From a brand-new Organic Harvest Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 4, to closing keynote speaker Anna Lappé on Saturday, Oct. 7, Natural Products Expo East exhibitors and attendees will find a full schedule of events and education for the organic community at Organic Products Expo?Biofach America.
"This is an exciting year for all members of the organic industry, and we'll look at ideas, issues and trends from the global marketplace to working with local organic producers," says Elaine Lipson, organic program director for New Hope Natural Media.
With a 40 percent increase in international organic exhibitors on the show floor, the global marketplace is an important focus. Angela Caudle, executive director of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, will lead a panel of experts speaking about IFOAM's efforts to promote worldwide organic growth and integrity at "Planet Organic: Understanding the Global Organic Movement," at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Other highlights of the OPE-BA education program include a panel to help retailers build successful relationships with local organic producers, led by Jim Slama of the Chicago-based www.familyfarmed.org, which promotes regional organic Midwestern farms. "La Vida Local: How to Work With Local Organic Producers" takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Entrepreneurs focused on growing their organic business can hear organic consultant Bill Wolf moderate a panel on finding and choosing banks and funding sources that share industry values and support organic endeavors. "The Zen of Financing Your Organic Business" is scheduled for 4:30 pm on Friday, Oct. 6. Anna Lappé, best-selling author of GRUB: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and Hope's Edge and co-founder of the Small Planet Institute with her mother, Frances Moore Lappé, will share her vision of sustainable food systems as a featured speaker in the OPE-BA program on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9 a.m. Organic Harvest Festival
All attendees are invited to attend the Spirit of Organic awards presentation this year—free of charge. The awards have been given by New Hope Natural Media since 2001 to honor unsung heroes of the organic community and will be presented as part of the Organic Harvest Festival, featuring organic food, drink and tabletop exhibitors as well as live music from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The awards will be announced at about 6:30 p.m., between two bands, the Hot Buttered Rum String Band and headliner Adrienne Young and Little Sadie. The Organic Harvest Festival will raise money for the Organic Farming Research Foundation and will replace the awards dinner from previous years. "We wanted to create a great, free, fun event that's open to everyone, builds organic community and benefits OFRF," Lipson says.
For a full schedule of OPE-BA education and events at Natural Products Expo East, visit www.expoeast.com.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 9/p. 18