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OEFFA annual conference

Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association's (OEFFA) 37th annual conference, Growing Right by Nature. Pre-conference intensives will be held on Friday, Feb. 12 and the two-day conference will take place Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Granville Middle and High schools in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

As the state's largest sustainable food and farm conference, more than 1,200 attendees from across Ohio and the U.S. will come together to enjoy keynote sessions with Lindsey Lusher Shute and John Ikerd; nearly 100 educational workshops; three pre-conference intensives; a trade show; locally-sourced and organic from-scratch meals, and more.

Sustainable food and farm conference approaching

 "This conference is about working with nature, rather than trying to control it," says OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. "Sustainable agriculture is not only a path for growing right by nature, but for doing right by our communities, public health, and our economy, as well."

The conference will offer nearly 100 beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops across 16 tracks. Taught by experienced OEFFA members, farmers, researchers, and sustainable agriculture leaders from across the country, the workshops cover a range of topics including sustainable farming, gardening, homesteading, cooking, livestock and poultry production, business management, food and farm policy, research and more.

The conference will feature keynote speakers Lindsey Lusher Shute and John Ikerd.

Shute is the Executive Director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC). Shute and her husband, Benjamin, raise two daughters and own and manage Hearty Roots Community Farm, an organic farm in New York's Hudson River Valley serving 900 community supported agriculture program members. In 2014, Shute was selected as a White House Future of American Agriculture Champion of Change.

John Ikerd is one of the nation's leading experts and speakers on agricultural economics and a well-known, passionate, and insightful sustainable agriculture advocate and speaker. He is the author of six books including Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense, Small Farms are Real Farms: Sustaining People Through Agriculture, and The Essentials of Economic Sustainability—along with book chapters, journal articles, magazine and trade publications, and conference proceedings on various aspects of the sustainable agriculture movement.

Also on the agenda:
A trade show featuring dozens of businesses, non-profits, and government agencies offering an array of food, books, farm and garden products, tools, information, and services;

Saturday evening entertainment, including a performance by The Back Porch Swing Band and a conversation with OEFFA's founding members about the history of the organic movement;

•A kid's conference with engaging activities for children ages 6-12;

•A playroom for young children;

•A teen conference where teenagers ages 12-15 can create their own personal weekend schedule;

•Locally-sourced, from-scratch meals; volunteer and scholarship opportunities; a raffle; book table;book signings; seed swap, and much more.

"OEFFA's conference offers something for everyone. Whether you're an experienced grower, backyard gardener, or local food enthusiast, this conference has workshops for you," said Hunt.

To register, visit http://www.oeffa.org/conference2016.php


In a strong bipartisan action, the Senate voted 65-33 today to pass the big omnibus bill that includes a provision to make the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easement donations permanent. This follows yesterday’s 318-109 vote in the House. This legislation has been a priority for the Land Trust Alliance for a decade, and it represents a huge win for conservation, landowners, and the land trust community. The White House endorsed the bill, and will try (if they can make the logistics work) to sign it into law today.  Once signed into law the incentive will be applied retroactively to start Jan. 1, 2016.

Today’s vote also reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund for three years and increased its funding from $306 million last year to $450 million this year.

Thank you to all who reached out to legislators to educate them about both the importance of this incentive and the critical role that land trusts play in communities across the country. Today is a great day for conservation!  The Alliance has worked on this for a long time, and it is really gratifying to see it come to pass.  It will be even more gratifying to see all of you put it to good use.

Notes – The bill also makes permanent the fix that allows S corporations to deduct the full fair market value of charitable contributions, and renews the IRA rollover (so your donors over 70.5 can contribute from their IRA’s.  The Department of Interior got a 6% hike in overall funding, and they are ecstatic about it.  Oh, yes, there’s a lot more in the 2230 page bill, but we’ll save some for later….

Russ Shay
Director of Public Policy
Land Trust Alliance




Click here to read about COLT's accomplishments.

Click here to sign up.


 Click to find a land trust:  INTERACTIVE Ohio Land Trusts
Service Area map links to Land Trust Alliance Website


Become a member of the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts and get discounts on trainings as well as policy and program updates! Click on this link.


Ohio land trusts can send an email to Midwest@lta.org to sign up for Ohio listserv (hosted by the Land Trust Alliance).

If you would like to submit a story or an event, email Jenny at washu767@aol.com. She will put it on the website for you!

The Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts (COLT) is a voluntary network of land trusts and other conservation organizations dedicated to advancing land conservation for public benefit in Ohio.

COLT strives to help Ohio's land trusts conserve more of the state's farmland, woodlands and natural areas by assisting each land trust in building organizational capacity and developing strategic conservation plans. Since its inception, COLT has worked to:

1. Enhance the technical knowledge of Ohio land trusts through training and peer-to-peer networking;

2. Increase land trusts' implementation of Land Trust Standards and Practices through land trust organizational assessments and;

3. Advance critical state and federal land conservation policy initiatives and legislation, such as property tax reform, and renewal of the Clean Ohio Fund, in partnership with other statewide groups such as Ohio League of Conservation Voters and Mainstream Green Coalition.


 Send us a story about a landowner that your land trust has assisted or someone you know that has a preserved farm. We are interested in stories about farm preservation easements as well as non-farm easement stories. All of these stories help COLT as we continuously need to show the beneficial impact of the memberships’ work in order to successfully advocate for public funding programs.

 -Send stories from your existing materials. Your story will be posted on the website under the land owner stories tab: http://www.ohiolandtrusts.org/alexander-family-glen-helen/  

- Send us photos related to the story. If a photo should be credited to someone please provide that information.

- Send us on-going information about events to post as content on our facebook page. These can be about your own events, e.g. information about your annual fundraiser, or a link to media content about a recently closed easement, or links to land conservation-related events offered by you or others in your part of the state. 

Please send your stories or event info to Jenny at washu767@aol.com.