Exciting Opportunities in Farming Explored at 2012 Organic Connections Conference

Changing weather, new crop disease conditions, and shifts in markets have meant that farm practices have changed drastically over the past decade. Organic Connections, Western Canada’s largest organic conference and trade show held November 2-3 in Regina, will explore new research and alternative farm practices that will enable producers to thrive in this shifting agricultural environment.

The conference’s 2012 theme, “A Vision For The Future”, is backed by an impressive program designed not only to introduce producers to new opportunities but to also provide the tools needed to take advantage of them. An entire stream of the conference will be devoted to agronomics, including recent research and new and innovative farm practices.

Sessions led by respected researchers will cover important topics such as weed management, soil fertility, and animal nutrition which will benefit experienced and novice organic farmers alike, as well as producers who are not organic but want to try some new strategies to solve common problems.Workshops will be both practical and informative, giving conference participants the knowledge needed to implement these strategies on their own farms.

“As the Canadian organic sector continues to grow, it’s becoming increasingly imperative that organic producers have the tools and knowledge to meet market demand,” says Marion McBride, Coordinator of Organic Connections. “Our goal is to explore alternatives that have hope and potential for the future.”

Tumours, liver and kidney damage, and premature death are among the findings of a team of French researchers studying the long-term health impacts of genetically modified (GM) corn in rats. The controversial new study published in the journal of Food & Chemical Toxicology, which calls into question the safety of GM corn, has sparked even greater interest in the research of Dr. Don Huber, a keynote speaker at the Organic Connections Conference, November 2-3 in Regina, SK.

Dr. Huber, Emeritus Professor of Plant Pathology, Purdue University, will address the health and environmental consequences of glyphosate, an important component in the GM crop system. According to Dr. Huber, “Glyphosate is the single most important agronomic factor predisposing some plants to both disease and toxins. These toxins can produce serious impact on the health of animals and humans.” The renowned researcher will be addressing impacts on health at the University of Regina on November 1st at 7:30 p.m. and will expand the discussion at the conference on the 2nd and 3rd .

Dr. Huber’s important discussion comes at a critical moment for the GM crop system. Following the release of the study in Food & Chemical Toxicology, France’s government asked a health watchdog to carry out a probe, possibly leading to EU suspension of GM corn. Just three days after Dr. Huber’s address in Regina, a ballot initiative known as

Proposition 37 requiring the mandatory labeling of GM foods, is poised to pass in California. According to Lisa Mumm, an organic farmer who sits on the board of directors of the Organic Connections Conference, this discussion is critical to farmers and consumers across Western Canada. “Dr. Huber’s research, the French study, and California Proposition 37 will have a huge impact on not only the organic farming system, but our food system as a whole. Increasingly consumers want to know where their food comes from, how it was grown, and whether it’s safe for them and their children.”

The full study published in the journal of Food & Chemical Toxicology is available at: http://research.sustainablefoodtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Final-Paper.pdf

For more information, contact: Marion McBride, Coordinator, Organic Connections, phone 306-543-8743, email info@organicconnections.ca


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