2019 Organic Confluences Conference: Moving the Dial on Climate Change

This year’s Confluences Conference will take place in tandem with the Natural Foods Expo East on September 11th 2019, in Baltimore.

 For more a map of where the event will take place inside the Hilton Baltimore, click here.

The Organic Confluences Summit brings together farmers, scientists, extension agents, industry members and key policy influencers to address large-scale challenges that the organic sector is facing. This day and a half conference, organized by The Organic Center, will be held in conjunction with Natural Food Expo East in Baltimore.

This year’s Organic Confluences conference will directly address the current impacts of climate change and best practices within the organic sector for mitigation and adaptation, while examining methods for encouraging the adoption of strategies for fighting climate change.

The Summit will challenge the current thinking on climate mitigation with the understanding that multiple sectors and food system pathways must come together to make headway on this global issue. We will hear from stakeholders with diverse food system experience, from scientists to farmers to industry members, to provoke a better understanding of how large-scale, inter-disciplinary collaborations are needed address climate change and its impact on our food security.  We will include cutting-edge innovations from the organic industry, which has been focusing its resources on climate mitigation and adaptation, to understand how these experiences and lessons can be used as a learning tool to advance climate-friendly techniques across sectors.

2019 Organic Confluences Agenda

8:00am                            Registration

9:00-9:15am                  Welcome, Opening Remarks and Introductions

9:15-10:30am                 Climate Change and Food Systems: The Role of Organic

This panel will set the stage for the conference by addressing the current and future impacts of climate change on the food system, and how organic techniques can both mitigate and help adapt to climate change. We will review current measurements of the climate effects of organic techniques, how organic fits in with resilience of agricultural systems as extreme weather events become more frequent, and scientific advances that are most needed to advance the organic sector’s ability to adopt and implement climate-friendly practices.


Robin Schoen, National Academy of Sciences

Amber Sciligo, The Organic Center

Kate Tully, University of Maryland

Sam Dobson, Dobson Farms

10:30-10:45am               Break

10:45-12:00pm              Adopting Climate-Friendly Strategies throughout the Supply Chain

Climate-friendly strategies must be adopted throughout the supply chain to move the needle on mitigation. Panelists will discuss how this can be incentivized, strategies that have been successful in the past, and tools that are available and/or needed to help the organic sector understand their current impacts on climate change and adopt best practices.


Angela Jagiello, The Organic Trade Association

Shauna Sadowski, General Mills

Ed Barker, Green America

Aidee Guzman, University of California, Berkeley

12:00 – 1:15pm             Advancing Climate Change Mitigation through Policy

This panel will examine current climate policies, and discuss incentive programs that are currently in place and/or needed to help farmers adopt climate-friendly practices. We will look at successful models of policy for advancing mitigation, and discuss ways to ensure climate change is a top focus area for governmental agriculture research and policy initiatives.


Megan DeBates, The Organic Trade Association

Ryan Martel, Ceres

Raffaele Zanoli, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy

1:15-2:00pm                  Lunch

2:00-2:15pm                  Organic Center Award of Excellence

The Organic Center will be presenting Catherine Greene, a Senior Agricultural Economist with the USDA Economic Research Service, Resource and Rural Economics Division, with their Award of Excellence.

2:15 – 3:30pm               Innovations in Climate Action: Lightning Session

These 5-minute presentations will cover climate-friendly strategies and initiatives that are currently being used by organic industry members, farmers, and other organizations. We will discuss successes and challenges in scaling-up adoption of best practices, and innovations that are having the biggest impacts on the industry as a whole.


Erin Callahan, The Climate Collaborative


Rebecca Hamilton, Badger Balm

Bronwyn Johnson, Loving Earth

Katie Landry, Guayaki

Brise Tencer, Organic Farming Research Foundation

Ryan Zinn, Dr. Bronner's

Alexandra DySard, MOMs Organic Market

Michel Cavigelli, USDA ARS Climate Hubs

Tim Schultz, Lundberg Family Farms

3:30 – 3:45pm               Break

3:45-4:45pm                  Break-out Discussions

Breakout Rooms:

Group A           Key Ballroom 2     Moderator: Erin Callahan, The Climate Collaborative

Group B           Key Ballroom 3     Moderator: Catherine Greene, UDA ERS

Group C           Key Ballroom 4     Moderator: Johanna Mirenda, The Organic Trade Association

4:45-5:30pm                  Synthesis Discussion and Development of Recommendations

5:30pm                         Conference Adjourns for the day


For Information about past Confluences Conferences, click here.

Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors!


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