Guelph, Ontario, CANADA
That's only one of the many themes at "Building Sustainable Economies" - the 23rd Annual edition of the Guelph Organic Conference, running January 22-25. This year's line-up of 32 workshops & seminars is outstanding, with over 50 panelists, speakers & professional facilitators who will delve into how to build sustainable careers & businesses in a fast-evolving organic market sector. The Conference Web Site brims over with data on this leading mid-winter organic experience.
The title 'so you want to work in organics' comes from the 2-part, broad-ranging program "Educational & employment opportunities in organic agriculture." This workshop series runs January 24th as an introductory session delivered by Dr. Ann Clark & organic grower Heather Lekx. On January 25th, Ms Lekx, along with numerous entrepreneurs, will give first-hand stories of their successes & challenges. Since organics continues to be in 'growth mode'... it would appear that young people want to 'work here.' Motivated individuals are gearing up their educational paths towards organic marketing, product research, distribution, processing & crop breeding.
January 24th also sees the first-ever 'Ontario think-tank on organic economic options.' This open-ended, facilitated strategic planning forum features moderator Madelyn Webb, guest presenters + the audience.
Numerous leading North American organic processing companies will be in the Organic Trade Show, now topping out at about 120 tables. Over 130 companies, groups & publishers will have materials, products and equipment on display. About 22 companies have applied to sample their organic specialty foods, coffees, fruits & juices. The 2-day Trade Show has turned into a magnet with a tangible 'buzz' felt during the approx. 16 hours it runs. Held on 3 levels of the Guelph University Centre, the Trade Show is free to one & all - consumers, traders, farmers and retailers.
More About the Organic Employment workshops January 24-25
The two workshops "of the same title" (Education & Employment Opportunities in Organic Agriculture) will complement each other.
Saturday's workshop will focus on educational opportunities in organic agriculture: Ann Clark will discuss opportunities for academic education in organic agriculture available in 2 or 4-year programs at 15 Canadian and 10 U.S. schools. She will provide an overview of the history and performance of the various programs, and outline the unique attributes of some of the more original programs, including Evergreen State (WA) and University of California at Davis.
Heather Lekx, a Guelph local organic grower, will overview informal/non-accredited educational opportunities. Agricultural internships will be the focus: what to look for in an internship; what to think about as a farmer considering offering internships; outline of internships available through CRAFT Ontario - this stands for "Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training"; and internships available through other associations. We will also outline various learning centres, farm associations & networks which offer workshops, farm tours, and volunteering opportunities with various focuses on education.
Sunday's program will focus on employment opportunities in organic agriculture and includes a "job fair":
Individuals from various domains within the organic industry will speak about opportunities within their specialty fields. Each will cover what their company/organization does, how they got into it (including educational background), and the types of jobs & opportunities within their company (or other companies in their sector)- current & projected.
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* Please call/FAX Tomás Nimmo, Conference Manager: (705) 444-0923; FAX: 444-0380
* For brochures on the weekend sessions, call Conf. Response Line: (519) 824-4120, EXT. 56205
* For Web info, go to: <www.guelphorganicconf.ca> Or, info: