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Guelph Organic Conference set for January

Sept. 24, 2013 - Celebrating its 33rd year, the 2014 Guelph Organic Conference and Expo includes international speakers, seminars and intro workshops on key topics including permaculture, organic production/certification, organic livestock and pasture issues, pollination and urban bees and more, all of which can help both producer and consumer.

The annual conference's theme is "Catching the Wave - Are you on board?," focuses on the organic movement and the ways individuals, customers and growers can improve their organic intake. As well, the conference and expo will also provide a marketplace where attendees can discover new products, sample delicious food and talk directly to growers, producers and retailers about the benefits of certified organic products as well as view ethical products and services. The workshops run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, 2014, with the expo running from Feb. 1 to 2 only.

As the Guelph Organic Conference has grown, the topics have stretched beyond the how-to of organic growing, now also encompassing a more eclectic roster of challenges focused on responsible stewardship of our soil, air and water. Once such example is an upcoming panel from Hélène St. Jacques, entitled, "Waste Not, Want Not."

With the world's population ever-increasing, there is a lot of pressure on farmers to grow more food on less land, with less available labour than ever before. But St. Jacques, chair of the Toronto Food Policy Council, prefers a different approach.

"Food waste occurs all along the value chain - from farm to fork - but the single biggest proportion, 51 per cent, occurs at the householder level," says St. Jacques, a market research consultant and an expert in solid waste management. And about one third of the waste that gets picked up at the curb each week, she says, which represents lost water for crops, soil nutrients, fuel for tractors and transport, and energy for storage and refrigeration.

Studies in Canada are still in their infancy, but to encourage dialogue, she is pulling together a panel for the upcoming 2014 Guelph Organic Conference for a "Waste Not, Want Not" workshop on Sunday, Feb. 2, with informed players from across the many sectors that play a role in our food and waste management systems.

For more information, please visit www.guelphorganicconf.ca/.