[January 20/16 – NEW – see the YORKLAND meeting on Saturday, noon.  Some of these sub-meetings are incredible in their scope – see the Worker Safety program slated for Sunday, Jan. 31.  Come to Guelph to check out all the valuable and free information !

**What’s exactly is a Meet & Greet?  It can be a 25-seat room where groups like FarmStart or Fibreshed or OMRI hold an open gathering for 1-hour or longer.  Any Conference guest can arrive at the start time/specific room, be greeted by the organizers, sometimes with organic coffee provided.  You can generally attend for an hour while the Conference noon lunch break is going on – and it can be open to all, whether you paid for the Conference workshop admission or not (what a great deal).
**However, some Meet & Greets are listed as related to specific organic sector activists or farm consultants.  Some programs are paid: e.g. the BD wine tasting.   Programs like the International Organic Inspectors trainings are geared to organic regulatory sector staff who choose to pay the substantial registration fee – we list them here for public information & disclosure because these are the folks who inspect organic farmers & processors.  Most Meet & Greets listed here are set up to be free, open interest gatherings – which means YOU.

CLICK HERE to get answers to your Frequently Asked Questions.


Friday Daytime [January 29]  **PAID

Advanced Inspector Training, Holiday Inn Guelph, Ontario

January 29, 2016   •   8:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

IOIA will sponsor Advanced Inspector Training in conjunction with the Guelph Organic Conference. This “top ten training” will include a review of the newly published Canadian Organic Standards (highlighting recent changes), what inspectors need to know about GMOs and new plant breeding technologies, strategies for ferreting out fraud and a review of common mistakes inspectors are making as discovered during IOIA’s peer evaluation program and a survey of certification bodies.

Registration deadline is January 10. IOIA is pleased to offer this training at a discounted price, due to the generosity of our funding partners – CSI,Pro-Cert, and Ecocert Canada. A full day of learning and networking for only $200 CAD for IOIA members!

The moderator for the day will be Bill Barkley (IOIA Canadian Committee Chair) with all-star presenters including Hugh Martin (Chair of the CGSB’s Organic Technical Committee), Maureen Bostock (Convenor of the PSL Working Group and GMO Task Force Chair for Canada’s Organic Technical Committee), Rochelle Eisen (Convenor of the Preparation Working Group of the Technical Committee, current President of Canadian Organic Growers, member of the Standards Interpretation Committee and OMRI Canada Review Committee), Stuart McMillan (IOIA Board Chair), Garry Lean (IOIA curriculum developer / trainer and member of OMRI Canada Review Committee) and Margaret Scoles (IOIA Executive Director).

To Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/456240522154273282

On Saturday January 30th, the IOIA Canadian Committee will host an informal reception for training participants and other IOIA members at the main conference location [GUELPH UNIVERSITY CENTRE]. All organic inspectors are welcome – get details at the IOIA booth #32, Main Level.

Bill Barkley is co-ordinating this – sincere inquiries are welcome even if late: barkhm5@magma.ca


Saturday Daytime – times + details to follow [Jan. 30]


FARMSTART/FARMLINK: Meet & Greet Room – UC441 [4th floor] – 12.00-2.30 pm

FarmLINK Meet & Greet: Lucky In Land

Are you a new farmer looking for land? Do you have land which you want to make available to a farmer? Perhaps you’re getting out of active farming and are looking to pass your farm on to responsible hands. Come join us at the Guelph Organic Conference for a chance to meet in person!

FarmLINK ‘Meet & Greets’ are a great opportunity for farmland owners and farm seekers to connect, and access helpful resources.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Pre-registration is required so we know who, and how many, to expect. Please contact Margaret – margaret@farmstart.ca. There will be lunch and coffee for purchase at the University Centre food court downstairs… or bring your own.

Margaret Graves – Farm Viability Program Coordinator

Cell #: 705-790-9899

FarmStart office (general inquiries): 519-836-7046 ext. 103

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter: @FarmStart    www.farmstart.ca


OMRI: Meet & Greet Room – UC332 [3rd floor] – 12.00-1.30 pm

How will the new organic standards affect inputs? During our annual Meet & Greet luncheon, OMRI will explain some of the big changes and the potential impact on lists of allowed materials and the OMRI Canada Products List©. Come for the soup and breadsticks, and stay for the question and answer session about input review. So that we can put together an accurate headcount [for soup ordering], please RSVP to marketing@omri.org by January 8 if possible. We’ll see you there!


Upper Canada FibreShed: Meet & Greet Room – UC333 [3rd floor] – 10.15 am

Check the Saturday 9.00 am Wool/Fibreshed workshop on the brochure.  When that workshop ends, Jennifer Osborn & Becky Porlier will then go with all interested fibreshed participants to UC333, continuing the discussion of fibre farming. Becky and Jennifer will field questions about Upper Canada Fibreshed (UCFS), how it is connecting those in the fibre industry from farmers to retailers, and the potential for producers in this emerging local market.

Everyone welcome.  To about 11.30 am.


Society For BioDynamic Farming: Meet & Greet Room – UC334 [3rd floor]

Times & personalities to be announced shortly.  This meeting room will allow Conference guests to meet BD board members as well as some of the speakers on this year’s program.  Those speakers include Hugh Williams, Chris Boettcher, David Burnford, Dr. Kenneth McAlister, Rosemary Crick and others.


Gayl Creutzberg/Ag. 3.0: Meet & Greet Room – UC335 [3rd floor] – 12.00-1.30 pm

Note: see also the continuation of this program on Sunday for a more intensive experience.

‘Farming for a Future’ Meet & Greet

Emergence dialogues for our times.  Led by Val Steinman, Gayl Creutzberg, Ruth Knight, Ingrid Vanderschot & Deb Carson, this newly formed group hosts events for the emergence of a new narrative – for food that nourishes, and farming that nurtures, weaving us back into the Sacred Web of Life. If you would like to be a part of this group, even to just get our E-Mails, come see us!  Or participate in our tomorrow’s more intensive & involved Sunday “Meet & Greet” discussion circle.

Saturday, January 30th, 2016 – Time: 12.00 noon – 1.30 pm



Maureen Bostock/Farm Inspector: Meet & Greet Room – UC333 [3rd floor] – 12.15 pm till finished

GMO’s in the Canadian Organic Standard Discussion Forum – Grain farmers are invited to join members of the GMO Task Force of the Canadian Organic Standards Technical Committee for a discussion of the new requirements in the 2015 revision to the Canadian Organic Standard for protecting organic crops from GMO contamination. There will be a brief powerpoint presentation followed by a Q & A. Where: UC333; When: Sat. Jan. 30, 12:15 pm.

Please RSVP to  –  maureenbostock@hotmail.com



NEW – Jan. 20

Yorklands Green Hub – Innovating, Educating and Collaborating to Open Green Doors to the Future – MacNaughton Room 118 – 12.00-2.00 pm – [Note: this room is in the main lobby of MacNaughton Building at the far end of the hall past our workshop room 105]

Check out this proposed sustainable environment centre in Guelph! Yorklands Green Hub is a registered non-profit organization that will showcase local food, technology, and water on this 47 ac heritage site. Visit us to learn more and see our site plans. The YGH Mobile Learning Lab is under construction and will be ready in 2016!

The Guelph Organic Conference welcomes this new group.

Saturday Evening

BioDynamic Food & Wine Event: Held at the Best Western, just across from the University Centre.  For tickets please contact Laurie McGregor.– lmcgregor@sympatico.ca

The Society For Biodynamic Farming And Gardening in Ontario Cordially invites you to the Society’s 6th Annual Wine & Cheese Social – Saturday, January 30th, 2016

5.00 pm – 8.00 pm at the Best Western Brock Hotel In the Pine Tree “A” Room, 716 Gordon Street (corner of Stone Rd E. and Gordon St.) Guelph, across from Delta Hotel/across from University Centre.

Join us in celebration of Biodynamics and good friends.  Tickets are $20.00 for members and $30.00 for non-members. Admission includes samplings of biodynamic wines, and a smorgasbord of biodynamic and organic product nibbles. Tickets are available in advance by sending cheques payable to The Society for Biodynamic Farming and Gardening in Ontario to: The BD Society, 14 Simcoe Blvd., Simcoe, Ontario N3Y 3L5. For further information contact Laurie McGregor, Treasurer, at 519-426- 9021

…or e-mail at lmcgregor@sympatico.ca


Sunday Daytime – times + details to follow [Jan. 31]

Switchgrass Information Session – UC333 – 12.00 noon-3.00 pm

Switchgrass Innovations: This event will bring 
together leading switchgrass research experts, 
experienced switchgrass producers, 
OMAFRA staff and farmers interested in 
using switchgrass as a premium, 
perennial, pesticide-free 
livestock bedding and horticultural mulch. 

The event will be a chance to learn more about how 
to grow and use the crop and 
why it’s gaining in popularity 
with organic producers.

Key presenters include:
Don Nott, Clinton, Ontario: Director, Ontario Biomass Producers Co-operative + Ontario’s 
largest switchgrass grower
Roger Samson, Executive Director, REAP-Canada:  Recent innovations in switchgrass 
research and development in Eastern Canada
Rudy Zubler, Ridgetown, Ontario, Using switchgrass as an organic dairy bedding

Other producers and users will be present to share their experiences

For more information contact:
Roger Samson:  rsamson@reap-canada.com 514-398-7743
Urs Eggimann:   urs.eggimann@ontariobiomass.com 519-794-0313


‘Farming for a Future’ Discussion Circle – UC335 – 12.00 noon

Join the ‘Farming for a Future’ group for a 3 hour discussion circle that spirals us deeper and deeper into exploring a question about the emergence of a new narrative for food… food that nourishes and farming that nurtures. Seating is limited and the session will be closed after it gets started.
Facilitated by Dr. Ralph Martin, U of Guelph Plant Agriculture.
Sunday, January 31st, 2016  –  Note: 3 hours: 12.00 noon – 3:00 pm

Contact Gayl gumbootgourmet@gmail.com

Occupational Health For Organic Farmers – UC332 – 12.00 pm

Discussion: Occupational health issues & hazards on the farm

Come learn about critical health issues and hazards that affect farmers and agricultural workers. From respiratory, skin and eye issues, to musculoskeletal disorders and cancers, occupational health specialists from the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers [OHCOW] will be presenting key information, answering questions and welcoming discussion.

Presenters include:

Michelle Tew – Occupational Health Nurse

Murray Lawrence – Occupational Hygienist, exposure to biological, chemical and physical agents.

Eduardo Huesca – Program Coordinator

TRADE SHOW: OHCOW will be at table #59 on the Guelph Trade Show Main Level if you’d like more opportunity on Saturday & Sunday to speak to us.

For more information contact: Eduardo Huesca OHCOW Program coordinator

905-549-2552 ex 2221  *  ehuesca@ohcow.on.ca

For more information on OHCOW services visit http://www.ohcow.on.ca/

EFAO-Ecological Farmers Assn. Of Ontario – UC334 – morning
EFAO Farmer-led Research Info Session (9am – noon).  Contact Ali English, at the EFAO  Office – ali@efao.ca  –  room size is 25 people and this room may fill so contact Ali soon.