Warm Up at the Guelph Organic Conference 2011

Guelph Organic Conference 2010; photo by Mike Davis
Guelph Organic Conference 2010; photo by Mike Davis

     Escarpment Views is a media partner for the Guelph Organic Conference taking place Jan. 27 to 30 this month at the University of Guelph. We will have a booth and will be giving out free back issues of the magazine! Come and say hello! Here is some provided information to give you a sense of what the conference is all about, if you haven’t been before:

     Thousands of people have attended the Guelph Organic Conference in the past three decades. Their ages are as varied as their lifestyles, from budding young families to active seniors, fifth-generation farmers to city gardeners, but they all have one thing in common: they make the environment a priority on the last weekend in January at the University of Guelph.

     The atmosphere in the University Centre is charged with excitement. Newbies discover they are not alone in their pursuit of a healthier planet when they browse the organic expo and tasting fair with more than 150  booths where they can learn about organic seeds, farming, clothing, wine and food, and even international development agencies working in sustainable agriculture.

     For veterans of the original green movement, the conference is a festive rendezvous, with friends reuniting over complimentary fair trade organic coffee and hot cider, or browsing book stalls sharing tips on their latest good read. With so much going on, it is hard to keep an eye on the clock.

     The wide range of workshops, though, from organic farming strategies to new research, backyard composting and climate change, make sticking to a schedule worthwhile. This year the Sunday morning Holistic Management workshop will be particularly helpful for anyone who has struggled with lifestyle choices that everyone in the family can live with. Priority-setting tools can help keep you on track when it comes to reducing your footprint on the planet.

      “It is applicable to any family or small business, or to farmers and ranchers,” says Tony McQuail, who, with his wife Fran, will present the Coles Notes version of this whole-life approach. McQuail points out that when your written plan considers future resources like clean water and a healthy environment to achieve your goals, it reminds you that you need to invest time and energy into preserving those resources. “Holistic Management is really grounded in the environment, and keeping family and your spiritual beliefs as core values.”

     Whether you are taking your first steps into the world of organics, making lifestyle changes with your family’s future in mind, searching for opportunities as an organic farm apprentice, or hoping to reconnect with old friends, the 30th Guelph Organic Conference is the place to be at the end of January.

     Here’s more information about the conference.

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