Conference Tips

May 12, 2014 – planning well underway.


Expo free.

Workshops paid.

It can’t get any simpler.


Warning: this explanation can be seen by some as boringly long – people say we provide 10X more info than they need – how would YOU handle the info flow around a complicated 4-day event involving 1900 people, 52 speakers, 425 Expo staff, 120 volunteers and a staff component of about 18 people?  

So either go grab a latté or read it later when you’re more relaxed:

As you search for info on how this event runs and what you should attend.  For example for workshops, as a novice going to an obviously advanced workshop here are some helpful hints:

  • take good notes
  • read your 80-page Proceedings booklet carefully (included in your guest workshop registration)
  • collect business cards, contact names or pamphlets at the end of the talk (+ Expo booth #’s for the Saturday-Sunday show where you will meet many of the presenters)
  • plan to ‘gather as much info on this topic as you can for your own future research


SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE 2015  MEET & GREETS ON TOP MENU – we’re just starting to book them.

These are numerous related gatherings, research reports, consultations and spontaneous public presentations, already confirmed – the issues were proposed and the rooms are now being assigned (free rooms given by the Conference on the University Centre 3rd & 4th floors):

  • Organic Council of Ontario ‘Organic Awards’ – downtown Guelph on the Saturday evening – contact Organic Council for details –
  • REAP-Canada AGM – for February 1st
  • Several others will appear on the 2015 Meet & Greets menu above when booked – a Conference within a Conference


Organic Sector Profiles & Examples

 The Guelph Conference, featuring free public Trade Expo entry and low workshop costs, makes it easy for anyone with a basic organic interest in organics to see:

  • farming exhibits
  • 1-acre gardening advocates
  • foodservice suppliers
  • certificates – how to get certified, how to train on a farm, how to develop organic inputs
  • processors & distributors selling bulk wholesale & truckload orders
  • retail sales of organic products, seeds, books, tools
  • public advocacy and quasi-political agricultural movements (some not so ‘quasi’)
  • innovative technology and education programs in support of organics
  • other important components of a quick-growing sector (solar, fair trade, home sprouting)

WHO PARTICIPATES ??? – The Guelph Conference actually serves at least 10 distinct user categories.

As just mentioned, many shows are ‘TRADE-ONLY’ – they are geared only to processors, distributors, retailers, etc. and do not have a public component. That is, they focus strictly on trade sales because distributors want to sell to retailers… but they don’t serve the consumer education component and the public can generally not enter these shows.

The Guelph Conference & Expo has a wide focus – trade PLUS consumer.

At least 10 different audiences attend:

  • Organic producers: certified and transitional

  • Interested mainstream agri-business producers: good exposure
  • Consumers: sample the organic brands
  • Retailers: source new organic products
  • Organic traders, processors & suppliers: buy & sell crops plus products – it’s a million $ event
  • Researchers: organic crop research happens here
  • Media, both mainstream publications and organic-focused, niche newsletters: gather story material- Katrina Simmons/Media can help you
  • Academic professionals: talk directly with the farmers
  • Students: find jobs, get internships, do work-stints, participate in study programs
  • Others not mentioned above: you should attend the Saturday-Sunday Expo to see what’s going on.
  • Hoping to see you there !

So to sum up, the Guelph Conference welcomes all interested parties. Organic is a business where you can be a consumer, producer, researcher, product developer, trucker and retailer all at the same time ! That’s organics!


“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.” — Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

See you in January, 2015   !

EVENT LOCATION: 50 Stone Rd. East, Guelph University Centre, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1