/what/where of free-living and plant parasitic soil nematodes. She followed with information on the damage from common plant parasitic nematodes and the potential management practices to deal with infestations. The current research undertaken locally in BC to control plant parasitic nematode species was highlighted.
Rosy Smit has worked in many facets of the agriculture industry for the past two decades as a researcher, environmental farm planning advisor, public educator, consultant and farmer. Loving anything to do with "soil", she completed a B.Sc. in Agroecology as well as a M.Sc. in Soil Science from UBC. Her interests are soil health, cultural management versus chemical inputs, use of compost and all things to do with soil nematodes. She is a member of the Canadian Society of Soil Science and the Pacific Regional Soil Science Society.
An intro into the why/what/when/where of soil nematodes (free-living and plant parasites) followed by cultural management practices and current research being undertaken to control plant parasitic nematode species.
Cover crops are an important part of a sustainable, organic crop production system...
Cover crops are an important part of a sustainable, organic crop production system. Their many benefits are often unrecognized - they improve soil fertility and quality, suppress weeds and pests, conserve soil and water, increase microbial growth - and unfortunately they are severely underutilized. Alan Sundermeier, a professor and extension educator from Ohio State University as well as a cover crops expert, advisor and author presented this webinar. He discussed the types of cover crops available, the opportunities to include them in your rotations, their soil nutrient benefits, pest management, the economics of cover crops, and how to get started.
- Alan Sundermeier answers more questions for his COABC Webinar debut (pdf)
Alan Sundermeier, M. Sc.
Alan Sundermeier is a professor and extension educator with Ohio State University Extension in Bowling Green, Ohio. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy at Ohio State University, and his Masters in Environmental Management from the University of Findlay, Ohio. He is also a certified crop advisor with the American Society of Agronomy.
In the area of agriculture and natural resources, Alan has placed a priority on applied research to help solve certain agronomic problems. With experience and training in Environmental Management and Agronomy, he brings an awareness of farming systems management which could be more sustainable yet profitable. His areas of specialization are: sustainable agriculture, cover crop management, tillage research, soil quality, environmental awareness, soil nitrogen recommendations, and organic grain production.
By using crop rotations, fertility building green manures and sustainable agricultural practices...
By using crop rotations, fertility building green manures and sustainable agricultural practices, Iain Tolhurst of Tolhurst Organic Produce, Oxfordshire, UK, farms without any animal inputs, such as manures or animal byproducts. This successful vegetable box scheme producer (the UK equivalent of our CSA) provides more than 400 boxes/week of produce using 90% of his own produce and does so with a very low carbon footprint. Iain’s webinar discussed his stockfree farm, the rotations they use, how biodiversity is managed for pest and disease control, and their marketing structure. He showed how they have developed a low carbon footprint and the development of carbon sequestration within a farm cropping system. Unfortunately, we experienced audio problems in the first 10 minutes of this webinar and Iain's video was unavailable for the duration of the webinar.
Iain Tolhurst IOTA accredited.
Iain Tolhurst is an independent organic horticulture consultant specializing in advice and training in horticultural business development, vegetable box schemes, with a specialization in Stockfree Organic systems. He is a practicing organic vegetable producer on 18 acres and has been a Soil Association symbol holder since 1976 specializing in supplying organic vegetables through his own box scheme.
Iain’s advisory career began in 1984 as senior horticultural advisor with Elm Farm Research Centre. He has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of organic production and its markets, research and standards development. He has been involved with many national and international organic projects in more than 12 countries.
Iain’s own farm is used extensively for demonstration purposes with visitors from all over the world. A range of seminars are held during the year as well as specific farm tours for individuals or groups. He works closely with a group of clients delivering on farm advice and specializes in a “systems approach” to deal with the problems of fertility, pests and diseases. He currently works through a number of organic organizations and producer groups, is chairman of Thames Organic Growers and founding member of the Organic Growers Alliance.
Publications include “Growing Green” written jointly with Jenny Hall and an extensive range of papers and articles in various organic journals.
Sponsored by COABC’s Regional Seminar Series and our core sponsors