February 09, 2016
By: Vincent Strickland

Another year is over for the Guelph Organic Conference and we certainly weren’t disappointed with the fantastic weekend!  A big thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, exhibitors and presenters for making the weekend such a good experience.  Here is a glimpse into our busy weekend through pictures.

A big thank you to Susan Ratz, who manages the conference media, and photographer Terry Asma, for providing us with many of these pictures.  It seems our staff were too busy serving carrot juice, attending meetings and workshops, making new connections and catching up with long-time friends to really capture the weekend in graphics!

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Our weekend starts on Friday evening with a delicious organic meal. It never disappoints and the Southbrook wine adds a great addition to the palette.  Deete, one of Pfenning’s employees, won this year’s Southbrook door prize…he was nice enough to share with the rest of us.

 

photo by Terry Asma

After the dinner is the keynote presentation. (From left to right) Our own Ekk Pfenning presented, with Sarah Dobec from The Big Carrot moderating, and fellow panelists Pat Kozowyk from Baba Link Farm, Gillian Flies from The New Farm, and Dag Falk from Nature’s Path Foods. photo by Terry Asma

 

photo by Terry Asma

The conference is put together by a whole team of organizers and volunteers and made possible by the generous donations of the sponsors. Pfenning’s has been sponsoring the conference for many years and we are happy to do it! photo by Terry Asma

 

photo by Terry Asma

The 2016 Eco Scholar Program recipients. Each recipient had to write an essay explaining how they envision themselves making a career in the organic sector. Five awards were given with an honorarium of $500 each. Congratulations to these students and Pfenning’s wishes them well on their career paths in organics! photo by Terry Asma

 

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The conference was very busy this year! We can probably thank the warm weather. I remember other years where blizzard conditions kept many people away. Not this year though, they came in droves!

 

photo by Terry Asma

The juicer was going full blast all weekend. With what seemed to be record numbers at the conference, and our carrot juice being a highly sought-after sample, Regina and Grant were definitely hard at work. photo by Terry Asma

 

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People always ask our booth staff, “What do you do with the carrot pulp?” We have no trouble giving it away at the conference. May people take the pulp as an ingredient in carrot baked goods, while others, like Cathy from Cathy’s Crawly Composters, use the pulp as compost feed.

 

photo by Terry Asma

The Pfenning’s Organic and More retail store and food box operation is owned and operated by the Pfenning’s family sister Almut and her husband Wolfgang Wurzbacher. The store originally started on the family home farm but expanded in 2003 to it’s current location in St. Agatha. photo by Terry Asma

 

photo by Terry Asma

Every year the Guelph Organic Conference gives us an opportunity to catch up with long-time friends. It’s always a pleasure to see Maureen Kirkpatrick, Standards Coordinator with The Big Carrot. Pfenning’s has been supplying The Big Carrot with veggies since they opened in 1983. photo by Terry Asma

 

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Kathy from Springbrook Cranberry came by our booth to say hello. Her and her husband Larry come to exhibit all the way from New Brunswick. We are happy to be their Ontario distributor for their delicious cranberry products.

 

photo by Terry Asma

The folks at Pro-Cert provide our organic certification. We are in constant communication through out the year to update and get approval for changes to our organic plan. Laura and Agatha provide a lot of support to us and it is great to put faces to the voices on the phone! photo by Terry Asma

 

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Bio-Ag provides us with some of our organically-approved mineral inputs for our fields to increase the fertility of our soils. As a local supplier, just up the road in Wellesley, we are glad to have a good business relationship with them.

 

photo by Terry Asma

Johnny’s Selected Seeds is where we get some of our organic seeds. At this time of year our planting schedule is being drafted so we will soon know which seeds to order for our spring plantings. photo by Terry Asma

 

photo by Terry Asma

Andreas Pfenning was raised on the farm and works hard where ever he is needed. I’m pretty sure he packed that bag of carrots he is holding. photo by Terry Asma

 

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Ekk, Karen, Wolfgang and Elena pose for a picture at the Pfenning’s booth. It was Elena’s first year attending the conference, she had a great time and is eager to work it again next year.

By Sunday evening we were exhausted but yet exhilarated.  The week after is always filled with conversations about what we did and what we learned.  There were lots of follow-up emails to send as well, ensuring that conversations started at the conference continue.  The conference organizers are already thinking about 2017 – I got an email asking for 2017 workshop suggestions!  Many ideas were generated from this year’s conference, so you will have to check back with us next January to see the changes a year have made!