2015 Meet & Greets

June 11/14 – the 2014 info will soon be relegated to the bottom of the page (summary only).  We’re already booking the Meet N Greet rooms for late January, 2015.  The very few rooms which are available are quite valuable for your marketing.  So if you’re thinking about one for a special/specific type of gathering, contact the manager right away – organix@auracom.com

Manager’s comment: people say there’s too much Web Site info and too much scrolling.

We agree………….. but that’s organics for you ! – growing faster than we can keep track of.  We’ll try to streamline the 2015 info so you can quickly sort through it.  Organics puts out some detailed data on individual events, so sometimes you have to get through it.





A Special dinner was held in downtown Guelph on Thursday, January 30th at Artisanale Restaurant – call the restaurant – (519) 821-3359

Saturday, February 1st, COTA and Environmental Defence launched the book ‘Toxin Toxout’ at the Delta Guelph, 5.00 pm – contact jbustos@ota.com or (613) 482-1717.


Conference Manager comment: we could almost run a Conference only made up of Meet N Greets.  This is getting crazy.

We are now out of rooms for any new events to be arranged, SORRY.  That’s what we meant earlier by FULL (no more rooms available) but all the free Meet N Greets generally always have space for you to attend.

For future years, to get a room, contact the manager by mid-December (latest) to see if we can come up one.  The 2014 room space is now full up.  This is good – these rooms are a conference within a conference, but for anyone who didn’t book early, we’re really sorry.

Meet & Greets———–Thanks to all who submitted their events.

What is a Meet & Greet?“— It’s a free 25-seat room where groups like FarmStart or the Fibreshed folks or OMRI will announce a 1-hour (or longer) open gathering.  Conference guests arriving at the start time will be greeted by the organizers.  Anyone can attend for an hour while the main Conference noon lunch break is going on – whether you paid for the Conference workshop admission or not (what a great deal).  So, with organic coffee in hand, you just walk in the door to see if you can learn something brand new.

The concept behind our 21st century Guelph Conference is the NEW MODEL for conferences – make it as free and open as possible and don’t penalize people at every entry door – people will eventually recognize the huge investment to make this happen and will become willing financial donors for the Guelph Sustaining Fund to allow this event to run well into the future.

Certain Meet & Greets are only for specific organic sector activists.  For others, farm consulting specialists will attend.  Some programs are paid: e.g. the Organic Council Awards.  Or with programs like the past International Organic Inspectors trainings – these trainings are geared to those in the organic regulatory sector choosing to pay the registration fee.  But in most cases, all the Meet & Greets listed here are set up to be free, open interest gatherings – which means YOU.



THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014 – Natural Building Symposium – 6.00  pm – UC442 – [a $30 fee - filled up !]

Natural Building SymposiumFULL - January 18th UPDATE – this BUILDING event has now started to get more registrations (at 50+ now).  About 7 building-related sponsors are going to be there, too!  To see the sponsor logos & sponsor levels, see below/bottom of the page.

The previously un-tapped full “building sector sponsorship” program has now evolved and the room will have several trade displays.  Ingrid Cryns of Soma Earth has done exemplary work to fill up this program and 6 SPONSORS from the alternative building sector have signed on.  The organic wine & finger food will be superb.

On January 30th after the main full-day Mark Shepard seminar is over, the Conference organizers are offering a special Thursday evening program – ‘NATURAL BUILDING SYMPOSIUM • ENHANCING ORGANIC LIVING SYSTEMS’ – which is shaping up to be another avant garde public program.  Though there is a $30 fee for this paid seminar, the fee will include a glass of organic wine + organic finger food trays right after the seminar ends.  Time: 6.00 pm-7.30 pm with the hospitality starting as the seminar winds down.  Presenters: Ingrid Cryns/architect, Ben Polley/home builder, Melinda Zytaruk/workers’ co-op building group.  Multiple experts on the sector will also be present.  The several trade show tables will be situated around the room and at 7.30 pm, organizers are hoping to re-configure the room to include some pedestal tables and re-arranged seating.

Golden Straw Core Funders – $350:

Silver Wood Sustainers – $225:

Bronze Earth

Benefactors – $100:

Ontario Natural Building Coalition ECO Building Resource 5th Wind
Swede Paint Enterprises Stone's Throw Design Timeless Materials
NSF Sustainability

Hosted & Co-organized by

Ingrid Cryns, architect from soma earthSoma Earth Ben Polley, of
harvest homes
Harvest Homes
Melinda Zyartuk, of the Fourth Pig Workers Co-opThe Fourth Pig Worker Co-op


Thursday, January 30

6:30 pm
Four-course Dinner
$40/ person
(plus hst and gratuities)
~ Call to reserve (519) 821-3359 ~

We are thrilled to be able to host this special dinner tocelebrate small market gardeners everywhere, with Jean-Martin Fortier as our special guest. Jean-Martin and his wife Maude-Helene run an incredibly successful small organic farm outside of Montreal. At their farm, Les Jardins de La Grelinette, they grow intensively on just 1.5 acres, using almost no fossil fuels and selling directly through farm markets and CSAs. Last summer, we visited their farm: what a magical, peaceful and inspiring place!Jean-Martin wrote the Small Market Gardener, a guide to how they farm, to help inspire new ecological farmers to start small, and grow better before they grow bigger. FarmStart was so excited about the guidebook, they launched a fundraising campaign last year to translate the book into English. The book is hot off the presses, and Jean-Martin is in town to give a workshop and to launch his Ontario Book Tour at the Guelph Organic Conference.
Jean-Martin and Maude-Helen show us all how a sustainable, delicious and viable future for agriculture and farm livelihoods is possible! Join us to meet Jean-Martin and enjoy a delicious and sustainable dinner!


Squash Soup
Escarole salad
with leeks & egg
Winter Beet Salad
with fennel & carrots
Slow Roast Pork
with parsley root puree & celeriac chips
Vegetarian Lasagna
with squash, lentil & spinach and swiss cheese
Apple Tart
with homemade vanilla ice cream




[paid fee, limited space]

Guelph, Ontario, Advanced Inspector Training

IOIA_webIOIA will provide one-day of advanced organic inspector training in Guelph, Ontario on January 31 in conjunction with the Guelph Organic Conference. Training topics include an update on recent developments with the review of the Canadian Organic Régime, introduced by Hugh Martin, Chair of the Canadian General Standards Board’s Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture. Kelly Monaghan and Garry Lean, IOIA Trainers, will speak to the updates on Processing, Crops, and Livestock. Trevor Haywood, an experienced private investigator, will speak on Effective Interviewing Skills. A session on Inspecting Organic Beekeeping will be presented by Monique Scholz, IOIA Trainer, Quebec. Lindsay Fernandez-Salvador, Program Director of the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) will address issues for inspectors regarding Boiler Additives and Packaging. Bill Barkley, Canadian Committee Chair, will moderate the training, assisted by Jonda Crosby, IOIA Training Services Director. The training will be held at the Best Western Plus in Guelph. Participants will receive a Certificate for IOIA Inspector Training. Fees include tuition, course materials, and organic lunch. For more info about this training, Bill Barkley, Course Moderator and IOIA Canadian Committee Chair, at billb.otr@gmail.com or Margaret Scoles at mscoles@rangeweb.net.  For info on the conference, including accommodations and directions, see www.guelphorganicconf.ca.

Use these links below to access the application forms and agenda.

Agenda Application – MS Doc Application – PDF

Margaret Scoles - Executive Director – International Organic Inspectors Association  -  mscoles@rangeweb.net



SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2014 – Meet & Greets

Held in the Guelph University Centre, also McNaughton/Sci. Complex Bldg. –  as well as just across the street at the Best Western, and also downtown Guelph



SATURDAY – Organic Labour Issues  - UC335 - 12.00 pm – 1.00 pm

Pfenning2013_webHOST/ORGANIZER: Jenn Pfenning, marketer at Pfennings Organic – contact prior to this meeting: jenn@pfenningsfarms.ca

WHAT IS THIS?  -  this free seminar will deal with costs, logistics and legalities of organic farmers and their labour needs.

Jenn Pfenning said: “in an effort to fill labour needs, ORGANIC FARMERS use many strategies including:

**participating in WWOOF, SAWP, Internships

**conscripting family, neighbours and friends. 

Are these approaches working?  How can we raise the level of expertise in the labour pool and keep interested people engaged in growing organic food?  Come hear some of the challenges and discuss ideas for solutions.”




SATURDAY – FarmStart Networking Room & Introduction  - UC441 - 12.00 pm – 3.00 pm

Farm StartHOST/ORGANIZER: FarmStart/Guelph, hosting various farmers & interns in this 40+-seat room.

Looking for Interns?  ••  Internships?  Looking for Farmland?  ••  Have land?

FarmStart Networking Room at the Guelph Organic Conference, Saturday, February 1, 2014

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm  FarmLINK Meet & Greet 

Who? Landowners with available farmland meet New farmers looking for land to farm.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm   Farmer-Intern Meet & Greet 

Looking for an intern, or are you looking for an internship position?

Farmers!…………  come on out to check out the best & brightest interns.

Interns!……….  find out what kind of farm you want to work on.

Come on out to meet each other!  The format of these meet & greets will be speed dating style. You will have 1-4 minutes to meet with everyone in the room, please arrive at the start of your session. 



SATURDAY – Fibreshed – What is a Fibreshed and why is it important to organic agriculture?  - UC332 - 12.00 pm – 1:30 pm



HOST/ORGANIZER: St. Lawrence Fibreshed & Upper Canada Fibreshed

DETAILS: Becky Porlier of the St. Lawrence Fibreshed and Jennifer Osborn of the Upper Canada Fibreshed explain what a Fibreshed is, their importance to agriculture, and their potential in organic agriculture.

If you miss this Meet N Greet, please go to the All Sorts Acre booth in the Basement Level of the Expo at table 136 where Jennifer will answer all your questions about the fibre business.





SATURDAY – OMRI Public Meeting – UC334 – 12.00 pm – 1.30 pm

OMRIMeet and Greet: OMRI Canada

Join OMRI for a presentation and discussion surrounding the new OMRI Canada Review Program. This presentation will explain how to identify and find more information about OMRI Listed® products for use in Canada, including important use restrictions. We will describe the application process from start to finish, and how to apply with your compliant product. We will discuss a few areas for further clarification of the standards. Finally, we will end with an open Q & A and discussion about the challenges and benefits of input verification in Canada.

OMRI is the Organic Materials Review Institute, based in Eugene, Oregon, which exhibits in this Expo at table #152.



SATURDAY – Film Showing by John Peterson – McNaughton/Science Complex 1511 – 12.00 pm – 1.30 pm

The Real Dirt on Farmer JohnFILM TITLE: The Real Dirt On Farmer John

FOCUS:  “it’s really an optimistic story about the resurrection of the American soul, and it starts with the soil”… according to Taggart Siegel, producer

THEME & STORY-LINE: “The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer.  Castigated as a pariah in his community, farmer John bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors and arson.  He succeeds in creating a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America”…. according to Anonymous

DURATION OF FILM: 82 minutes – so, this film, hosted by Farmer John himself, will take the whole lunch hour in-between the 12.00 pm end of the morning sessions and the 1.30 pm start of the afternoon sessions.  Suggestion is that you bring your lunch over to this room which is up the hallway past the McNaughton theatres (105 and 113) where Conference workshops take place.

ROOM CAPACITY: 60 people – YOU FIND THE ROOM: by going out of the Guelph U.C., turn to your left, over to McNaughton (see signs), going into the McNaughton hall then finding the aisle just on the far left ahead, which leads west to the Science Complex – #1511 is on your left, up that aisle.



SATURDAY – Organic Council of Ontario – Organic Awards Evening – River Run Theatre/Downtown Guelph

Organic Council of OntarioAnnouncing: Your invitation to the 4th Annual Ontario Organic Awards, presented by OCO – The Organic Council of Ontario.  OCO is one of the Official Sponsors of the Conference.

Where: River Run, downtown Guelph

When: Saturday February 1st, doors open at 6.00 pm, dinner & awards start at 7.00 pm, event will wrap up by about 10:30 pm

Costs:  -  OCO member/student: $50  -  OCO non-member: $55

Call 519-827-1221 or register online at www.organiccouncil.ca/register

Details: the price includes an organic dinner, awards ceremony & live music. This is also an excellent opportunity to network amongst industry peers and to be inspired by Ontario’s top innovators within the organic sector.

Sponsoring: the Organic Council of Ontario is still accepting sponsors. For full sponsorship details, please contact Jodi Koberinski at 519-827-1221.

Further information, leading up to the event:

*Donations of cash or prizes still welcome !  Please contact Jodi at  jodi@organiccouncil.ca

*Nominations closed: visit our website at http://www.organiccouncil.ca/initiatives/awards/nomination to


You Are Cordially Invited  - To The 2nd Biodynamic Wine & Cheese Event (Soirée du grand vin) – Best Western

Biodynamic Wine and Cheese

Saturday, February 1, 2014 – between 5.00 pm – 8.00 pm

Location: Guelph Best Western (across from University Centre), Pine Tree A Room

Cost: $20 for BD Members, $25 Non-members, in order to help cover costs and make the event sustainable.

Come join us in celebration of biodynamics and good friends, enjoy the entertainment and conversation. Doors are open to Society members as well as friends of biodynamics.

Admission includes wine and an array of wonderful organic/biodynamic treats to tempt your palate.  This year we have 3 wineries participating – Southbrook Winery as well as Tawse Winery are returning… and [NEW] Maniadakis Cidery will join us from Québec.  All three are practicing biodynamics and are certified Demeter.

The board of directors of the BD Society is looking forward to renewing old friendships and making new ones.

Note: We are in need of volunteers to help us with this event. We need at least one person to work at the door selling tickets, taking money and verifying ticket holders from a list and a few people to make sure that the plates of food are topped up.   Help us make this event a fun and social one!  Please contact either Laurie at lmcgregor@sympatico.ca or Monique at apicanada@gmail.com.  We`d love to hear from you!  The society is only as strong as its members!


COTAeventAs we all know, organic products and pesticides have been in the news of late. But what do trace residues really mean? And what is the true impact of these toxins in our environment on the human population?
To help bring some context to this discussion, the Canada Organic Trade Association is excited to invite you to a free, special event with Rick Smith, co-author of Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals Out of Our Bodies and Our World. 
This event will take place during the upcoming Guelph Organic Conference, Rick will offer some conclusions from his recent book, including recent tests conducted on family in Toronto that showed drastic reductions in pesticide levels when they switched to an all-organic diet. A brief Q&A will follow.
Please join us on Saturday, February 1st, 2014, 5:00 – 6:30pm at the Delta Guelph Hotel, in the Gryphon Ken Danby Room. The event is free and is open to the public; refreshments will be available.
COTA has coordinated this event to allow plenty of time for those also attending the Organic Council of Ontario’s annual awards dinner– so consider doing both!
** CHECK IT OUT: the first 50 attendees will receive a FREE COPY of Toxin Toxout, courtesy of our sponsors Quality Assurance International and The Big Carrot



SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2014 – Meet & Greets

REAP_webSunday – REAP-Canada AGM – UC335 - 11.00 am – 1.00 pm

REAP – Resource Efficient Agricultural Production stages their annual meeting which is held each year at the Guelph Conference.  Details:

R.E.A.P. – Canada is an independent research, consulting and international development organization that has over 20 years experience working with farmers, scientists and the private sector to develop and commercialize sustainable agricultural solutions for food, fibre and fuel needs.  Come meet the members of REAP-Canada and learn about the exciting projects we have been working on over the last year.

This event is open to anyone interested in our activities.

We look forward to seeing you!


Check us out at www.reap-canada.com or contact us at info@reap-canada.com



Sunday – Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada ‘Research Needs Consultation’ – UC332 - 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Organic growers, academics, researchers – all are invited to this open session to tell OACC what you want to see in their future research program.


Sunday – Ted Zettel – Canada Organic Standards – UC334, 12.30-1.30 pm


canorganiclogoThe Rules that Rule Organic

Canada’s Organic Standard became law in 2009.  But since then, things have continued to change, and there are several big ideas in the works right now that you should know about.  The Organic Federation of Canada is hosting a “meet and greet” session at the Guelph Organic Conference.  Come and hear about the latest important news;

-       The complete review and revision of the Canadian Organic Standard is underway.  This is a 2 year long process that will result in changes that you should know about.

-       Special Working Groups will study how to integrate small scale organics into the regulated system and how to amend the Permitted Substances List outside of the Canadian General Standards Board.

-       A discussion is being initiated across the country on how to collect money from certified operators to ensure their involvement in the regulatory process in the future.

All of these important initiatives are being spearheaded by the Organic Federation of Canada, working together with provincial associations.  Come out and learn what’s happening.  Make your voice heard and get your issues on the table.

Where?  Room UC334, U of Guelph Centre”3rd floor”

When?  Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, 12:30 pm

Come out and join in the discussion.  For more information call Ted Zettel, 519-881-8773.


Sunday – Bauta Seed Initiative – Grain Growers Room – now at UC333, 12.30-1.30 pm

“Host: Aabir Dey, Regional Program Coordinator, Everdale, Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security
Audience: Farmers, Breeders, Students in Organic Agriculture
In 2013, the BFICSS began supporting a Canada-wide participatory plant breeding program for wheat, oat, maize, and potato. The program is a collaboration between farmers, researchers, and plant breeders, to develop cultivars suitable for organic crop production systems.
If you are producer or breeder interested in trialing wheat, oats, OP-corn, potatoes, or heritage varieties of field crops, come to this session to find out how to get involved in innovative organic research trials for 2014. It doesn’t matter if you are a new farmer or if you have been farming for decades – all levels of farming expertise and interest are welcome!
The Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Security (BFICSS) has been designed to help support and build a Canadian seed system that provides a solid foundation for food security, climate resilience, and community well-being, by pursuing the following objectives:
  • Expanding the production and conservation of high quality, regionally-adapted, ecologically-grown, Canadian seed;
  • Building ongoing collaboration among individuals and organizations committed to advancing an ecological and diverse seed system in Canada.
If you have any questions about this session, please contact Aabir Dey at aabir.dey@everdale.org or at 519-855-4859 Ext. 103.”


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