Industry News | April 14, 2007

First Organic Summit Conference Set For June

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Scheduled from June 20 to 22, the forum will offer opportunities for senior managers and experts to discuss key issues facing the organic industry, which is posting 15.7 percent growth, according to the Market Overview 2005 by The Natural Foods Merchandiser™. The Organic Summit is produced by New Hope Natural Media in partnership with the nonprofit Organic Farming Research Foundation of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Two pioneers of the organic industry will bring their business and academic perspectives as keynote speakers: Whole Foods Market Co-president and Chief Operating Officer Walter Robb and Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Distinguished Fellow Frederick L. Kirschenmann.

* Walter Robb oversees six of Whole Foods Market’s 11 regions and serves on the Whole Planet Foundation Board of Directors. Robb has served on the Board of Directors of the Organic Trade Association and is a founding and current board member of The Organic Center. He has more than two decades of natural supermarket management experience.

* Frederick L. Kirschenmann, Ph.D., a third-generation farmer whose family has been farming at the same location in North Dakota since 1930, has written extensively about ethics and agriculture. He has served on the National Organic Standards Board, and in 2006 was appointed to the 19-member National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production. Kirschenmann serves on numerous boards for nonprofit organizations in food, farming and conservation.

“Renewing the Organic Conversation” is the Organic Summit’s charter theme with dozens of educational seminars on the agenda. Topics range from finding a public balance between organic purists and pragmatists, to supply challenges in the global organic marketplace, to national organic policy and the state of organic research funding.

"This conference will allow participants to explore the many different dimensions of the term ‘organic.’ From social change to business opportunity, from producers to marketing specialists, today's organic thinkers and tomorrow's leaders will share their vision of our organic future,” said Bob Scowcroft, OFRF Executive Director.

The Organic Summit will take place at the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, with events including a farmers’ market tour, a benefit dinner for OFRF at Pastures of Plenty Farm in nearby Longmont, Colo. and all-organic meals. For an updated conference program, registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.theorganicsummit.com.

The Organic Farming Research Foundation (www.ofrf.org) is a national nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1990 to foster the improvement and widespread adoption of organic farming practices. OFRF's mission is to sponsor research related to organic farming; to disseminate research results to organic farmers and to growers interested in adopting organic production systems; and to educate the public and decision makers about organic farming issues. Working organic farmers from across the United States comprise the majority of OFRF's Board of Directors.